BIRN Organises Cross-Border Stories Workshop in Georgia

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As part of a project exploring foreign influences in the Balkans, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, BIRN and its partners organised a workshop in Georgia, focusing on the joint production of cross-border and cross-regional reports.

Photo: BIRN

A three-day training workshop was held in Batumi, Georgia from May 25-29, bringing together around 20 journalists and editors from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Georgia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The workshop is part of the project ‘Spheres of Influence Uncovered, jointly implemented by BIRN, German NGO n-ost, Uzbek media outlet Anhor and Georgia’s JAMNews.

Over the three days, the participants learned more about the importance of cross-border reporting in the context of the topics the project is covering. They were also guided through successful cross-border stories published by BIRN, JAMNews and Anhor and given tips and advice on how to approach potential cross-border topics.

They also were given advice about where to look for data, how to obtain official data when public institutions are reluctant to release it, how to interview experts and what to expect from them, how to read complicated records and who to ask for help with them.

The participants were asked to list potential problems and issues they might come across while investigating and writing about political and economic players in their regions.

Split into cross-border teams, the journalists worked on specific stories with editors from all three regions. The first cross-border and cross-regional stories are to be published by the end of the year.

The project ‘Spheres of Influence Uncovered’ aims to contribute to a better understanding of the roles that three key international players – the EU, Russia and China – have on the seven project countries’ economies.

During the project, the participating journalists will map the economic activities of these three players and identify the main challenges and consequences for their countries. This project is partly a follow-up to BIRN’s previous work in the sphere of foreign economic activities, explored in its interactive map of China’s activities in the Balkans.