Belgrade Training Workshop for Kosovo Journalists

BIRN Serbia organised two-day editorial workshop for Serb and Bosniak journalists living in Kosovo on August 27 and 28.

The workshop, part of Minority Training and Reporting Project funded by British Embassy in Belgrade, will be followed by a special issue of Balkan Insight dedicated to Kosovo’s minorities.

The trainees worked with Gordana Igric, editor-in-chief and BIRN regional director, and Dragana Nikolic Solomon, BIRN Serbia director. Krenar Gashi, BIRN Kosovo assistant editor, also assisted in training process.

The trainees were given advice on writing news analysis and features and they received feedback on the articles they produced in the first round of training.

Following a lively discussion about the political situation in Kosovo and the major issues affecting Serb and Bosniak communities there, BIRN editors and journalists were able to identify topics for Balkan Insight articles and develop their structure and focus.

Around seven articles and an investigation will be published as part of a special issue for Balkan Insight in September.

Following publication of the special issue, BIRN trainees will have an opportunity to spend a week working in major Belgrade media outlets, in order to expand their contacts and receive practical journalistic experience.

The journalists will have a choice of working on either RTV B92 or the newspapers Blic daily, Vreme weekly and Danas.

Arsenije Dunic, young journalist from the Goradzevac enclave, said he enjoyed the practical nature of the training, “This kind of training is very useful to me, since it is concrete and can be immediately implemented in every day work. This training is also helpful since there is little theory and the focus is on journalistic practice.”

Discussion on Sandzak at the Media Centre Belgrade

BIRN Serbia is holding a panel discussion “Political Fallout and Future of Sandzak”, at the Media Centre Belgrade, on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 , at 14:00.

The fierce conflict between Sandzak’s two strongest Bosniak parties – The Party of Democratic Action, SDA and Sandzak Democratic Party, SDP, whose roots can be traced back to the mid-nineties, recently reached a climax following the murder of a candidate running for a seat in the local assembly of Novi Pazar.

The murder helped to thrust this troubled region, on which Belgrade imposed an interim local government earlier this year, again into the limelight.

Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (www.birn.eu.com), together with its panel guests and audience, intend their discussion, “Political Fallout and Future of Sandzak”, to come up with dynamic and realistic proposals aimed at resolving tensions in the region.

A wide-ranging discussion will include, among other points, the role of the Serbian government in the conflict, the behaviour of the local media and the impact of dysfunctional local authorities on the lives of ordinary people.

Panel discussion moderator

Dragana Nikolić-Solomon, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network

Participants

Jelica Minić, Associate of the Institute of Economic Science in Serbia

Hannelore Valier, Head of Democratisation, OSCE

Aida Ćorović, Urban IN

Ishak Slezović, Editor of Radio 100 Plus

James Lyon, Senior Balkan Analyst, Crisis Group

Mehmed Slezović, Sandzak Intellectual Circle

MONTENEGRO SPECIAL

A special edition of Balkan Insight examining critical issues facing post-independence Montenegro was published on June 23. The edition, Montenegro Special, comprising seven articles by BIRN journalists, followed a four-day workshop on the subject in Budva at the beginning of June, organised by BIRN Serbia

The articles dealt with issues ranging from the economy, relations between groups of different ethnic backgrounds, tourism, the question of refugees, forthcoming elections and achieving the long-term goal of joining the European Union.

Nedjeljko Rudovic, Vijesti, looked at Montenegro’s European aspirations; Petar Komnenic, Monitor, assessed upcoming elections and the fact that independence will no longer represent the major campaign issue; Bojana Stanisic, Dan, revealed Serb intentions to sell their property and move to Serbia; Sead Sadikovic, freelance journalist, explained how the independence poll created ethnic divisions in Bijelo Polje. Izedina Adzovic, Radio Tuzi, and Zeljko Madzgalj, Polje, explored the economic potential of an independent Montengro. Tufik Softic, Radio Berane, reported on the plight of refugees; and Nikola Doncic, Monitor, profiled Montenegrin tourism.

In a separate article, Samir Adrovic, Vijesti, examined whether the independence poll had been manipulated by Albanians.

Gordana Igric, BIRN director and editor-in-chief, Nedjeljko Rudovic, a Vijesti journalist and BIRN representative in Podgorica, as well as Dragana Nikolic Solomon, BIRN Serbia director and editor, worked intensively with the journalists who contributed to the Montenegro Special, providing them with on-the-job training and editorial support for their articles.

Montenegrin journalists were delighted with the BIRN mentoring programme and the subsequent package of stories.

Sadikovic said the workshop was very important to him and represented right way forward, “I was happy that I had the opportunity to exchange views with my colleagues and by working on the articles together, we were able to help each other.”

BIRN Serbia to run investigative journalism workshop in Nis

BIRN Serbia is organising this October 29-30 training in investigative journalism for reporters from the southern part of the country.

The six participants are a mixed group of young Albanian and Serbian journalists who have completed BIRN’s primary journalism training course.

The training will be led by BIRN’s development and editorial director Gordana Igric and investigations coordinator Hugh Griffiths, together with BIRN Serbia director Dragana Nikolic-Solomon.

The workshop comprises theoretical and practical training modules that equip trainees with the tools they need to initiate investigations. A number of real reporting projects will subsequently be carried out under the close supervision and mentoring of BIRN staff.

Training will be based on the first seven modules of BIRN’s investigative training programme, including the investigative team concept, the insight method, sourcing, libel issues, sensitive information management, contacts and tip-offs, pursuing inquiries and investigative interview techniques.

This Nis workshop forms part of BIRN’s Serbia & Montenegro Minority and Training project, funded by the British embassy in Belgrade through the UK government’s Global Opportunities Fund (GOF).

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Dragana Nikolic-Solomon

Investigative reporting training held in Nis

BIRN Serbia and Montenegro held a two-day workshop on investigative reporting on 29-30 October in Nis for Serbian and Albanian journalists from South Serbia.

The event took place as part of a three-year project supported by the British Embassy in Belgrade. The Minority Training and Reporting project, launched earlier this year, extends professional training at introductory and advanced level to journalists from mixed-ethnic areas and minority groups, and publishes reports on issues which affect them.

The Nis workshop marked the advanced phase for project participants who completed a BIRN Primary Level journalism course last October and have since regularly contributed to the Institute for War & Peace Reporting’s Balkan Crisis Report and BIRN’s Balkan Insight.

For more information, please contact Dragana Nikolic-Solomon.

Balkan premiere of BIRN documentary film in Belgrade

The documentary “Does Anyone Have a Plan?” premiered in the Balkans on Wednesday, January 25 in Dvorana Kulturnog Centra Cinema in Belgrade.

Serbian journalists, civil society representatives and foreign diplomats attended the screening.

The film received significant media coverage. Serbia’s national television station, RTS TV, B92, Pink TV, Deutsche Welle and Serbia’s leading independent TV studios, VIN and Mreza covered the event.

Newspapers including Evropa, Danas, Reporter and Nedeljni Telegraf also wrote pieces on the film.

Following the premiere, BIRN Serbia and Montenegro received many requests for further screenings of the documentary at other conferences and events.

VIN journalist Olivera Stojanovic said “Does Anyone Have a Plan?” gave a new perspective to an issue that has become too familiar. “Although Kosovo is daily topic, this film gives a totally new approach to it and makes you think, above all, how much we really know about us and our neighbours, about tolerance and nationalism,” she said.

After screenings in Sofia, Skopje, Pristina and Sarajevo, the documentary film will be made available for public broadcast on all major TV stations in the region.

Public broadcast of the documentary in Serbia can be expected in the second part of February.

Belgrade Training Day

Gordana Igric, BIRN Editorial and Development Director, held a workshop for BIRN journalists in Belgrade on January 31.

The participants, journalists from the city’s main media, received individual tuition, including pratical tips on how to develop their article ideas and structure.

Zelimir Bojovic, of Deutche Welle Radio, Vladimir Sudar, Tanjug News Agency, Voja Stevanovic from Economist magasine and Pedja Obradovic from B92 were present at the training.

Further consultations were held with Blic editor Moma Ilic regarding future cooperation and developing ideas for investigations.

For more information, contact BIRN SaM Director Dragana Nikolic-Solomon.

Montenegro training course in Podgorica II

Nine Montenegrin journalists from a number of media outlets around the country took part in a primary level journalism course organised by BIRN Serbia and Montenegro at the PR Centre in Podgorica between February 24-28.

The course, the first step in the establishment of a network of BIRN journalists in Montenegro, was launched at a press conference attended by several TV and radio stations, along with Dragana Nikolic Solomon, BIRN Serbia and Montenegro director, Gordana Igric, BIRN development director, Dragana Obradovic Zarkovic, BIRN project co-ordinator, Marcus Tanner, BIRN Balkan editor and trainer, and BIRN guest Tim Judah.

The participants were: Petar Komnenic, Monitor magazine; Nedjeljko Rudovic, Vijesti; Sead Sadikovic, freelance journalist; Tufik Softic, editor of Radio Berane; Zeljko Madzgalj, editor of Polje; Samir Adrovic, bureau chief of Vijesti in Ulcinj; Izedina Adzovic, Radio Tuzi; Nikola Doncic, Monitor correspondent in Kotor; and Marijana Camovic, correspondent of Vijesti in Tuzi. Bojana Stanisic of Dan was unable to attend, but is to take part in future training programmes.

Judah opened the course with a lecture on reporting from war zones as a freelance journalist. He spoke of his own such experiences in the Balkans, Iraq and Uganda, giving practical tips on how to cover conflicts.

Nikolic-Solomon followed with a short introduction to BIRN and its editing and commissioning processes. She explained why it is essential for BIRN to adhere to international journalistic standards and why they are helpful, especially for Balkan journalists.

Igric spoke about international libel laws, which all local journalists need to be acquainted with if they hope to published in international and local editions of BIRN. She also instructed course participants on how to write news analysis, emphasising the need to ensure balance and make clear distinctions between fact and opinion.

Tanner concentrated on feature writing, focusing on article structure and commonly-made mistakes. He also provided examples of striking feature writing.

Gertraud Illermeir, Belgrade correspondent of Die Presse, gave valuable insights into the role of the foreign correspondent.

Following the theoretical part of the course, Tanner, Nikolic-Solomon and Igric took part in one-to-one training and commissioned stories from participants, which will feature in a special Montenegro package due to be published by BIRN at the end of March.

The second part of the course is scheduled to take place in Budva, following the vote on Montenegrin independence slated for May 21.

Petar Komnenic,who attended the course, said, “I liked the course because it was informative and practical. I was especially impressed by Tim Judah’s lecture. I hope that I will be able to cooperate with BIRN in the future.”

Montenegro training course in Podgorica

Nine Montenegrin journalists from a range of towns and media outlets took part in a primary level journalism course organised by BIRN Serbia and Montenegro at the PR Centre in Podgorica from February 24-28.

The course, the first step in the establishment of a network of BIRN journalists in Montenegro, was launched at a press conference attended by several TV and radio stations. Trainers included Dragana Nikolic Solomon, BIRN SaM director, Gordana Igric, BIRN development director, Marcus Tanner, BIRN trainer-editor, Balkan analyst Tim Judah and Gertraud Illermeir, Belgrade correspondent for Die Presse.

Following the theoretical part of the course, Tanner, Nikolic-Solomon and Igric gave one-to-one training and commissioned stories from participants, which will feature in a special Montenegro package due to be published by BIRN at the end of March.

The second part of the course is scheduled to take place in Budva, following the vote on Montenegrin independence slated for May 21.

Participant Petar Komnenic, a Monitor magazine journalist, said, “I liked the course because it was informative and practical. I was especially impressed by Tim Judah’s lecture. I hope that I will be able to cooperate with BIRN in the future.”

The event took place as part of BIRN SaM’s Minority Training and Reporting project, which is supported by the British Embassy in Belgrade.

For more information on this project, contact BIRN BiH Director Dragana Nikolic-Solomon.