BIRN Serbia Economic reporting training

Posted on

Belgrade_BIRN Serbia organised a training workshop for ten journalists from local media in Serbia in order to strengthen their capacity to report about the economy. The programme is supported by IREX Serbia and USAID.

Trainees were introduced to various aspects of the global financial crisis and its effects upon the region and Serbia in particular.

The first day of the training event was designed to offer insights into the current economic situation, its causes and potential consequences, as a necessary framework for understanding economic trends.
Goran Nikolic, a researcher from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, was talking about the roots of the global economic crisis, the wreckage of major financial institutions in USA, and the consequences of that affair. Part of his presentation was devoted to explaining the situation in Europe, especially South-East Europe, and the way in which financial markets are dependant on each other.
Miroslav Zdravkovic, an expert from Economic institute, talked about the economic situation and reforms carried out in Serbia, the country’s place in the regional economy before the economic crisis, its current situation and the effects of the crisis that can be expected. He argued that Serbia is in a worse position than officials’ want to present to the public, partially due to slow reforms and inconsistent economic policy. He explained the meaning of the government’s economic measures, the importance of the IMF programme in Serbia and problems that remain unsolved, such as the large discrepancies in regional economic development and the unfavourable climate for investments.
“This was important for us, I feel that I understand the current economic situation in Serbia much better, and I would like to see practical work during coming sessions” said one of the journalists.
The second day of the training was devoted to honing trainees’ journalistic skills and brainstorming on potential story ideas as preparation for the practical work on developing story outlines scheduled for the final day.
Rodoljub Sabic, commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, introduced journalists to the practices of his institution and explained its implementing mechanisms for free access to information.
“This institution can help you to do stories for the Pulitzer award,” stressed Sabic.
The importance of economic news; how to write it; whether it has to be boring; how to use numbers and how to make economics understandable to the general public were the main themes of the training session led by Aleksandar Vasovic.
The afternoon session was dedicated to understanding the importance of economic news and recognizing the phenomena that lies behind it. Senior editor of daily Blic, Mijat Lakicevic, worked with trainees on how to develop an analytical story on economic news, and brainstormed on potential economic story ideas that tackle the issue of the financial crisis in Serbia on a local level.
The third day was on-the-job training, mainly oriented towards commissioning articles to be written by trainees and edited by BIRN editors.
BIRN’s editor Gordana Igric introduced journalists to the basic principles of analytical reporting, with special attention paid to the issue of libeling.
Eight stories, covering a variety of topics from all around Serbia, were commissioned while the best of them will be published in BIRN’s online publication,
Trainees evaluated the training, especially the variety of information that was presented, very highly, expressing their interest to participate in similar activities in the future.