Young journalists looking for new business models

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The KAS Media Program South East Europe hosts for the fifth time the workshop "Entrepreneurial Journalism" - this year in Ukraine

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The workshop took place from 19th to 22nd February 2018 – for the first time in Kyiv

The workshop took place from 19th to 22nd February 2018 – for the first time in Kyiv

In many South East European countries, media outlets serve the political interests of their owners. One of the consequences is self-censorship among journalists. Self-employment on the internet is a chance for many media representatives to report independently and at the same time to make a living out of their own projects. Therefore, the KAS Media Program South East Europe offers seminars on entrepreneurial journalism.

The workshop took place from 19th to 22nd February 2018 – for the first time in Kyiv. 16 young journalists from Bulgaria, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine took part. The trainers Marko Nedeljković from Belgrade University, Miloš Petrović from the online agency MWEB and freelance coach Veroljub Zmijanac have developed the innovative training in 2013 together with the KAS Media Program South East Europe. A product of this collaboration is the "Entrepreneurial Journalism Handbook" in English and Serbian. Due to the great interest, a third edition of the book has already been published.

Christian Spahr, Director of the KAS Media Program South East Europe, explained the role of Kyiv as a venue of the workshop: "Ukraine is a country with a vivid media landscape and many new media projects, which were developed during the Euromaidan protests as alternatives to the traditional media." Spahr underlined that a large number of media outlets does not automatically mean a high diversity of opinions. In his view independent and critical voices needed to be represented, too. For this reason, the KAS Media Program South East Europe is providing help for media development and thus contributing to the promotion of democratic culture.

New internet tools being tested during interactive group exercises

Lead trainer Marko Nedeljković presented the basics of entrepreneurial journalism. He explained the three main elements of this concept: online journalism, internet entrepreneurship and website production. In the beginning, the participants were divided into four teams. Each group should develop their project on a specific topic during the seminar and present it on the last day. In interactive exercises the participants were able to implement what they had learned. For the purpose of the workshop, the trainers have developed a special website, on which each team could perform their tasks.

Nedeljković explained the specific aspects of writing for the internet. He paid special attention to the use of keywords and metadata that are relevant to the visibility of the online content. Afterwards the participants analysed their own articles on the internet in practical exercises. Nedeljković introduced a new tool for checking the relevance of keywords and metadata. With its help the participants could rate and optimize their results.

Miloš Petrović spoke about internet entrepreneurship. He provided basic knowledge for the marketing of online projects as well as for the analysis of successful paid content strategies. "To be successful on the web, it is not sufficient to master only your journalism skills. You also have to find the right team," concluded Petrović. He underlined the importance of defining a good strategy for monetizing the projects.

Discussion on civil society movements and alternative media

On the first day of the seminar, there was also an expert discussion on media development under difficult economic and political conditions. The panel was moderated by Christian Spahr. Ostap Protsyk, Director of the Ukrainian NGO "Lviv Media Forum", spoke about the media situation in Ukraine. He said that media are under high political pressure. In his opinion a huge challenge at the moment is the education of journalists. Protsyk pointed out that there is a lack of journalism schools and many start to learn the journalistic skills not until they enter the editorial office.

Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke during the discussion about the establishment of Hromadske TV which she co-founded. The project started in 2013 and received a great response during the Euromaidan protests. Gumenyuk explained that such an independent medium could only work with international support.

Natalia Kurdyukova, Director and Co-founder of Nakipelo TV in Kharkiv, also contributed to the discussion. This media project also started in 2013 and was initiated by a group of activists. They began to broadcast the opinions of citizens on the streets. Kurdyukova explained that finding a suitable financing model for a regional project is quite problematic. At the moment, Nakipelo TV is trying to secure its existence with crowdfunding campaigns.

Violeta Jovanov Pestanac, Editor-in-Chief of the Serbian website "Pančevo moj kraj" and former participant of the KAS workshop, talked about her experiences in founding her own editorial office and the challenges for journalists in Serbia. In her opinion, the biggest problem is the lack of capital for starting a project. "Unfortunately public funds for media in Serbia are distributed in a non-transparent manner", Pestanac said.

On the last day of the seminar, Veroljub Zmijanac explained strategic aspects of website development. He said that it was important to find a niche topic and focus on it. In addition, he presented the process steps – from goal-setting and stakeholder definition to the creation of prototypes for the web.

More in the event report.


Manuela Zlateva

Publication series

Event Reports


Ukraine, February 24, 2018

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