Event Reports

Digital Winter School: Raising a new generation of journalists

by Ivanina Georgieva

32 young enthusiasts who have already decided to pursue a career in journalism participated in our first virtual winter school in Romania.

The winter school was organised by Funky Citizens and the digital news platform Buletin de București with the support of the Media Programme South East Europe of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

"You have decided to become a journalist or at least 'do something with media'. That is a good thing! Romania, the European Union needs good, serious journalists," emphasised Hendrik Sittig, Head of the KAS Media Programme South East Europe, at the start of the first seminar. "You know it: the work of journalists is of enormous importance in democracy. Journalists are observers of the three democratic pillars - the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. But this only works if journalists and the media can work freely and independently. Above all, journalism is also a craft that has to be learned. That's why it's so important that there are workshops like this winter school."

During the last two weeks, the 32 participants from all over Romania had the opportunity to take part in various seminars and practical exercises within the framework of the winter school, acquiring a broad range of knowledge. The main topics were: Basic knowledge on journalistic styles of writing and different journalistic formats, selection of communication channels, digital research, financing models. But also more in-depth and practical exercises in the areas of storytelling, video journalism and investigative journalism were introduced. For example, the participants were able to learn from the experienced journalist Oana Despa, editor-in-chief of the digital news platform Buletin de Bucuresti, what is particularly important when it comes to storytelling, how to properly set up a story that you want to tell, which sources you can use, which storytelling techniques are available to journalists or how to choose a suitable topic.

The President of Funky Citizens, Elena Calistru, gave an introduction to the analysis of local and national budgets and showed to the participants how to extract information from figures and then visualise them in an appealing and understandable way.

Ana Poenariu, investigative journalist in the field of organised crime and corruption, guided the participants through the craft of investigative journalism and presented to the aspiring journalists how to identify and verify information with the help of online tools.

At the end of the winter school, the best among the participants were awarded. They were given the opportunity to apply their acquired knowledge in practice by writing a journalistic text for the Buletin de București. Those among them who master this task with excellence will be given the opportunity to join the Buletin de București editorial team.