Citizen Journalism Workshop
On August 7th-8th 2013 the Citizen Journalism Workshop was held in Warsaw, Poland.
Twenty-five participants from Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Poland, professional journalists, bloggers and people interested in online journalism, tried to increase and broaden their knowledge on writing blogs and social media articles. The workshop was organised by the Common Europe Foundation (http://wspolna.org/) on the basis of the Common Europe Foundation and financed by the International Visegrad Fund and the National Endowment for Democracy.
The first day was divided into several blocks. The first block, entitled Visual Presentation Tools. User Friendly and the Most Effective Interface and IT Solutions, was aimed to show participants the importance and impact of blogging on social processes, including providing tips for blog writing in order to be visible on different searching engines. This part included information about SEO optimisation and advice on how to attract the audience. The block was represented by Jan Rybar, a professional photographer and photography trainer from the Czech Republic, who is successful in writing blogs and using SEO optimisation.
The main purpose of the second block, entitled Storytelling Skills, was to answer the questions: “How to use a story, and how not to use it if you want to be a successful blogger?” The participants were given several practical tips on how to write blog articles and how to use storytelling to attract followers. Before the workshop, participants were asked to write a small story on any topic, which should be started with “The day that…”, and at the end of the block all members were provided with a personal consultation on own their particular story. This part was presented by Samuel Marec – a blogger and advertisement specialist from Slovenia.
The last block of the day was dedicated to The Ethics and Principals of Journalism, and aimed to show different aspects of ethics and responsibilities of online publishing. Participants were welcomed to answer the questions: “Why I am a journalist or a blogger? What I am allowed to do and what is forbidden? What impact do I have on an audience?” During the workshop participants viewed different cases about a conflict of interests and the ways of dealing with ethical problems during journalism practice. The workshop was carried out by Balazs Weyer – a teacher of journalism ethics from Hungary.
The following day a workshop provided participants with information about social media as a tool of promoting content and conducting research. Journalists and bloggers learnt about the variety of social media types: blogging, micro blogging, RSS, widgets, social networking, chat rooms, podcasts, and learnt about the connection between the main component parts of social media: people, content and tools, and getting practical tips on how to set up personal pages on social media web-pages, how to communicate with the followers and create attractive content. The block was presented by Sylwia Presley – a social media advisor and blogger from the UK.
“This was a really great event which not only gave me the opportunity to remember and broaden my knowledge of online journalism, but also created a communicative platform for journalists and bloggers from different countries. All participants work in different areas of journalism [political, social, cultural, etc.] or are themselves bloggers, and have a great deal of experience, which in my mind was successfully shared. I enjoyed being part of a team together with professionals and experts, whose cup of tea is journalism and blogging. I hope that it is only the beginning of something special, and the knowledge I acquired here can increase my professional skills,” Ketevan Kantaria, a participant from Ukraine, commented on completion of the workshop.
Christina Roots is a student from Belarus.