Latest News from Transitions (TOL)

Past Events:

More Roma-related Video Stories in Production

As part of Transitions’ Romani Journalist Advancement Project, lead trainer Dean C.K. Cox took a whirlwind tour of Central and Southeastern Europe, working with teams of Roma and majority-community journalists on a series of reporting assignments in November and December.

The project, which continues until July 2012, builds on the achievements of Transitions’ previous projects for Roma journalists, such as the award-winning Colorful but Colorblind project. Dean is an experienced freelance photojournalist who has worked for the Associated Press, The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and EuraisaNet, among others.
Dean spent a week in each of five countries – Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic – first providing the participants with a daylong refresher on multimedia storytelling and later joining the teams on their assignments. The stories were then edited under Dean’s guidance and will be presented by the end of January on the websites of Transitions Online and the five partner organizations.    
The project, which has received support from the OSF Media Program, the Erste Foundation, and the U.S. and UK embassies in Prague, is implemented in partnership with in Prague, the Center for Independent Journalism in Budapest, the Center for Independent Journalism in Bucharest, the Media Development Center in Sofia, and MEMO 98 in Bratislava.

Telling Tales from the Candidate Countries

Transitions is pleased to announce the start of implementation of Next in Line, a yearlong project aimed at bringing news from candidate and potential candidate countries for EU membership to audiences in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia as well as the other 23 EU members. The project is a joint effort by Transitions and four leading news publications from the Visegrad countries: Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza; HVGnewsmagazine, Budapest; Tyzden, Bratislava: and Respekt, Prague.

Reporters from these publications will team up with their colleagues from the Balkans, Turkey, and Iceland for a series of reporting assignments with a view to telling important and interesting stories about these societies in a variety of formats. The resulting content will initially be published in the languages of the four Visegrad countries and English between March and November 2012.

The project is co-financed by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enlargement.

Learning from the Best

Fifteen journalists and journalism students participated in the TOL Foreign Correspondent Training Course that took place 3-11 January in Prague. They were introduced to the essential skills of international reporting by a team of experienced journalists who have worked for the BBC, The Economist, The New York Times, Sky News, and other prominent media outlets. Participants completed a practical story-writing project, an important part of the course – researching, writing, and filing a story from Prague under the guidance of the trainers. The winners of the neweurasia/TOL Best Blogger Award for Central Asia, Gulasal Kamolova ( and Tashpulat Rahmatulaev (, attended the course, during which we found out that Gulasal was encouraged to start her first blog after attending a TOL new media workshop, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, back in 2006. Two grantees from Russia and one from Moldova also took part in the international reporting course, as well as two TOL interns from Central Asia.

Scholarships are now available for TOL’s Digital Journalism Course taking place in May, but anyone can apply to attend. An extension of our previous new media courses, the workshop focuses on the specific needs of reporters and editorial management – covering everything from choosing the right content management system to online research, digital storytelling techniques, and, of course, how to ensure that social media supports the main website. The course was developed and will be led by Kevin Anderson, whose online journalism experience includes, among other outlets, work for the BBC, theGuardian, Reuters, and Al Jazeera English

Featured Content

Transitions Online ( often showcases the work produced through our grant programs. Highlights from December include the following stories:

2 December 2011
The Twilight of Zhirinovsky
The aging standard-bearer of Russian nationalism appears to be on his last political legs.
by Alexander Kolesnichenko

8 December 2011
Osh Mulls Ban on Uzbek-Language Schools
Critics call it discrimination, but city officials say the idea came from Uzbeks themselves.
by Bakyt Ibraimov and Temir Akmatov

9 December 2011
Being Muslim in Moldova
The leaders of the country’s first official Islamic organization keep a low profile amid an Orthodox backlash.
by Zakhar Koretsky

21 December 2011
Bringing Together Mitrovica’s Sonic Youth
A school for rock ’n’ roll chips away at ethnic barriers in Kosovo’s divided city.
by S. Adam Cardais

Success Story:

Congratulations to one of our training alumni in Georgia, Nino Narimanishvili, who recently won a grant from IREX to further develop a blog that covers one of Georgia’s minorities. With text and photos, Nino uses her “Back to the Homeland” blog to call attention to the fate of repatriated Muslims Meskhetians (also known as Meskhetian Turks), an ethnic group that Stalin forcibly deported from Georgia to Central Asia in 1944. She originally started the project as a winner of a TOL “mini-grant,” as she recounted to TOL project manager Elza Ketsbaia:

“The idea to create a blog about Muslim Meskhetians came to my mind after I attended a media clinic organized by TOL, since at the training I had an opportunity to learn the skills needed to write up a social media project – what I should focus on – and how to promote the blog. Before the training I had a personal blog mostly posting about my everyday life. Blogging was a sort of hobby for me, but after winning the grant I had certain responsibilities, to start blogging about the problems of the Muslim Meskhetians on a regular basis.”

According to the terms of her IREX award, Nino will have her hands full. She’s pledged to produce 50 text stories, 50 video shorts, 50 photo stories, and two documentary films about the Meskhetians. And that’s apart from her day job: Nino is editor in chief of the newspaper Samkhretis Karibche, based in the southern Georgian city of Akhalkalaki, and works with the Go Group media organization, which produces documentaries on crucial issues facing the Caucasus.

Current Projects:

Azerbaijan and Moldova
Promoting the use of new media and social media among journalists, civil society organizations, and young people.
Training journalists to cover issues related to the environment.
Central Asia
Promoting the use of Internet media and new media techniques to produce, promote, and distribute new forms of content.
Improving the quality of environmental investigative journalism while increasing the impact of the environmental movement in Russia.
Education Reporting
Using distance learning courses, workshops, and other resources to improve reporting on education-related topics.
Roma Multimedia Training
Training Roma and majority community journalists in multimedia story-telling, with a special focus on Roma issues.

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