Latest News from Transitions (TOL)

Past Events

Lights, Cameras, Action!

How many journalists does it take to shoot a documentary?

When the film is as big as ours, it takes 25.

The film, which finalized shooting in late June, is an expansive and in-depth look at the situation of Roma throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

The project, “Europe: A Homeland for the Roma,” which is supported by the European Union, is aimed at raising the visibility of Roma and their quest for equality and acceptance. The project also increases the employability of a group of Roma and non-Roma journalists from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia by teaching them advanced multimedia skills.

As part of the project, a follow-up to TOL’s award-winning Colorful but Colorblindinitiative, we invited four of these journalists from each of these countries for an intensive workshop in May and paired each team with a professional documentary filmmaker. The teams then headed off to cover a local story that would then be included into one larger film.

In the Czech Republic, they looked at how one group is using hip hop to deal with issues like discrimination; in Romania, at the success of a village whose residents recently converted to Pentecostalism; in Bulgaria, at what makes some students more successful in school; in Hungary, at the crisis of traditional music; and in Slovakia, at how a recent castle fire tore a village apart.

After gathering the content, all the teams returned to Prague in early June to begin the arduous task of taking stock of their material and identifying a unifying narrative to make one documentary from the five individual stories.

At this point the team is putting the final touches on the film, but we’ll let you know when and how you’ll be to see it once it’s released.

Turning big dreams into bigger realities

To have a promising idea for social change is one thing, but to be able to scale it up quickly for widespread impact is something completely different.

That was one of the lessons the TOL team learned through their participation in Ashoka’sGlobalizer on Media Innovation that took place over the past several months and recently was capped off by an event in Bonn.

Ashoka, the worldwide network of social entrepreneurs, invited 15 Ashoka fellows from the organization’s News & Knowledge Cluster, to take part in the program. TOL’s executive director, Jeremy Druker, was one of those 15 selected.

The TOL team’s goal while participating in the Globalizer was to refine our impact-scaling strategy for a journalism crowdfunding platform (which we hope to launch soon) through intensive exchange with management consultants and business advisors in a two-month virtual mentoring process.

Participating fellows then met in person for a Globalizer Summit before and during the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum (16-19 June).

Surrounded by media innovators from every corner of the world, Jeremy, accompanied by project developer Ernad Halilovic, had the chance to share the team’s vision and strategy with peer fellows, media business entrepreneurs, media development experts, and senior executives in personal one-on-one conversations.

And after an exhausting, but inspiring few days, we can confidently say that our project is one huge step closer to reality.

Success Story

Tamara Razmadz

This month we are featuring Tamara Razmadze, a young journalist from Georgia and alum of several TOL training events, who recently won a local competition for a film she made about the Georgian government’s controversial plans to relocate parliament.

Tamara participated in TOL’s 2012 training on web reporting held in Kutaisi, her hometown, as well as in the 2011 social media summer camp in Patardzeuli, under a project financed by the Czech Foreign Ministry.

She was recently named one of the winners of a film competition organized by Media Portal, an NGO based in Kutaisi, to document the debate over moving parliament.

Tamara’s video captured local inhabitants opinions over the move.

Featured Content

Transitions Online ( often showcases the work produced through our grant programs. Some of the highlights from May include the following stories:

3 May 2013

Moldova: Caught in the Linguistic Crossfire

A proposed new law has Moldova’s Russian speakers fearing the end of bilingualism, while members of other ethnic groups worry they could lose their languages entirely.

by Natalia Ghilascu

8 May 2013

Watching the Watchdogs

Azerbaijani activists say Baku is trying to muzzle diplomats and foreign monitoring groups – and it’s working.

by Arifa Kazimova

16 May 2013

Young, Loud, and Turkmen

Ashgabat’s few rock ’n’ rollers keep a low profile and face a limited future.

by Dengiz Uralov

17 May 2013

Moldova’s Pesticide Time Bomb

Two decades after the Soviet Union’s collapse, the country is still struggling with thousands of tons of chemicals, some leaking and unguarded.

by Dmitri Romanovski

22 May 2013

Belarus’ Accidental Crusader

Iryna Khalip learned quickly that just being a journalist was not an option in her country.

by Christina Karchevskaya

23 May 2013

Looking Past Bazaars and Bandits on Kyrgyzstan’s TV

A serial breaks new ground in Kyrgyzstan with its topical story lines, use of local talent, and political agenda

by Dina Tokbaeva

29 May 2013

Azerbaijan’s Wasted Potential

A staggering proportion of the country’s disabled children receive no schooling.

by Arifa Kazimova

Current Projects

Azerbaijan and Moldova
Promoting the use of new media and social media among journalists, civil society organizations, and young people.
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.

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