The Latest on Our Projects
Digital Sherlocks Unite! Bridging the Generational Gap to Combat Disinformation in the Czech Republic
We’re excited to share a groundbreaking effort to combat disinformation in the Czech media sphere. This unique project, held at Prague’s Elpida educational center, united senior citizens, young instructors, and radio journalists on 3-4 March for a two-day “Verification Sprint” to counter disinformation and fake news. Transitions’ partner in the event was Czech Radio, a public service outlet with massive reach across multiple platforms, making it the most trusted medium in the country.
Why Seniors Matter in the Fight Against Disinformation
The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine have exposed the vulnerability of senior citizens to disinformation campaigns. As they become more connected to the internet, they often lack the necessary digital literacy skills to identify and counter fake news. Our innovative project aims to empower them through participatory fact-checking, intergenerational learning, and modern pedagogical approaches.
Concrete Results and Breaking Stereotypes
The event produced tangible outcomes, with three fact-checks published on a Czech Radio program, listing seniors as co-authors. This achievement demonstrates our commitment to breaking the stereotype of seniors being just the biggest fake news spreaders. We’ve developed this method over the past five years, organizing over 200 community meetings on how to navigate the chaotic information overload these days, as well as dozens of similar media literacy events with partners in Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary.
Participants praised the opportunity to meet and work with each other, and Czech Radio journalists appreciated the valuable feedback on their work.
Words from Participants
“I left Prague enriched by the information from the Verification Room [the fact-checking program of Czech Radio], enriched by meeting great people and convinced that YES, it makes sense!!”
“Putting older adults together with young journalists is a great way to help correct a stereotype, to change the resonating view in society that ‘media-ignorant seniors in particular are the purveyors of fake news that present a danger to society.’ ”
A Participatory Approach: Fact-checking WITH Seniors
We don’t just talk ABOUT seniors and their media literacy; we actively engage them in the program design and involve journalists to exchange experiences and ideas, to better understand the specific information needs of senior audiences. We don’t want to do fact-checking FOR seniors; we want to do it WITH seniors. Check out the outcomes of the event here or watch our video here.
We are particularly pleased how the project was received within Czech Radio as these kind words from Martin Samek, the editor in chief of irozhlas.cz, indicate:
I am grateful for the chance to participate in this project, which we engaged in primarily due to its meaningfulness. The development, organization, and outcomes of this project serve as valuable contributions to the conversation surrounding the unjust and insensitive labeling of seniors as purveyors of misinformation.
The project resonated strongly with our newsroom management and received positive feedback from our journalists who took part in it. It was an intriguing experience for them, primarily because it prompted them to approach their work from a different perspective than they do in the editorial office.
Our collaboration with the Transitions team was excellent … It would be highly beneficial if we could expand it to encompass the regions, leveraging the potential of Czech Radio’s regional stations and bringing the project even closer to the public.”
Spread the Word and Join the Fight Against Disinformation
We’re thrilled to share this exciting project with the international community and hope it inspires similar initiatives worldwide. Feel free to reach out to discuss these ideas.
Radiodays Europe Conference
The last week of March saw hundreds of radio industry professionals and enthusiasts – from senior editors and producers to independent podcasters and young audio content creators – gather in Prague to discuss the future of radio, audio, and podcasting at the 13th annual Radiodays Europe conference. And we were there, pitching the attendees on adopting a solutions journalism approach to rebuild trust and increase engagement. For more, visit our website.
Free Solutions Journalism Workshop
This month’s newsletter also brings an exciting opportunity for you to get acquainted with the principles and practices of solutions journalism, a rapidly growing approach to reporting that emphasizes effective responses to social issues, rather than just the problems. Transitions is organizing a two-day online workshop on Solutions Journalism on 16-17 May and you can attend for free!
Over the course of two days, you’ll learn:
✓ How to apply the four pillars of solutions journalism to your reporting,
✓ Discover how climate-focused solutions reporting can pave the way for climate action,
✓ Explore how to re-engage audiences through solutions journalism, and
✓ Learn about innovative multimedia formats to publish your solutions journalism work.
Through interactive exercises, group discussions, and inspiring case studies, you’ll gain new skills, connect with fellow journalists and media professionals, and leave with practical tools and insights to bring solutions journalism to your work. Are you interested in learning how to inspire your audience with stories of positive change? You can find out more about the workshop and register here.
Rubryka Panel Event
It’s not often in Central and Eastern Europe that a news outlet takes the concept of solutions journalism and adopts it as thoroughly as Rubryka, Ukraine’s leading SoJo practitioner and one of the region’s brightest SoJo stars. These days that has meant, unfortunately, showing how solutions journalism can be effective even in times of war.
To coincide with the news outlet’s fifth anniversary, Rubryka hosted a panel discussion in March that included Meenal Thakur, the coordinator of our solutions journalism program. For more information, please visit our website.
Call for Journalism Fellowships
The Prague Civil Society Centre (PCSC) is now accepting applications for a fellowship program offering journalists a three-month stay in Prague to think, reset, network, explore new possibilities and work on their projects.
The program has three time slots in late 2023 and early 2024, and PCSC will cover travel and living expenses. Program themes include Eastern European and Central Asian conflicts and social upheavals, and the challenges faced by the region’s independent media.
The deadline for applying is 15 May 2023. Learn more about the program here.
Did you know that Transitions frequently runs workshops for outside organizations? In March, we ran a solutions journalism workshop in Vienna for the ERSTE Foundation, which is working to develop a core group of Austrian solutions journalism practitioners.
A few weeks later, we presented an online workshop on writing op-eds for activists from Bankwatch, one of the largest networks of environmental NGOs in Central and Eastern Europe. To find out more about what we can offer you, please write: firstname.lastname@example.org.