Latest News from Transitions (TOL)

Past Events

TOL relaunches Roma Transitions blog

One of the best sources for Roma-related stories just got better. We have redesigned the Roma Transitions website to act as a common platform for Transitions’ projects aimed at helping both Roma and non-Roma journalists responsibly and engagingly cover issues related to the Roma communities in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The website showcases the participants’ work with a view to raising the visibility of Roma issues and facilitating constructive debate.

The website currently features videos made as part of a training and production project for a group of 20 Roma and majority-community journalists in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. The 2011-2012 project – which received support from the OSF Media Program, the Erste Foundation, and the U.S. and UK embassies in the Czech Republic – is implemented in close cooperation with five partner organizations, the Center for Independent Journalism in Budapest, in Prague, the Center for Independent Journalism in Bucharest, the Media Development Center in Sofia, and MEMO 98 in Bratislava.

Georgian media managers get more CMS help

When a group of small regional media outlets decided to overhaul their new media strategies, they couldn’t have known how much a new look and new content management system could also impact their traffic and renown. But that’s what has happened since TOL and our partnerSourcefabric started working last year with the three publications:, a promising site launched a few months ago that remains the only media outlet in the Samegrelo region regularly producing journalistic content; the Mtskheta Mtianeti Information Center, which covers a region in eastern Georgia; and Tspress, a local media outlet that writes about Samegrelo, Ajara, and the upper Svaneti regions.  All three are now using a new CMS, Sourcefabric’s Newscoop

Earlier this month, on 21 May, the editors in chief of the three websites traveled to Tbilisi learn more from Sourcefabric experts about running their sites and the opportunities and advantages of upgrading to the newly launched Newscoop 4.0. The project has been supported by the Open Society Georgia Foundation, which hosted the meeting, and the National Endowment for Democracy.

Kyrgyz workshop lets regional journalists flex their multimedia muscles

Journalists in Central Asia, like their counterparts elsewhere, have come to realize that the more multimedia skills a reporter can master the more opportunities appear in the media market. After receiving an overwhelming number of applications, TOL chose 12 journalists from across Central Asia to attend a workshop in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 14-16 May.  Rob Cameron, the BBC’s Czech Republic correspondent, led the training, along with Dinara Tokbaeva, a journalist in Kyrgyzstan and coordinator of the Internews project New Reporter.

The three-day event was organized in partnership with DoorMedia, a Kyrgyz organization known for its mobile news service, and focused on teaching participants the basics of storytelling and good journalism on multiple platforms. Attendees also leaned how to use new media and social media to improve their reporting as well as to promote the journalism they produce. 

Under the guidance of the trainers, the journalists worked together to produce  several multimedia features that included text, images, and audio. The results of the teams’ reporting projects can be seen here.

“They were all very motivated and keen to learn, and were able to teach me a thing or two about what it’s like working as a journalist in the region,” Cameron said. “They quickly understood and seized upon the practical exercise, managing to produce multimedia reports on topics chosen at very short notice. The end results were all very good and I think they were proud of what they achieved.”

The workshop took place in the framework of a National Endowment for Democracy-sponsored TOL project called “Central Asia: Getting Back to Basics,” with co-funding from the Open Society Fund’s Media Program.

Success Story

Farahim Alili and Ayaz Guliyev both received travel grants from TOL earlier this year to participate in the Dijital’12 Webrazzi digital advertising and marketing conference in Istanbul in March. The event broadened their horizons, providing insights into success stories in Turkey and elsewhere that proved helpful when they launched their own project,, soon afterward. The site helped people coming to Baku during the Eurovision song contest to find accommodation with local families. The two founders obtained funding and other services for the project from Azercell, one of the country’s biggest mobile operators.  
Featured Content

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

2 April 2012
The Kyrgyz David and the Russian Goliath
Kyrgyzstan’s new president has been taking aim at Moscow, but he may end up shooting himself in the foot.
By Chingiz Toloev

4 April 2012
Hungary’s Roma Tipping Point
A strange combination of violence and political will might finally be forcing progress on a perennial issue.
By Peter Murphy

6 April 2012
In Transdniester, a Change at the Top
Will the statelet’s new de facto president bring reform or just put a new face on the same old hustle?
By Mihai Popescu

13 April 2012
New Laws Galvanize Russian Gays
Protests mount as activists take on measures barring ‘homosexual propaganda’ among minors.
By Irina Titova

16 April 2012
Kazakhstan’s Faith Registry
Small religious groups say a new law nominally aimed at extremists is really designed to suppress the freedom of belief.
By Dariya Tsyrenzhapova

18 April 2012
Russia Moves to Limit Foreign Adoptions
A demographic crisis and violent deaths spur a renewed effort to keep adopted children in their homeland.
By Irina Titova

19 April 2012
Russia’s Naked Emperors
After a long absence, satire is back, even as the authorities seek to co-opt and marginalize it. First in a series.
By Alexander Kolesnichenko

20 April 2012
In Eurovision Spending, Azerbaijan Is a Clear Winner
Baku’s splurge on the musical extravaganza dwarfs that of past hosts – and might carry a cost in clean water and pension payments.
By Shahla Sultanova

24 April 2012
Lenfilm in Twilight
A fight is brewing over the fate of Russia’s most storied film studio – and for the soul of the country’s movie industry.
By Galina Stolyarova

25 April 2012
The Mad Tea Partier of Minsk
EvgenyLipkovich’s crusades have ranged from yogurt to green spaces to freedom of thought. Second in a series.
By Volha Khvoin

26 April 2012
Russia’s Iniquitous Bakers Face Crackdown
Quota-happy police feed the crime statistics with poppy-seed rolls.
By Galina Stolyarova

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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