Your Audience is Your Partner
On 19 January 2022, Transitions and SEENPM held an online workshop for around 60 people on building trust between media outlets and their audiences called “Your Audience in Your Partner.” The goal was to inspire journalists, editors, and media managers and provide practical tips on how to grow and engage their audiences. Citizens were also invited to join and share their perspectives on how the media and journalists cover current events and what would increase trust in their work.
The event is part of a series of workshops that aim to fight the corrosion of trust in journalism by building trust-based relationships among media institutions, journalists, and their audiences. For that, we’ve invited top global and regional experts, and practitioners in the field to share their insights and practical lessons learned. This time we enlisted the participation of Dinko Dundic and Meredith Turk.
Dinko, editor in chief at the Bosnian news portal Fokus.ba, spoke about the site’s successful initiative to engage thousands of readers in its investigative work. He cited a story about Favira, a medicine from Turkey that appeared in Bosnia and Herzegovina and was linked to unproven claims of treating COVID-19. Fokus journalists asked pharmacies for information about the drug with no success, but then readers sent them receipts for this drug bought in Bosnian pharmacies. This drug was eventually banned.
“With this story and through the interaction with the readers; we wrote the article and the citizens got accurate information. That’s useful for both – the media and citizens,” said Dundic.
“Traditional reporting begins with listening to the audience, while engagement happens when members of the public are responsive to you, and you are in turn responsive to members of the public,” said Meredith, a journalist and engagement strategist/trainer at Hearken. “Invite the audience to share something, listen to their questions, answer what they want to know, and repeat that circle.”
Initiatives have been popping up in the region to increase engagement, as we heard from some of the participants.
We are holding the next event on 24 February on the topic Stronger Trust = Stronger Media. If you’re interested in joining us, please keep an eye out on our social media channels for more information on the event!
As you may or may not know, Transitions also runs a journalism crowdfunding platform called Press Start, and, through an EU project to support cross-border reporting, we’ll be rolling out a series of campaigns in the coming days. The first one is already up!
Three journalists from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Greece have joined forces in the project Media and Migration: The Power of Words to dive deeply into better understanding the continued negative discourse emanating from some politicians and media toward migrants and refugees. Melis, Zsófia, and Nefeli will investigate the media’s role and interview migrants, social workers, political scientists, and historians to understand the reasons behind the growth of anti-migrant policies and how and why the media reflects them.
You can read more about the campaign and the journalists involved here. If you’re excited about their project, please consider helping crowdfund their efforts. Every donation makes a difference!
Become a Founding Member: new membership plans
Democracy depends on an informed public, which requires fair and independent journalism. We’ve been training journalists and publishing articles on Central and Eastern Europe for two decades.
It hasn’t been easy keeping an eye on the democratic backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe and bringing so many local voices to an international audience. But publishing more than 25,000 articles and training more than 10,000 journalists and journalism students along the way has been well worth it.
If you believe in our mission and want to know more about ways to help our organization, you can check out our newly launched membership plans here.