BIRN journalists with colleagues from Kosovo: Persevere in doing your job

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The editor of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), Slobodan Georgiev and journalist, Aleksandar Djordjevic held a three-day investigative journalism training to local media outlets from Kosovo. Fight for your place by doing an even better job – Georgiev told his Kosovo colleagues.

The training, attended by local media outlets (Radio Kontakt Plus, RTV Kim, Radio Gorazdevac, Radio Kosovska Mitrovica and KoSSev), covered topics such as the opportunities and limitations of investigative journalism in non-democratic societies, differences in daily reporting, techniques and characteristics, the art of conducting interviews and finding sources.

The attendees also had the opportunity to find out the best way to talk to people, how to organize an interview and how to influence the interviewee to say what he or she should not say or what does not want to say, how and where to find the story. In addition, the BIRN reporters and their Kosovo colleagues covered topics such as „live“ sources, social networks, court documents, and online documents.

The three-day training organized by the KoSSev portal in North Mitrovica was marked with an exchange of knowledge, recommendations and a discussion on obstacles faced in their implementation in the field.

Local Journalists – A difficult situation at a local level, but the training was useful.

Milena Maksimović

After the training, RTV Kim journalist Milena Maksimovic reminded of an „aggravating circumstance“ journalists working in Kosovo face – „the boycott of local institutions“.

„Taking into account the problems that Kosovo journalists face and the overall situation, this type of advanced training helps to make our work easier, as much as it is possible. It helps us to approach the most delicate topics in the most professional way. During the three-days long training, Slobodan and Aleksandar tried to explain to us, in the best possible, the way investigative journalism works and how we should approach topics of public interest that are rarely addressed,” Maksimovic explained.

Kontakt Plus radio journalist, Daniela Tomasevic said that, because of the overall situation, „there is no place for investigative journalism“ in ​​Kosovo.

Daniela Tomašević

“After the three-day long gathering, my main impression is that there is no place for investigative journalism in ​​Kosovo because the doors are not open to the media here, although it is the same in central Serbia, but it is somewhat easier there. There is no culture of talking to the press. They only talk to the media when it benefits them, but coming up with some deeper story is very difficult. Even when there is a possibility, we are a small media outlet and we do not currently have the opportunity to do something like that. I think that local politicians are more willing to give a statement to the media in Serbia than to us,“ Tomasevic emphasized.

Milić Radio Goraždevac

Milic Petrovic, a journalist with Radio Gorazdevac, agreed with Tomasevic’s stance, adding that such opportunities are even fewer in a place as small as Gorazdevac.

„That is exactly why this was a new experience for me, everything related to investigative journalism, and all that I have heard here in North Mitrovica. In Gorazdevac, in particular, we do not have the opportunity to deal with this kind of journalism, because we have a problem of staff shortages.  There are only two of us in the newsroom, and apart from the radio, we also have a portal. We live in the surrounding area. If we are following events, that often requires traveling around Kosovo. Also, it is difficult to get public documents and statements in general, or to conduct surveys,“ said Petrovic.

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„However, all that we have learned these three days can help us to work harder to dig and work, and one day, we will have results. We have learned that the results will come someday, and that is the main message as far as I am concerned,“ Petrovic added.

Slobodan Georgiev

Georgiev: There are reasons for optimism, fight for your place by working even better

The editor of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), Slobodan Georgiev is optimistic when it comes to the topic of investigative journalism in Kosovo. According to him, the main impression from this training is that there are young people in Kosovo willing to go into journalism and better themselves.

„I think it’s important. And the good news is that there are so many young people who are interested in journalism. For me, this is the biggest impression from this training because sometimes it seems that people younger than 30 are no longer interested in any media, in any stories, and then I come to Mitrovica and see a dozen young people, ready to learn something, to work in very difficult circumstances. So, that’s great news. Something will come from all this, that is, there is a basis to create something. As far as journalism is concerned, this is an area that does not need to worry about it.“

Aleksandar BIRN

Djordjevic: Be careful about avoiding biased journalism

BIRN journalist, Aleksandar Djordjevic also got a similar impression, although, according to him, the media situation in Serbia is “not good” and that this is even more visible in Kosovo.

“It is a very good thing that there are media outlets that do their jobs professionally and which persist in their work and professionalism. In addition to all the aggravating circumstances, I think that only in this way, with how many of you there is, we have something to look forward to and there is a reason to be optimistic,” Djordjevic explained.

„We talked about it for two hours, whether we are wrong in relying too much on what we think is inevitable. It is inevitable that they (institutions and officials) will no longer answer our questions, that they will no longer do their jobs. Just persevere in continuing to do your job, no matter what others are doing,“ he added.

„I am not trying to sweet talk you. I think you are doing a great job, but be careful not to cross that border, to slip up and turn to biased journalism. The challenges are great, but it is a red line that must not be crossed,” Djordjevic concluded.

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