Local Journalism Innovation Initiative in Lviv diaries. Day 1

In a somewhat new format for The Workshop Post, I am initiating a new kind of article, a diary. I will share the insights, observations, curiosities and new discoveries from participation in the international projects.

Today it’s Local Journalism Innovation Initiative that takes part in Lviv from 07.03 to 10.03 2019. It as opportunity I was really looking forward. With a highly relevant program perfectly fit for the modern tumultuous times, it is the project I was really happy to be a part of. So far the Day 1 proved that my expectations were all right, it is amazing here. Let’s start with the diary.

I arrived in Lviv on the night train from Kyiv and saw some futuristic corridor visions along the way. Blade Runner-type of scenery. Arrived at 3 am and was completely wasted.

There couldn’t be a better venue for holding a journalist conference than super centrally-located Hotel George right next to the Old Town. Opened in 1901, it is a place where the spirit of the Old Europe still lives.

That’s the window view I woke up to.

As one of the fellow participants said, it’s a real-life Grand Budapest Hotel. I mean, just look at these halls and staircases.

It’s time for the action. The Local Journalism Innovation Initiative is a workshop organized by the Institute for Media and Communications Policy gGmbH and elda – European Leadership and Debate Academy. Funding is provided by the German Federal Foreign Office.

The aim of this workshop is to identify concrete strategies for future financing, production, and marketing of journalism. The program consists of theoretical inputs, joint discussions and practical exercises on key competencies and challenges related to journalism in the 21st century

Actually, from the very first time I saw the announcement about this project, I knew it is the workshop I need for a personal and professional development.

The workshop is organized by Leonard Novy and Christian Stahl, two passionate journalism professionals from Germany as well as co-organized by Sergiy Pudich, a Ukrainian filmmaker.

We started from the presentations of participants. I’ve gone through many icebreakers in my international projects career but the one we had here was totally new for me. The format: 2 minutes to ask a person you don’t know about them in 3 questions and afterwards presenting this person to the group. Quite an effective and fun ice breaker in my opinion.

Then expectations. There were many, mostly about the knowledge, practical skills and inspiration.

Meanwhile, nametags hit the ground for everybody to familiarize with everybody.

Beautiful goal of the project. Impact definitely matters.

Next part – the 5 ground rules. At this point, I really liked how the whole thing is organized. People who run this are at ease with making sure things run smoothly. Also, it’s all fun.

Ground rules:

1. Feel at home
2. Make mistakes
3. There’s no wrong question, no wrong idea
4. Be clear and be fair and nice when criticizing
5. Have fun

Then came the most substantial part of the day, the group discussion.

As for the group it is a truly diverse and interesting team of people from all the parts of Ukraine with different backgrounds including political journalism, investigative journalism, local reporting, marketing, social media, travel blogging and traditional blogging. A great platform for opinion exchange.

These were the questions.

We were divided in three mini-groups and had to discuss what we think about the aforementioned. Thoughts were quite similar. My favorite answers to the “biggest problems in local journalism today” was that

  • the local journalists are too lazy
  • the local journalist can be beaten on their work

The grim reality, to be honest. Thankfully it’s not all that bad. Here are the results of our discussion.

Introductory day comes to an end but we have a city tour to do.

Although I’ve been to Lviv many and many times I really enjoyed the whole walking around being guided thing and heard some new curious stories.

Lviv is still a gorgeous city, a “true European Capital of Culture” as Leonard Novy put it in a discussion.

An obligatory selfie with the organizers in a sunset light.

The sunset had a Californian pallette.

It is time to end the day. We’re ending with class at one of the best restaurants in Lviv – Baczewski.

Concluding, I’d like to say that the first day passed very quickly and the rhythm of thought exchange was crazy. And I am absolutely loving it, this is what projects are for. To embrace new knowledge, meet new people and obtain new experiences. All of it was done at Day 1 of the Local Journalism Innovation Initiative.

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