Local Journalism Innovation Initiative in Lviv diaries. Day 3

When you’re participating in a project, the days goes by quickly. I’ve found myself in a third day of Local Journalism Innovation Initiative and it feels a bit sad and rewarding at the same time. Sad because it end in a day. Rewarding because the previous days gave value and context that made me to reflect on writing, journalism and being a journalist in Ukraine.

Here is the Day 1 and Day 2.

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

Alright, we have to move on. Today it’s all about the innovations. And who’s better to talk about it then Frederik Fischer, a person who combines two worlds. On one hand he wrote for Zeit Online, on the other he’s the founder of a curation startup piqd.

The day is divided between two hot topics:

  • Bringing innovation on a budget
    • using newsletters
    • podcasts
    • chatbots
  • Using agile principles in journalism

Facebook and Google has become a monopolies when it comes to how we consume content and how we run ads. To build a better and more engaged audience you need to innovate. One of the best things for the journalists to try is a newsletter.

Frederick tells us about the example of Der Tagesspiegel, a German newspaper that has started to fully rely on a newspaper ad and content model.

Also, we speak about Axios, a startup created by journalists which basically summarizes the news for you in a form of short easy-to-consume article and delivers this content to your email.


The fireplace gives our workshop some additional charms.

Just some quick workshop facts about newsletters:

  • The New York Times has 62 different newsletters
  • There’s a magazine in Germany devoted to meat called BEEF! that used the newsletter as the main way to engage with their audience
  • People open ads and buy ad-promoted products in newspapers several times more than on social media
  • One of the most popular The New York Times newsletter is about Game of Thrones

After the theory we go into practice. The task: to create our own newsletter. We work in groups.

Our group has got really creative and we decided to do a newsletter about the… famous chess moves. 1 week – 1 famous historic chess move with a commentary from the professional about why this move matters, what is the background and the history. We definitely liked the activity.

Our group
Our chess startup (please don’t steal our multi million idea)

We had some chatbot context.

Scary internet stats.

And occasionally the birds were interrupting the workshop.

Legendary. Whoever came up with an idea to put three colorful birds on a logo was a genius.

Then we talked about the podcasts and how the audio is shaping the modern journalism.

“How many of you listen to the podcasts?” “3”. Our of 15. Podcasts have still a long way to go in Ukraine.

We also talked about the smart homes and virtual assistants.

“How many of you use virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomePod?” “…0”. The way for the virtual assistants is even longer.

After discussing the innovative approaches to doing journalism we started another block about the Agile Journalism.

Basically, it means that you use the principles of software development in journalism.

In that case your journalism is a product and you are product manager that should make sure that the product will sit well with the end users. In my opinion, such kind of an approach can be a real game changer for the Ukrainian newrooms.

To learn more about Agile go here.

That was it for the workshop part. When you’re in Lviv if the workshop is over you go on a walk to enjoy the city. That was exactly what we did.

Saw some courtyards.

Took some selfies in the courtyards.

Were observed by the creepy bears.

We had fun.

The walk led us to the final part of the day – a super meaty dinner at Kumpel.

It was a very productive and informative day full of new discoveries both in terms of local journalism innovation, networking and city exploration.

Tomorrow the project ends.


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