15 journalists from countries of the Eastern Partnership Region and Russia participated in the seminar „Journalists for Change – Putting Social Issues on the Front Page“. The seminar focused on issues related to social journalism and approached them from various perspectives.
After an introduction given by Marina Zagorskaya from the Belarusian Association of Journalists, discussing what social journalism is, its historical development and relation to activism, participants got an insight into various cases of investigative journalism on labour issues with Cornelia Cozonac, the director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in Moldova. Examples reach from investigations into labour rights violations in Moldovan stone pits to problems of people working in the health care system. Participants also presented and discussed some of their own past investigations and a common feature across most of the cases seems to be the difficult cooperation with local authorities.
Georgi Sandul from the Ukrainian NGO “Labour Initiatives” provided a legal perspective on labour rights and the situation of trade unions in Ukraine. He highlighted that a common feature of successful labour right protection activities is the presence of trade unions as well as journalists and public protest. This points to the importance and the potential of cooperation between journalists and civic activists.
During the practical training, the major social problems in each country were highlighted by the participants, which included domestic violence, labour rights violations and the educational system. Possible ways to report on these issues were discussed and ideas for cross-border journalistic publications developed.
Another applied training focused on data journalism conducted by Suren Deheryan, media trainer from the Armenian “Journalists for the Future”, presented sources for relevant data on social issues and ways how to present data in an appropriate way.
During a meeting with representatives of the International Marine Workers´ Federation, the participants were introduced to the way the union works and got the chance to visit one of the cargo terminals of the Odessa sea port.