The conference of Changes of Perspectives in Media Education and Political Dialogue is coming closer and closer – and the groups are working on their projects. In this article we will show what topics the groups decided to deal with, how they are approaching them and what the organizer’s impression is about the project until now.
The audio-visual group
The first days the audio-visual group discussed different ideas of videos they can film and the participants learned how to use the equipment. They decided to show how fake news are produced, so they wanted to report about a local event from two different perspectives in two reports, including fake news. But after discussing and searching they were not able to find any appropriate event. So they had to change plans. But that is happing in working with media and they stayed motivated and so they found a new idea by thinking of connections of their home countries and Odessa.
Now the groups wants to present Armenian and Georgian restaurants in Odessa. With this they try to show how different ethnic groups, also with different religions, live peaceful together in Odessa. For finding interview partners they were able to fall back on the contacts the project had established with the Armenian community centre. They helped them arrange interviews with two Armenian restaurant owners. The interviews were filmed in Armenian and the Armenian group member will translate it for the subtitles. The third interview partner is the owner of a Georgian restaurant that the group members saw on the street. The owner is half Georgian, half Ukrainian and the interview was held in Russian.
Later the group decided to make also some interview with people on the street to get a more general impression of the opinion of the people of Odessa on the topic. And they were also able to film interviews in the food market of the owner of the one Armenian restaurant – people of different nationalities sell food there. There are Moldavians, Bulgarians, Azerbaijanis and others working together.
While filming interviews and some shots in the city the participants from other countries had the chance to learn from the local participants about Odessa.
In the audio-visual group were not only people who had experience with video-journalism but with other fields in media, for example print media. On the one hand they could learn new technical skills. First theoretically, then observing and finally practically, while the more experienced shot the interviews with the restaurant owner and the less experienced filmed some shots in the city. On the other hand the participants with experience on another field were able to contribute to the work by using their special experience and perspective.
The debating group
Here lies the content-related core of our project because the debating group deals with the medial and political problems that the project is about. At the beginning the group members had an open discussion from that they developed some core topics and problem. They also searched for topics that are important for all participating countries.
The topics they decided to deal with are: hate speech, conflicts media coverage, fake news, propaganda and media owners in Ukraine. The participants agree all on that these topics are problematic and they consider these topics important because they concern all the participating countries and because we are confronted with them every day.
After finding these the group decided who is taking which topic to start then to prepare a presentation about it. These presentations should take around 15 minutes and after them there should be time for questions and debate. In general now the people are working everyone on his own on his topic and, if needed, they still discuss some questions and problems in the group. Because the topics are very current there is also much scientific literature available that the participants can use for the preparation of their presentations. According to the demands of our project to connect the participating countries the participants will present theories and developments that are general but also country specific ones.
The documentation group
Our task is to document the whole project – so the work of the other two groups and the events. But we also want to explain the political background and present country and city we are in. Our work is not just documenting but also reflecting on the project because we can look at it from a distanced point of view.
We do not start our work at the place where the other groups are working or where the events take place but with our preparation. At the beginning of the project we discussed how we want to approach our task to document the project and how every one of the three group members can contribute according to his experiences and skills. Of course the participants learning how to use the camera and in its different modes to be able to shoot different kinds of pictures.
Every day before we go to report about the happenings we discuss what we want to learn to write about and what kind of pictures we want to take because when we go to an event without preparation it can happen that we do not think of all things we want to learn or all photos that we want to take. But that does not mean that we are not flexible in our reporting situations – it just means that we come with a foundation with that we can work. And if, for example, we see the chance to take a good picture that we did not think of we can just take it.
Later we put the pictures of our cameras on the computer and collect our notes and thoughts for the articles. We publish these on infocenter.com.ua in form of a blog where we connect text and pictures to get a better impression. Additionally we share this blog on Facebook, together with some little bonuses like media reports about our project in local media.
It is very favourable that we are a diverse group. So is one group member from Odessa and was able to show us sights in Odessa and showed us also the less known places, so we get a better impression of Odessa atmosphere.
Another group member is an artist and drew some sketches in which he expressed his impression of Odessa and the project. So we were able to upload also some of these pictures for our Facebook page.
“This week was work-intensive but the progress in the groups is great and they have developed strong teamwork – until now I am even more than satisfied!” That said Wolfgang Ressmann, one of the initiators of the project and the chairman of the Association of Citizen Media of Germany. For him the basic idea is very important: democratisation through an international connection. Projects like ours are very important because all of the participating countries have the problems in common with which is dealt here, like fake news and hate speech.
He likes to see how there are not only professionals and academics participating but also students and media beginners and that they are working well together and are learning from each other.
There have been already two interviews in local TV channels and one with a local newspaper with organizers of our project, so the project shows first impacts and is taking part in the discourse about the complex of questions concerning media education and political dialogue.
Wolfgang Ressmann is convinced that our work in Odessa and the synergy created by the groups will be a solid foundation for the two other stations of the project in Kyiv and Yerevan later this year.