Ukrainian journalists have acquired German experience in building public media.

The delegation of Ukrainian journalists visited Germany on October 19-26 within the framework of the German-Ukrainian project “Citizens Media for political and intercultural dialogue”. The participants – members of the NGO “Forum of Ukrainian Journalists” headed by the chief editor of “Volyn newspaper” Volodymyr Danyluk, representatives of the Institute of Journalism of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and journalists from all over Ukraine. This visit was a result of a productive cooperation with the «Youth4Media Network» media Association, «Burgerhaus Bennohaus» center (Munster, North Rhine-Westphalia) in the person of Dr. Joachim Musholt and «OK-TV Ludwigshafen» (Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Rhineland-Palatinate), represented by Dr. Wolfgang Ressmann. It should be stated that the organization of the project was assisted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany and supported by the German side.
The main goal of the visit was to gain the best experience of German media and to teach future professional trainers for further development of this project as a new format of cooperation for the implementation of cross-cultural and political dialogue. During a week the participants have not only learned a lot from their European colleagues, conducted series of seminars on various aspects of journalism, but also had an intensive program of meetings and visits to learn about independent journalism and freedom of speech in Germany. Each participant has prepared his own media product during the week.
Next day after arrival the delegation visited a private radio station RPR-1 to get acquainted with the standards of journalism and learn about peculiarities of media sector in Germany. Founded in 1985, RPR-1 is one of the first private radio stations in Germany. Anna Renska, a PhD student of the Institute of Journalism, was making a video-report about the visit. The Ukrainians were particularly interested in the censorship in German media and concepts of professional ethics. German colleagues mentioned the cases when a license could be denied and told about such precedents.
Wednesday morning journalists plunged into the philosophy of Ernst Bloch in Ernst Bloch Zentrum – cultural and research center named after a famous German thinker. Denys Kryvopalyi, a master student of the Institute of International Relations and a journalist from Chernihiv, took camera in his hands. With its threefold conception comprising the cultural program, exhibitions and archives, Ernst Bloch Zentrum is also famous for the public projects, conducted in cooperation with the «OK-TV Ludwigshafen» TV-channel. As the project organizer Dr. Wolfgang Ressmann mentioned, for him “this center is an example of the realization of democracy and freedom of speech in this city, in this region and in the whole Germany”.
Later on the Ukrainians had a meeting with a film director and photographer Luigi Toscano, an author of «Lest we forget» («Gegen das Vergessen») photo installation, dedicated to the victims of Holocaust. To implement the project and find those people he had visited several countries, including Ukraine. Luigi shared the idea of the project and process of its implementation in his native city of Mannheim. Afterwards, he presented the photo books about the project and mentioned his future plans to visit Ukraine. Anastasia Russu, a student of the Institute of journalism, was covering the meeting.
A visit to the “cradle of German democracy” – Hambach Castle (Hambacher Schloss) – took place on Thursday. It is a place where the Hambacher Fest was in 1832 – a mass demonstration involving more than 30.000 people from Germany, France and Poland demanding for the freedom of press, speech and general assembly, civil rights and national unity. That’s why the Hambacher Fest is considered to be the birth of German democracy. It was the first time when a tricolor flag of Germany displaying the national colors (black, red and gold) was hoisted. The flags, documents and press reminds of the birth of democratic movement in Germany. Nowadays, the construction of democratic society and journalism is extremely important for Ukraine. Thus, is was highly symbolic that a report about this trip was made by representative of temporary occupied region of Donbas, Alena Merzhevska, a chief-editor of “Nashe Slovo” newspaper.
Yevgen Tsymbalenko, a professor at the Institute of Journalism, filmed the visit to the town of Speyer, famous for its grand Catholic cathedral – Speyerer Dom, the final resting place for ten German kings, – and impressive Museum of aviation, space and engineering.
A press-conference was held on Friday morning. Together with the media expert Dr. Wolfgang Ressmann, trainer Sofia Samoylova, Dr. Vitalii Kornieiev of Institute of Journalism they’ve discussed the current state of Ukrainian journalism and prospects of its development with their German colleagues from local media. Dr. Ressmann said more about the “Citizens Media for political and intercultural dialogue” project and Dr. Kornieiev emphasized the crucial importance of such training programs for Ukrainian specialists.
Saturday morning started with preparations for a TV-program. The participants set the cameras, lights, sound, exposed the picture. This program was covering a dialog of Wolfgang Ressmann and Vitalii Kornieiev, who reviewed the preliminary results of the seminar, discussed the possibilities for further cooperation and methods for its implementation. Process was fully organized by the seminar participants: Denys Kryvopalyi, Alena Merzhevska and Eugene Tsymbalenko as camera operators, Anastasia Russu as sound director, and Anna Renska as film director. Rest of the time was devoted to cutting and editing, and on Sunday everyone presented his final footage.
Each participant got a certificate of accomplishing the training, gaining skills of cameraperson, photo reporter, film director, TV-moderator and qualification of media trainer. Organizers noted the high professionalism of the team and its willingness to teach Ukrainian counterparts in accordance with Western standards of journalism.
Within the project a part of the Ukrainian delegation was in Münster, where it was intended to learn the German colleagues’ experience of the preparation of media trainers. The spacious building of the public institution “Bennohaus” was designed by Dr. Joachim Miskholt tailored to the needs and peculiarities of modern media centre, which is equipped with the latest technical equipment and adapted to different needs of media sphere. It is here the students, academics and journalists from Ukraine had an opportunity both to deepen and broaden their experience and to practice their skills as media trainers.
During the first day the participants got acquainted with the peculiarities of the work of media trainer with international and intercultural teams, learned the methods of creating the friendly work environment, worked out the potential crises during the workshops, examined various aspects of training process and competence of the trainer (personal, social, professional, methodological, pedagogical), and compared their educational experience within Ukraine and Germany. The trainers of the project Max Hafemann and Dariya Yaronovska provided special attention to the various models of the educational process – authoritarian, democratic, non-interference and support, which had to be worked out by the workshop participants in conditions as close to real life.
The second and third days of the lessons were devoted to the use of video, photo and audio in media trainings as special methods of presentation and working of the material. The coaches offered interesting tasks, demonstrated the innovative solutions of involvement of photo, video and audio materials to the educational process – from creative tasks to the use of technical possibilities for the explanation of the new factual material.
The idea of Münster session was exchanging experience and immediate testing of new skills. That is why the next stage was real trainings conducted by the participants using learned experience. Kasyanova Natalia – a student of Odessa National University and Tetyana Litvinova – a journalist of Espresso TV were the first who conducted their seminar entitled “Modern journalism: features, rules, principles”. Despite their young age, the girls managed not only to find interesting forms of presentation of information and to quite clearly embody the instructions of the workshop trainers regarding the seminar structure, but also to skilfully provoke and quite correctly moderate the discussion about the modern journalism genres.
The next training in radio journalism was especially interesting because it was conducted by an associate professor of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and at the same time a radio journalist of “Galychyna fm” Yuriy Zaliznyak, therefore Yuriy managed to combine the experience of the practician, together with classical teaching style, with newly received qualities of media trainer. The coaches also noted academic style of the material presentation and informative richness of the training.
Olga Sukhomlyn, a lecturer of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, conducted a seminar together with Yuriy Yakovyuk, a journalist of “Volyn newspaper”. By combining the teaching techniques and the experience of daily work in the editorial office it was possible to offer an interesting angle of presentation of information about the content generated by the users of social media and its significance in modern journalism. The workshop was distinguished by the creative approach and interactivity that the coaches noted.
A project co-organizer and an editor in chief of socio-political weekly “Volyn Newspaper” Volodymyr Danylyuk emphasized a symbolism of such trainings conducting in Münster:
– Münster is called the desk of Westfalen because of a large number of educational and cultural institutions. Here it is comfortable to work, share best practices, seek new forms of dialogue and understanding for media trainers with experience or beginners in this business. I hope that acquired skills will be useful not only in November during the third – final – session in Kiev, where the coaches will pass their experience to new volunteers of information sphere, but also in the future. The main thing is that the Ukrainian delegation ensured from their own experience that the idea of civic media in a civilized European country is not a utopia, but a reality that works effectively for the benefit of the society.

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