In Sremski Karlovci, in “Environmental Center Radulovacki”, more than 20 participants attended a three-day long training for journalists dedicated to reporting on environmental topics. For the second time under the CSOnnect program, this training was organized by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), with the aim of empowering and encouraging the development of journalism devoted to this important topic.
Ms. Ruza Radovic, director of the REC CO Serbia, emphasized the importance of the media for better understanding of environmental protection, as well as the importance of the partnership that the REC maintains and keeps developing with media professionals. As she stated in her introductory remarks, the process of accession negotiations of Serbia with the European Union is complex, but media are crucial in this process – they are the ones that should bring this process closer to citizens, especially in terms of benefits that the entire society gains by harmonizing legislation with the EU acquis in the field of the environment.
Relevant sources of information are one of the key topics and a crucial starting point for high quality reporting on environmental topics. This is why Mr. Dejan Lekic, Assistant Director of the Serbian Environmental Protection Agency, delivered a session on information available and collected by the Agency. With the same aim one of the lecturers was Mr. sc. med. Zorica Jovanovski, who presented the work of the Institute of Public Health of Serbia, which has significant amount of information on the impacts of the polluted environment on the health of citizens.
In continuation of the training, journalists had the opportunity to talk with one of the members of the Commission for Complaints of the Press Council and the REC Expert, Ms. Ivana Stjelja, who presented the most common violations of the Journalist’s Code of Ethics, but also the challenges that the Commission and media themselves are facing.
Professor of the Faculty of Political Sciences, Snjezana Milivojevic, PhD, presented the challenges of environmental reporting in theory and practice, while participants also had had the opportunity to exchange their experiences with a guest lecturer from Ireland. Mr. Kieran Cooke has a decades-long experience of environmental reporting for the BBC, the Financial Times, and as a correspondent from different parts of the world.
Mr. Cooke presented his experience, but also had helped the participants to map the most interesting topics in specific environmental sub-areas through group work. Namely, representatives of civil society organizations supported through the CSOnnect program presented some of the most important and most current topics within their projects, and discussed with journalists the potential interesting stories and reports that could be presented to citizens, while Mr. Cooke facilitated group work and gave useful advice on how to deal with these topics.
Finally, two investigative journalists – Mr. Dino Jahic (CINS) and Mr. Aleksandar Djordjevic (BIRN) presented the specifics of their work in investigative journalism, as well as the forms and tools of communication in online environment. Through concrete examples and practical work, Mr. Jahic presented the possibilities of visual presentation of information and messages that are available to journalists, while Mr. Djordjevic explained the important dimension of investigative journalism - data journalism and other potential sources of information.