When floods gripped the Balkans, Radio Slobodna realized the agency needed a new approach to effectively cover the events. Several reporters lost their recording equipment. Where this wasn't the case, the tools of radio reporting were just not enough to completely tell the story. Radio could impart how citizens felt, but lacked the kind of visceral impact possible with visual documentation of such devastation. Radio Slobodna is the Bosnian affiliate of Radio Free Europe in the Balkans. In June the Prague Freedom Foundation, an independent foundation supporting indepedent media in eastern Europe, asked Small World News and StoryMaker to help reinvigorate Radio Slobodna. SWN worked with Radio Free Europe's local partner in Sarajevo, providing new equipment and training in multimedia reporting with mobile devices. As the name suggests, Radio Slobodna is primarily a radio agency, but increasingly looks to the internet as a primary distribution point.
The agency produces a daily morning radio program and weekly television program. Thus far distribution via the internet is a secondary consideration. Historically reporters in the field have primarily filed audio dispatches and called in reports. A core team of staff reporters, based in Sarajevo, were responsible for all photo and video content. However, this structure is no longer tenable, increasingly, news agencies must ensure all staff are capable of capturing and reporting news in a variety of mediums, at any time.
With the support of the Prague Freedom Foundation, I traveled to Sarajevo, and delivered 25 android tablets running StoryMaker. Over two one-day workshops reporters with a variety of experience learned the basics of multimedia production with mobile devices and the StoryMaker app, which is now available in nine languages.
Providing Radio Slobodna's staff Android tablets combined with the StoryMaker journalism app will help them stay ahead of the curve. This combined with an introduction to Small World News' revolutionary social-first news strategy means Radio Slobodna's journalists will be ready for whatever the next news cycle brings.
The reporters of Radio Slobodna produced a variety of short video projects during the workshop, including stories about the increasing rehabilitation of Tito's legacy amongst Bosnians, the only woman copper worker in Sarajevo, and the renovation of the historic hotel Zagreb in downtown.
For reporters with access to professional photography and video equipment, as well as post-production software, StoryMaker provides an interesting addition to their kit. Rather than replacing this equipment, StoryMaker and mobile multimedia production should be seen as an accompaniment. With a mobile device and StoryMaker, journalists can quickly assemble and publish a rough cut of their story, directly from the scene.
StoryMaker will help Radio Slobodna increase the depth and variability of its coverage without investing huge sums in new equipment and training. Just following the workshop, staff reporter Ivana Bilic traveled to Topcic to document the reconstruction. Using StoryMaker she was able to quickly and effectively document the impact of the floods and the state of reconstruction. Check out the video below: