This website is a platform for Transitions projects aimed at helping both Roma and non-Roma journalists in getting skills and knowledge necessary to responsibly and engagingly over issues significant for the Roma communities in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The projects include instruction in a variety of settings, ranging from online courses and seminars to in-the-field, collaborative reporting by teams of Roma and non-Roma journalists as well as participation in Transitions internship programs.
The projects also result in media content on issues relevant for Europe’s Roma communities by Roma and other authors with a view to raising the visibility of, and facilitating constructive debate on, Roma issues.
Romani Journalist Advancement Project
Launched in 2005, this project was designed to improve the skills of Roma journalists in Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and, as of 2007, Serbia and Macedonia. Implemented with the support of OSF Media Program, the project focused on “shoulder-to-shoulder” reporting, a training method often applied in Transitions programs that sees trainers and trainees working side by side on concrete stories. In recent years the project also received support from the Embassy of the United Kingdom in the Czech Republic, the Erste Foundation and the Embassy of the United States in the Czech Republic.
These collaborative efforts resulted in stories on wide-ranging topics, such as the displaced Roma from Kosovo; Macedonia’s Roma Muslims; the allegations of vote-buying in the Roma communities in the region of Varna in Bulgaria; sex education among Roma youth; early teen marriages among Romania’s Roma; the first Roma Orthodox Christian priest in Romania etc.
The 2011-2012 project cycle was focused on providing a group of 20 journalists in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia with training in advanced multimedia storytelling skills and publication opportunities. The project resulted in a series of video stories.
Advancing Roma Visibility
The 2010-2012 Advancing Roma Visibility project is aimed at increasing the quantity, quality and accessibility of media content, including both news and information, aimed at the Roma communities of the Balkans—in Bosnia, Serbia and Macedonia in particular—with a view to permanently increasing the visibility of problems, rights and needs of Roma populations in the region and contributing in that way to the Roma’s inclusion in the mainstream society.
The project is implemented by Transitions and its partners, Foundation Mediacentar Sarajevo, Kali Sara Roma Information Center, the Novi Sad School of Journalism and the Foundation Macedonian Institute for Media.
The project created a core group of 18 Roma and non-Roma journalists, six from each target country, who in May and June 2011 attended a ten day-training in multimedia storytelling in Sarajevo. After the training, the participants worked in teams of two on a series of stories, which can be accessed in local languages at the project website. Selected stories resulting from this project are also available in English on the Roma Transitions website.
The project is co-funded by the European Union under the IPA 2009 – Civil Society Facility – Regional Programmes, with further support from the Transition Promotion Program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic,
Colorful but Colorblind: Roma Beyond Stereotypes
Implemented between 2009 and 2011, Colorful but Colorblind was a project aimed at remedying anti-Roma stereotyping through the creative use of multimedia in reporting minority issues in new member states of the European Union in Central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia) and internationally. Conceived by Transitions, the project was implemented in close cooperation with four partner organizations in the target countries, the Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) in Budapest, the Center for Independent Journalism (CJI) in Bucharest, the Media Development Center (MDC) in Sofia, and MEMO 98 in Bratislava. Leading specialists in multimedia storytelling and production from the School of Communication at the University of Miami took part in the project as trainers and producers.
The project was co-funded by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights and citizenship Programme, with further support from OSF Media Program, the Embassy of the United States in the Czech Republic, the Embassy of the United States in Budapest and the Knight Center for International Media at the School of Communication, University of Miami.
Colorful but Colorblind provided 50 Roma and majority community journalists, ten from each target country, with training in using multimedia to report on minority issues. In May and June 2010, five weeklong training workshops were held, one in each country.
The training concentrated on developing the skills and techniques needed to produce professional quality audio-driven video stories, covering equipment and best practices for content gathering and editing. The training included practical exercises, conducted both in classroom and in the field, and discussions of specific considerations regarding the coverage of under-reported peoples and cultures.
Following the training, the participants were divided into groups of two—most comprising one Roma journalist and one majority-community journalist—to work on a Roma-related story. In July 2010, each team was joined by a graduate student from the School of Communication at the University of Miami with support from the Knight Center for International Media’s Our City project. This collaborative effort resulted in a collection of twenty-five stories featured on the Colorful but Colorblind website.
In May 2011, the project was named the winner of the 2010 Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism in the Digital Media Presentation (Independent) category).