For the third time, the Bakala Foundation hosted a unique course for aspiring journalists mostly from Central and Eastern Europe. Journey: Journalism Bootcamp welcomed 20 students of journalism and media studies and offered them a trully inspiring experience: lectures, exercises and newsroom simulations with journalists from leading international news organizations.
The keynote speaker of Journey this year, Dunja Mijatović, has until recently served as the Representative on Freedom of the Media with the OSCE and came to Prague to share her life-long experience with protecting and promoting free media and freedom of speech. As Dunja stated in her opening address, media must stay true to their most important purpose – bringing true and correct information and pointing out lies and propaganda. Dunja also expressed her concern about the current state of democracy in the region: “Democracy is not a democracy as long as journalists and their work are attacked,” she noted.
A 2017 Pulitzer Prizes finalist, highly accomplished foreign correspondent and White House reporter, Adam Entous, confirmed concerns about the current situation. “In America, journalism is changing. Exposing lies is perceived as an attack,“ said the Washington Post reporter.
Participants of Journey 2017 took part in a number of workshops on current trends and tools used in reporting, data collection and analysis, investigative journalism and many more aspects of modern media work. Besides Adam Entous, who gave lectures on long form investigative journalism and sourcing, the lecturers included Jessica Bruder (Columbia University), Evan Perez (CNN), Eliza Mackintosh (CNN International) and Matt Stearns (VP External Communications at Optum) to name just a few. Journey 2017 brought not only journalism lectures, but also some practical exercises – such as reporting from the Prague Pride.
The members of the evaluation committee are now looking forward to reading through the long-form stories to be shortly produced by the participants on the theme of populism. Final submissions are due on 20 September and the awards for the best stories will be announced on 19 October 2017.