Youth Media in the Western Balkans

Research consistently shows that almost half of young people in the Western Balkans do not trust any media. They predominantly use online sources for information, with a focus on social media platforms and peer sharing. Few mainstream media outlets cover topics relevant to, about or by the youth population.

Giving a voice to the youth population

Financial instability, high staff turnover, lack of geographical diversity, difficulties in audience engagement and shortages of managerial and journalistic expertise are just some of the challenges youth media outlets face.

Despite these issues, these outlets produce quality content important to the youth population and give voice to this highly underrepresented group. 

The Media for All programme aims to increase the capacity of youth media outlets to produce quality, relevant, ethical and gender-sensitive content, increase the interest and engagement of young people with media on local level and facilitate regional networks of young people in media. 

Tailored training for youth outlets

With MediaCentar Sarajevo, we have developed a tailored programme of instrumental mentorship for youth media outlets across the Western Balkans. Over three months, September to November 2021, the outlets will work with experienced media professionals on a variety of topics covering their everyday activities. 

We asked youth media outlets across the Western Balkans about the training and support they would find most useful and, based on their feedback, we have identified topics for the instrumental mentorship activities. 

The topics covered through instrumental mentorship:

Fundraising

The media outlets will work with their mentors on developing fundraising strategies, identifying potential donors and media partnerships and exploringimprovements in their sales and marketing approaches aiming to generate more income and attract more audiences.

Gender Sensitive Practices

Embedding awareness of gender-sensitive practices both within the workplace and the content they produce will help outlets to represent women more equally and give a voice to sexual minorities. By mapping organisations that support LGBTIQ citizens, outlets may be able to create partnerships to more accurately report on issues and topics of interest to these audiences. 

Gender-Focused Content Production

Mentors will work with outlets on the production of multimedia content covering gender-focused topics (gender-based violence, rights and position of sexual and gender minorities, political, cultural, social and economic rights from gender perspective in the region etc.).

Analytics

This mentorship line will strenghten the capacity of outlets to understand the online tools available to analyse data, improve audience development methodologiesand assist in identifying potential partners to further help them conduct more advanced research and use of analytics.

Engagement Journalism

Also known as people-powered journalism, engagement journalism is based on hybrid, reciprocal relationship between the communities and journalists/newsrooms. Mentor will work with the outlets to improve their understanding of modern approaches to engagement journalism and help them produce content in close cooperation with their audiences. 

Audio-Visual Content Production

Mentors will work with the outlets on strengthening their capacities in the production of audio-visual content. Based on tailor-made approach, mentors will focus on specific needs of a particular outlet, from basic technical principles of production and editing, to advanced methods of audiovisual reporting.

Social Media Content Production

This mentorship line will help the outlets develop content dedicated to social media, with the emphasis on short and effective multimedia, aiming to improve social media audience engagement and reach.