Participants of Perspektivy programme visiting 1 TV Channel studio in Tbilisi, September 2017
Anatoly Verbin, trainer of Perspektivy series of workshops "Reporting skills in the digital era"
One of the key goals of our programme is to promote team spirit among the participants. In this case there was no need to pursue this goal. It materialised in the fist few hours of our master class.
Twelve interesting people from very different places – from Mongolia to Belarus – came to this training and immediately turned into one, united team. It was fascinating to watch them. Not only they worked together, they spent their free time together - lunches, dinners, excursions, sightseeing in Yerevan and Tbilisi, two wonderful cities where we worked. And of course, round the clock communication in our Facebook group.
The new format, which we have chosen for this training, also helped. As always, we did our traditional exercises and discussed them, worked on philosophy and technology of interviewing, discussed fake news and other challenges for our profession. But we also created live multimedia materials. During the first half of our training, participants were divided into three groups. Each was tasked to create one material during the second part, held in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. One group worked on the first Georgian president Zviad Gamsakhurdia, second – on the next president, Eduard Shevardnadze, third – Mikhail Saakashvili.
The groups, or clans, as they were labelled by our wonderful coordinator Natalia Pisarenko, studied their heroes and prepared archive materials in between the two parts. Apart from that, Natalia organised a webinar for them on how to use Tilda, a very useful platform for creating multimedia
Once we met in Tbilisi, the groups had half a day to shoot photo and video, do interviews with experts and do vox pops. Out participant from Tbilisi, Tsovik Akopyan, coordinated this activity. And then they had half a day to put their materials together. All of them said: «Mission impossible», not enough time. And all of them did it! Yes, there was much to be desired in their materials, but even for me, who covered events linked to those very contradictory figures in the Georgian history in as a journalist, their materials were of great interest. Team spirit flourished while they worked on those stories.
We also had very interesting guest speakers. Konstantin Petrosov and Galina Davidyan told us how their Russian language news agency works and survives in a very difficult media market in Armenia.
Reuters veterans Nino Ivanishvili and David Chkhikvishvili spoke about moral and ethical problems they had faced while covering conflicts around the world – from Afghanistan to Nagorny Karabakh.
To sum it up, when I heard an apparently formal phrase at the end of the training – "we will be in touch" - I believed that. A team has been formed.