"It ends resulting in stories told by several voices, in a unique manner, and to different audiences"

Alisa Kustikova, Perspektivy

Alisa Kustikova during research trip for Cross-Border journalism project in TV Center in Tallinn.

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Feedback from the Cross-Border Journalism project participant 2016

Participation in the project has become an experience of crossing the barriers for me. That’s how it starts, when colleagues from different countries meet and create teams. That’s how it ends resulting in stories told by several voices, in a unique manner, and to different audiences.

Formally Cross Border Journalism started with a two days seminar in Moscow. Mentors and colleagues discussed and sorted out projects. A good half of topics including mine were discarded as a result of an exciting discussion by journalists from five countries: Russia, Azerbaijan, Kirgizia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. It was a great filter, too, since very often the topics outside national agenda happen to be boring and of little significance.

It didn’t take me long to find an alternative topic. Together with my colleagues Maria Zaburdayeva and Sonia Sinenko from the North-West region we decided to create a project about immigration of Russians to the Baltic states. During the next one and a half days in Moscow we were refining the idea, thinking over the concept, and distributing the duties. Subsequent work on the project took two months.

The highlight of that period was the week spent in Estonia. It was a wonderful experience. When I arrived to Tallinn, I only had contact details of a protagonists and quite a vague idea of the resulting material. The story just emerged by itself: one protagonist helped me to find the other, while Estonian officers provided me with the required statistical information in record-breaking time, especially by Russian standards. One can certainly call it good luck, but more than anything I benefited from the advice of my mentors, Anatoly Verbin being among them.

Anatoly Verbin helped me to find a new turn to my topic right in time, advised on how to work with the protagonists, and provided general support during the whole project. I had not had a chance to meet professionals of such level before.

Communication with the colleagues on the project was an extremely important experience as well. Joint writing of three different stories is not an easy task for journalists with different professional background and experience, but we managed to cope with it in the end. It is quite challenging, but extremely important to understand that not everything depends on you and that in some cases only synergy can bring about success. The project certainly helps to become aware of this fact. Final discussion of the projects in St.Petersburg in the end of June can serve as a good example. The participants had to present finalized projects that they had been working on in the recent months. We discussed everything in great detail including captions under the pictures. This format turned out to be very productive, because due to teamwork we were able to identify mistakes, inaccuracies and slips of the tongue that the author hadn’t even thought of. On top of that, in Moscow and St.Petersburg we had a chance to meet with extraordinary speakers and to discuss how to create a multimedia long read and take regional topics to the national level. Thanks to coordinator Natalia Pisarenko the final part of the meetings was informal and very exciting.                             

Cross Border Journalism has become an important professional challenge for me as well as my first experience in international project participation. It was a good start and I know that I will keep on going.

Alisa Kustikova

Find out the result of the project "New wave" 

Read stories of Cross-border project season  2015 and 2016