The second Mediathon training event brought together many amazing and inspiring participants and speakers from Slovakia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic. Journalists working or planning to work on investigative reports learnt, practiced, and improved their competences in information search and verification, and in big data analysis in Microsoft Excel and SQL. As the Mediathon stands for support of networking and collaboration, the participants also worked in teams where they developed a new investigative project idea. Speakers and organisers provided them with feedback and pieces of a professional advice.

Taking place in Lithuania – two days in Vilnius and three days in an inspiring Innovators’ Valley in Antaliepte from March 30 to April – the Mediathon was again success thanks to a great and active team of participants, who created an inspiring atmosphere and wanted to learn from each other as well. Speakers contributed to inspirational and empowering atmosphere, as they provided the participants an opportunity to learn numerous useful tools and from the concrete outstanding investigative journalism examples.

The sessions and discussions focused on data journalism (introduction to big data analysis using Excel, SQL: data cleaning, formulating a hypothesis, data acquisition); mapping tools that can add a creative interactive element to the story; and online tools that can be used for the effective search for information.  The speakers and their specific sessions were:

Indrė Makaraitytė (Lithuania) – Investigative journalism in the era of divisions

Adriana Homolová (the Netherlands) – Data acquisition, Data cleaning in Excel, and Data analysis in SQL

Center for Advanced Defense Studies – C4ADS (the United States) – Maritaime Domain Awareness

Dmitri Tokmetzis (the Netherlands) – What mapping tools can add to your story?

Šarūnas Černiauskas (Lithuania) – Searching tools

The programme was also enriched by the discussion on “The role of media covering war in Ukraine from distance” and consultations on participant’s investigative ideas and how to continue working on the story.

When being in Vilnius, the participants attended the ceremony of the Future Story Awards 2021 where the best investigations from Lithuania and Slovakia were announced. Two of the participants even won one award in the category “Environment” and one award in the special category “For local or regional media”.

Media4Change would also like to thank all participants for their active, open, and friendly approach. Its team is thankful for their journalistic work they do – whether it’s focusing on big issues or local hidden stories – and dedication to move the media forward. All in all the first Mediathon was a great learning and networking experience for everyone involved, both participants and organisers. Now it’s time to keep in touch and work together to shake things up.

Background: The training was one of the activities of the Media4Change – Future Investigative Story Lab project, which aims to support cooperation, innovation, and professional standards in the field of investigative journalism in Lithuania and Slovakia. It’s run by the National Institute for Social Integration (Media4Change programme) from Lithuania and European Dialogue from Slovakia.

The project has been co-financed by the European Commission – DG CONNECT under the 2019 call for proposals “Media freedom and investigative journalism” (Pilot Project: Supporting investigative journalism and media freedom in the EU).

Disclaimer: The European Commission’s support for the production of this Call for entries does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views of the authors only and are their sole responsibility. The Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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