The profession should be the main language of journalists – urged one of the participants in our Storytelling Evening, Telegrafi journalist Elfije Boletini.
At the event organized at NSI terrace, journalists from the Serbian and Albanian communities in Kosovo discussed the inter-ethnic cooperation of media workers and the obstacles they face in their work.
“We as human beings simply should not notice the term Albanian, Serb, Turk, Bosniak because we all are people who practice the same profession. Our profession will always connect us, and when that happens there is no other language, religion, or any other difference. I see all my colleagues as journalists, and I ask them to cooperate in order to receive or provide information,” added Boletini.
The media workers also stressed the importance of joint reporting by journalists from different communities for conveying a story that is as close to reality as possible and having diversified acquaintances with whom one can exchange contacts.
Milica Radovanović, who worked for several local portals and wrote a story for a regional Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, spoke about a joint study visit to Germany with Albanian colleagues which proved to be crucial for much of her future work.
“Six months after the trip I was working on a story and I needed some contacts from people who are normally very difficult to reach. I, as a Serb, despite all efforts, could never get to them, and their statements were essential to the quality of my text. And it was precisely those people with whom I have been on that study trip who helped me, shared their contacts with me, and thanks to that I managed to write my story,” testified Radovanović.
Another local journalist and DW correspondent, Milica Andrić Rakić, stressed that joint reporting by journalists from different communities is also important for the diversity of the perspectives in the stories.
“A standard is slowly being set for some very sensitive topics, where the double perspective is very important for the reporting to be balanced, to be done by journalists from different communities. I think this is the most important reason why it is necessary to have cooperation between journalists because the media is one of the most important windows into the world and if you are surrounded by one-sided reporting which does not involve different perspectives, it is a bit unrealistic to expect people to become aware by themselves and for them to walk around looking for that other perspective.”
Journalism student and social media influencer, Donjeta Zahiti, saw also the importance of inter-ethnic cooperation for the development of investigative journalism in Kosovo.
“Investigative journalism is the kind which journalist in Kosovo cannot really practice because of the lack of security. However, if we cooperate with Serbian journalists, I believe that would make us stronger, more confident that we have reliable information and that we can really become investigative journalists.”
Storytelling Evening was organized in late June when a group of ten people from North and South Mitrovica and Pristina gathered in the early evening hours on our rooftop in North Mitrovica, ready to exchange their stories and experiences with interethnic cooperation between media workers.
The storytelling evening was organized not just to bring together young professionals, but also to introduce the Reconciliation and Conflict Transformation program to the local media.
This was one of many activities of the five-year-long Reconciliation and Conflict Transformation program that News Social Initiative is implementing in partnership with Community Building Mitrovica and Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosovo.
It is supported by the American people through USAID in Kosovo.