From March 16-17th, 2018 a Workshop: “Journalistic Writing: How you can tell the stories and positions of your organization to the news-media”, took place in Lubljiana, Slovenia, and was managed by ERSTE Foundation Academy. In this workshop there were 18 representatives of organizations from different Balkan countries. Sebastian Gallander (Director of the Vodafone Foundation in Germany) was the speaker and facilitator for the training.
NGOs usually strive to put forward ideas for policy and a change in society, however, they can only succeed when their goals are recognized and understood by the public. Therefore, they need to be explained clearly through the news-media. To that end, NGOs should package their ideas into one of two main products that can be processed by journalists and editors:
- – the press release, which is written like an objective, and a factual report highlighting the new aspects of the idea and putting it into the larger political / social context
- – the article (often referred to as Op-Ed), which gives a strong, well-argued opinion about the idea and is supposed to be published under your own name – may it be in the New York Times or at huffingtonpost.com!
Offering these two products to the journalists does not guarantee that the news-media will cover it and that the respective idea will be readily embraced by the public. But it gives the NGO a fair chance to make its voice heard. To prepare the NGO for this, this workshop taught me the basic techniques of these two types of texts. At the same time, it aims helped us sharpen our writing skills overall. This course served to strengthen my sense of developing storylines and narratives that resonate with the public.
MWLW Social Worker