A closing conference of “Post-Floods Reconstruction – Support to Research Journalism” project was held at Mediacentre in Sarajevo. On that occasion, journalistic research stories made during the project were presented, along with a discussion on the position of research journalism in BiH media surroundings in general.
The “Post-Floods Reconstruction – Support to Research Journalism” project, implemented together by the Mediacentre Sarajevo and Transitions, was realised from December 2014 to October 2015 and it provided a total of 7 individual scholarships to journalists from different BiH media. The research work was based on production of stories on governmental activities and institutions in the period during and after the floods in 2014, with particular emphasis to cash flows donated for reconstruction after the floods and possible misuses in distribution of aid for the flooded areas.
The journalist Danica Joki?, one of the users of the scholarship, who published two stories as a part of the project, stated that during the research of the material the greatest problem was the unavailability of the proper information. “The difficulties I encountered during my work on the stories reflect in the fact that official information were difficult to obtain. Off the record, people were ready to say many things, but if everything was recorded and if one would ask for certain evidence, then the situation was presented differently. When you start reseaching for a story and asking why something was not done, there are always answers such as “It’s not our fault, it’s someone else’s”. And then you go to that someone else, they send you to a third party, who once again has no answer. So you spin around in a circle, because you cannot acquire correct information, and that is time-consuming.”
The aim of the project was to provide reliable information on the efforts of reconstruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the disastrous floods that struck the region in May 2014, and caused an estimate of $2.7 billion of damage in BiH alone. Although research journalism is a significant segment in similar exceptional circumstances that a certain society encounters, there is still a great need for its continuous incorporation in the media landscape of our country. This is, unfortunately, not the case in practice.
By the end of the project, the journalists produced a total of 13 stories with visualisations, photo and video features. The teams of Mediacentre and Transitions provided support to journalists in the form of consultations (mentorship), technical support and training in the area of data journalism. The stories were published in a special section of the MC Online portal, and in traditional and online media.
The event was attended by Selma Suljevi? from the Institute for Youth Development KULT that is a part of the BRANA Network.