How to run a successful journo project & not to go crazy: A guide from Media Boost 2.0

By Anna Romandash

It’s been very busy with Media Boost 2.0. In less than three months, we ran twenty workshops, got 6,000+ people registered for our events, and streamed around 400 hours of training viewed more than 200,000 times.

These are some impressive numbers, and I am happy to share them. Media Boost 2.0 turned out to be a success?

Now, what’s the story behind it?

Let’s start with a few intro facts.

Media Boost 2.0 is a crash course. Very intense, very diverse, and very fun, actually. It’s a digital school or a classroom — whichever you prefer, — directed at journalists.

The big idea behind Media Boost 2.0 is to empower journalists in Ukraine and beyond — by giving them the right digital skills and showing them how to use those in their work.

The point is to guide media makers in the right direction whether you’re struggling to raise funds for your project, trying to engage the audience better, or looking for ways to produce popular multimedia content.

From September to November, we have organized 20 digital meetings with Media Boost 2.0. We had Ukrainian and international experts talk about practical digital skills which are crucial for media managers, journos, and comms people nowadays. We did not focus only on one topic and rather, covered a huge sector ranging from podcasts to streaming, from SEO to subscription models, and from grants to newsletters.

In the end of the project, we got these really flattering results like 6000+ registrations, huge number of views (200,000+), and overwhelmingly positive feedback from the participants (150+ responses and emails with good words).

So, how did we get there?

1. We actually knew why we’re doing this

When I first headed the project, I had a clear image of the ideal participant in my head. I knew what this person needed, so I had to create a course and a digital experience to meet these expectations.

Throughout the process, my team and I actually interviewed a lot of journalists/media makers to get a better understanding of the necessities and solutions. Once we listed the top problems for the media sector, we worked our way toward the solutions.

2. We listened, learned, and adapted

I made sure we reply to emails and have good two-way communication: with the partners, speakers, and the audience. That way, we were always adjusting our content to the newest feedback. We made it easy for everyone to reach myself and the team — and thanks to this, our project email is still a fun mess :) (But again, we’re sending our replies and don’t ignore anyone)

We had diverse communication channels, too — but always with a focus on those mostly used by our audience

3. We had great partners — and we’re making new ones

We’ve got a great company to begin with — Media Boost 2.0 is organized by DCN in partnership with America House Kyiv and with the support from the US Embassy in Ukraine. Throughout the project, we have used the partnership to share content, boost what needs to be boosted, target diverse audiences, and generate ideas together.

Along the way, we made some new friends and new partners — organizations and individuals willing to promote our work whose values align with ours. Turns out, digital journalism is a dear topic to many!

4. We communicate visually

We have had a lovely newsletter, cool videos & podcasts, and fun visual invites to our events. People like those. Don’t underestimate the power of good storytelling — but always add something pretty to look at :)

5. We schedule (and sometimes reschedule)

Chaos and lack of organization are the worst enemies of any project — especially when we’re talking about something like Media Boost 2.0 where the team is super international, and where everything is online. Communications plan, project plan, deadlines — these things are kinda obvious, so they have to be practical and doable

6. We don’t freak out

Media Boost 2.0 has had its little incidents: some of our speakers got sick, had no connection, were on a planet X… We had some technical issues, some scheduling issues, some programming issues…You know, the usual.

We never freaked out though — small things happen, and bigger things happen, too. It’s good to have a Plan B, and a Plan C sometimes; have alternative solutions & a good sense of humor.

7. We care

I care a great deal about digital journalism. I believe in free and independent media that know how to monetize their work through transparent business models.

The entire team behind Media Boost 2.0 is, not surprisingly, just as passionate. So creating a digital course that’s intense and rewarding was not merely a project to complete — we all had a vision of an initiative with a purpose.

I think it helped greatly to have a local team mixed with a bunch of international folk so we had the diversity, and we had the expertise.

And what I am missing?

Well, there is a happy ending, of course — the project is completed, & the community is better prepared for digital work.

You don’t have to believe me on all of these points — I am always up for constructive feedback.

Tell me your experience with Media Boost 2.0!

Perhaps, you’ll help me and the team with our next project — we’re already taking notes :)

Anna Romandash




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