MediaNext: Heading Back to UkraineJuly 9, 2009
Well, looks like I’m on the Ukraine commute, as my friend, The Goat, pointed out. I’m heading back to Ukraine today to do another set of New Media trainings with Internews-Ukraine. For the most part, these will be the same trainings. Just some tweaks here and there. The big difference is we are hitting new cities. The first will be in Kyiv, like before, but will draw in some journalists and NGOs from Vinnytsya. Then, we head to Odesa for two days on the beach, um, I mean, trainings. Finally, to Kharkiv.
I can’t decide which I am more excited about. Odesa or Kharkiv. I’ve been to Odesa before. But it’s Odesa. On the Black Sea. And this time, it will be July, instead of March. Or April. Or whenever I was there with my wife in 2006. Should be a lot more fantastic. Though, Odesa’s a pretty cool city, regardless. So it wasn’t like it was terrible before. Even when it is cold, hey, you are still at the beach, right?
But then, I am also going to Kharkiv for the first time. I’ve heard good things about this Kharkiv. Big city. Big square. Lots of young people. Vibrant. Progressive. New city for me. What’s not to be excited about. In many ways, I was most excited about hitting Donetsk last time around. I’m a “go somewhere new” person, as opposed to a “go somewhere you’ve kinda worn out” person.
I think these trainings will see improvement over the last. My first, and most significant proposal, was that we cut some of the tools we were teaching, and give more time to the big ones. Less is more approach. So, podcasting got dramatically cut down to more of a fifteen minute demonstration, in which we will basically say, “Yeah, this is like YouTube. Here’s your tool, podfm.ru, and here’s some facts about podcasting”. Skype got dropped completely. We spent a lot of time teaching a tool that could be taught with a simple ten step how-to instruction sheet. Teaching any tool in a group, and having them use it, adds a LOT of time to teaching it. I felt that what we lost in other more powerful tools was greater than what we gained in teaching Skype.
So, that means blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are all getting more of the focus in this training. The first two tools will get two full hours of instruction. And, there will be more activities and team building, using these tools, as requested.
Overall, I think we simplified these trainings in a way that will really help people get more out of them. It’s hard to learn a lot of tools at once, no matter how advanced you are. Less is more, in my opinion.
Most significantly, I think Facebook will get the biggest boost out of this. We should be able to get to teaching how to create a Facebook Page, which we really didn’t get to last time, and I think is one of the things that makes Facebook much more useful for journalists and NGOs. I haven’t written yet about what we trained on Facebook, and how that went. Just about the maelstrom that the slow Internet in Lviv unleashed upon that training’s Facebook session. I still plan to write about Facebook. It’s a pretty amazing tool, and deserves its own space here.
But first, I have to make it to Ukraine. As Vitaliy colorfully notes when he introduces me at trainings, I don’t love flying. I’m willing to do it, because I love going to other countries, meeting new people, showing them how to use cool things like Web 2.0 tools.
Especially Ukraine, my home away from home. And apparently, my new commute.
Author’s Note: This is part of a series of posts on my experiences doing New Media trainings with Internews-Ukraine in June and July 2009, as part of their MediaNextinitiative, in partnership with European Journalism Centre. These views are my own, and do not reflect those of Internews-Ukraine or European Journalism Centre. Just so we’re clear on that.
Photo 1: Freedom Square in Kharkiv. Courtesy of Shmuliko.