A close up shot showing a woman’s hands writing on a note pad with a mobile phone to the right on the table

Jovana Radivojević worked at an online news outlet in Serbia as part of her four-month traineeship. Here she writes about why she applied for the programme and what she learnt:

My experience being a trainee

At the beginning of every young and ambitious person’s career, support is essential. That’s something that gives wind in one’s sails. As part of the Media for All programme, BIRN provided an opportunity for twelve people from the Western Balkans to have a unique chance to learn from the best and to work with the best. To my great satisfaction, I am one of the people who got this great opportunity.

Meeting the organisers, lecturer and other participants from the region was an invaluable experience for me. The two-week online training was interactive, fun, educational, and inspiring. In the beginning, the trainer, Matt Robinson reminded us of the basic principles of the news structure, how to use quotes from interviewees. We had challenges from our lecturer every day. It was a way to get to know each other, to work together and solve journalistic obstacles in our work. Matt reminded us every day that the job of journalists is in the public’s service and how important it is to adhere to the ethical rules of journalism as a profession. I will always remember his words “Your job is to ask!”

I was surprised and delighted with how enthusiastically my colleagues from the region approached this project. I felt like I was a part of a team, like a part of an editorial office that does one of the most responsible jobs these days.

The training helped me a lot for what followed, a four-month internship at the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia (CINS). My mentor is Vladimir Kostić, the editor of fast news at CINS. It means so much to me to feel that they selflessly give me knowledge, solidarity, collegiality, understanding, and most importantly – professionalism. My mentor designed some training for me to build on what we learnt in the first two weeks; I am upgrading my knowledge because it is essential to keep learning new things. For a start, it was good for me to understand how the newsroom, where I work as a practitioner, functions, and what the rules are. I learned from my mentor and colleagues how to graphically present what I'm talking about, how to make the best use of the internet advanced search function, how to use Word Press to publish news, how to write a request to an institution to view documents, and what is important for the safety of journalists.

My first task in the newsroom was to write my first story. The advice and support of mentors and other colleagues helped me a lot so that I could inform our audience by writing an objective article. With these first steps in CINS, I believe that I will make a lot of progress and learn very much by the end of the internship. This practice is precious and important for me to continue my career.

I am glad that there are those who recognise the potential of young people and think that it is never a mistake to invest in them for a better society that will nurture and fight for values such as freedom, equality, justice and truth.

My basic motive is to realise my dream and be an impartial and objective journalist who works in the public interest, respecting the ethical norms of this profession. The Media for All programme has enabled me to work on it and be step closer to my goal.”