Nurturing Digital Journalism in Hamburg

The red brick building that hosts the Hamburg Media School is a former maternity hospital. Many Hamburgers start their lives here under the patient, gentle care of doctors and nurses.

In much the same way, 14 journalists from Eastern Europe came here to restart their professional lives with the help of experienced trainers at the Interlink Academy.
The participants are from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. Their backgrounds vary not only in terms of geography, but also in terms of experience and fields of expertise – from investigative journalism to travel reporting, from press to TV production, from local media to international agencies. Yet they all have something in common: a desire to upgrade their digital journalism skills and adjust to an era of smartphones.

The participating journalists pose for a group photograph on the first day of the course

“On the first day, we learned about publishing with WordPress. That is the basis, and I hope that later on we will learn how to do more complicated things that will really improve our skills in digital journalism”, said Mariia Rzaeva, Producer Special Projects at Bumaga, a newspaper in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Mariia admits that she is not so much interested in online writing, but would rather focus more on the structure of interactive narratives and discover new tools for multimedia storytelling.
Her compatriot, software developer turned IT journalist Igor Zubov, added that he had never worked with platforms like WordPress before, so he found the lesson very useful.
“I’m very impressed with the participants’ skills and knowledge and by what they already know and how curious they are”, said Interlink Director Werner Eggert. “I’m very pleased with the intelligent questions they ask.”
As Eggert pointed out on the day the participants arrived, the difference in their backgrounds gives them an opportunity to learn from each other, but also requires that they adjust to each other’s different pace of learning. On the first day, however, everybody seemed to absorb the new information so quickly that the trainers could teach more content, speeding up everyone’s progress.
To keep up the pace for the rest of the course, Werner Eggert asked all participants to adhere to three core principles: punctuality, passion and patience.
So prepare your minds for a deeper digital immersion!