NordBel Temporary Youth News Desk Digest 2021 – Young people taking the lead to support democratic development

Ung Media Sverige (Young Media Sweden), with foundings from the Nordic Council of Ministers

Project background:
A cornerstone in modern democracy is the freedom of speech and not least free media. For many years great efforts had been made to secure this in Europe and globally. The latest developments and changes in several countries demonstrate and remind us about that democracy is not something we can take for granted. This due to the rise of challenges in both the “old” western European countries, in some of the “new” post communist democracies, as well as the massive possibility to spread and receive free information through the internet and social media.

Project description:
The project took place online through Zoom. During two weekends we worked together in a youth driven, temporary news desk focusing on the question “How is it like for young people to have their voices heard in 2021?”. Participants from Sweden and Belarus made their own media productions and presented the results for the group and honorary guests. All material is published on the website Ung Press and on a new website.

Four young journalists/students from Sweden and four young journalists/students from Belarus.
Ung Media Sverige recruited the participants from Sweden.

– Saturday 30 January – Introduction, time for the participants to get know one another, and inspirational lectures from two honorary guests
– Weekend 6-7 February – Participants worked with their media productions and present the results for the group and the honorary guests

Media production:
The participants chose what kind of media production or journalistic project they wished to do – interviews and writing texts, filming an interview, photography, writing a debate article or whatever they’re interested in doing.
This method, a temporary news desk, is based on the participants being active and creative. They needed to be curious and be able to form their own questions. We wanted the participants to finish their work while working in the temporary news desk, in order to make sure that they finish what they have started and also to improve their ability to meet deadlines.
Participants from both Sweden and Belarus were provided a news desk coach. The coaches helped the participants to plan, create and finish their media productions. The Swedish participants worked with news desk coach Eleni Terzitane, journalist and communications manager at Ung Media Sverige.

Credibility is about objectiveness – not age!

“In this day and age, where the majority of young people get most of their information through social media and search engines, the practise of source-criticism and objectiveness becomes more important than ever. Engaging young people to care about politics and expressing their opinions, as well as listening to opposing opinions, becomes more important than ever in order to ensure a democratic future.”

Young journalist Kajsa Lidin from Sweden wrote a piece on ageism during NordBel Temporary News Desk Digest 2021.

Two participants conjoined and created an Instagram account, in which young people around the world are welcomed to speak on freedom of expression. The creators are Maja Andersson from Sweden and ”Y” from Belarus, who due to safety reasons will remain anonymous.