Balkan Public Service Media visit DW News and ZDF

 © Philipp Boll/DW

Bonn, Mainz (14-20 April, 2024) - As part of the European Union (EU) Program “Innovation. Media. Minds.: Support to Public Service Journalism in Western Balkans” managed by the Goethe Institut on behalf of the European Commission and its implementing partner DW Akademie representatives from six Western Balkan public service media completed a week-long visit to  DW News headquarters in Bonn and ZDF in Mainz from 14 – 19 April 2024.

Media professionals from RTS (Belgrade), RTV (Novi Sad), RTCG (Podgorica), BHRT (Sarajevo),  RTSH (Tirana), and RTK (Pristina) learned about benefits and challenges in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in journalism, especially in combining it with Search Engine Optimization (SEO, how to improve audience reach, with special focus on youth, multilingual program production, regulation, metrics and analytics, emerging topics and different media practices. Western Balkan media professionals learned from top DW Akademie and ZDF experts how to improve workflows, adapt to global digital development, improve their social media platforms and develop new formats. 

Participants highlighted the importance of learning about different use of AI. “We had lots of discussion on public media services in the Balkans. Most interesting topic was AI and we are eager to see how it will help us in content production”, said Bora Xhanija, Director of RTSH Programming Department.

This was echoed by Edis Deljkovic, Head of BHRT Multimedia who emphasized the importance of AI especially for social networks and web since they do not have it in their public broadcasting service, also adding the importance of “learning about the audience measurement for web and social networks because we do it with google analytics and now we know about other means to do so”.

“This study visit was a great initiative, because I had an opportunity to learn from social media experts, how to use AI, increase engagement of our audience and develop strategies for different kind of platforms”, said Jelena Milutinovic, Head of RTCG Social Networks.
The Goethe-Institut and DW Akademie joined forces with Public Service Media (PSM) entities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia to work together on innovative tools and cooperative approaches to enhance production and effectively engage audiences. By involving top and middle management, journalists (with a focus on nurturing young professionals), technical staff, and most significantly, wide audience, the IMM Program aims to support PSMs to be successful on the media market.

Over the next two and a half years, the Program is supporting broadcasters across the Western Balkans by providing grants for innovation projects, regional co-production, international mobility and independent investigative media that work with PSMs. In addition, public service media will receive tailored workshops and consultations, as well as take part in innovation labs and specialized conferences. Key beneficiaries are citizens, i.e. overall current and potential audiences, journalists, and policy makers.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244