Developing public journalism: advice for local media outlets
A new manual just published with the title “Public Journalism: local self-government, public participation and professional media standards” is aimed at helping journalists not only better understand the real situation and problems of local self-government in Ukraine, but to improve their professional skills in covering such issues. The guidelines were prepared by specialists in the sphere of local self-government and media professionals, and are the concluding phase of an educational program “Public journalism” within the framework of the project “Holos hromadskosti” [“Public Voice”]. The project has been financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and implemented by the World Bank, PADCO and the International Centre for Policy Studies.
The development of Ukrainian local self-government is dependent not only on political and economic processes, but also on the level of public awareness and participation. It is here that journalists have an enormous role to play.
The public need independent journalists with initiative, able to form their own policy and interest their readers, listeners or viewers with high-quality material. Journalists of local media outlets should provide their audience with information which is of interest to them not only as Ukrainian citizens, but also as residents of a particular area.
Trust in the mass media will rise noticeably if journalists can show a deep level of understanding of the real mechanisms for participation by the public in local self-government, and can also fully realize their particular role in this process.