Radiobubble/Hackademy will train 25 residents of northern Greece on the development of citizen media. This will enable the protest movement against ore mining in Halkidiki to bypass the media blackout on issues faced by locals and to challenge the image of this struggle in corporate media, in order to inform the rest of the country of the political and financial scandal, slow-motion environmental disaster and excessive police brutality that have come to rule people's lives. The 4-day workshop will be organised around a planned rally in order to include real-life coverage of a protest event.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Ierissos (Aristotelis municipality)
Describe the specific community with whom you will be working.
While internet access is widespread in the Halkidiki mining area, the number of residents who use social media for information purposes is limited. The anti-mining movement is thus dependent on a handful of individuals who are struggling to keep up with fast-paced developments and who often lack the ability to publicize important events in real time. Hackademy’s parent company Radiobubble, together with other citizen media, has been supporting the anti-mining movement with live coverage wherever possible, but faces its own set of limitations as it is Athens-based. The proposed workshop will raise the online profile of the protest movement by enabling residents to provide day-to-day coverage of events and to demand accountability from mining company Hellas Gold and local authorities.
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
Workshop participants will be trained to use Twitter and related sound, image and video-hosting services in order to provide real-time, quality citizen coverage of developments on the ground. This includes training on methods and principles of citizen journalism as well as specific technologies such as mobile hotspots to enable reporting from mountain/forest areas where internet access is otherwise limited. Live content will feed into existing local news blogs and websites as well as citizen media around the country, to provide reliable information to the public at large while challenging bias in mainstream media coverage. Furthermore, a training-of-trainers component will be incorporated in the workshop to enable participants to replicate it in their own communities.
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established that will contribute to the success of the project.
Radiobubble/Hackademy has already presented the project to the Coordination Committee against Ore Mining in Ierissos, who have embraced the idea and agreed to support its implementation. The Committee consists of representatives from all the local associations from Ierissos (e.g. Friends of the Environment, Cultural Association, Parent-Teacher Association, Hellenic Mining Watch etc.) and is in regular contact with similar committees in other villages of Halkidiki as well as in Kilkis and Thrace, two other regions of northern Greece that are targeted by mining projects but where the situation between residents and the mining companies is less tense so far.
How many participants do you think will be involved in your project?
The project will train 25 people, of which 20 are residents of the 16 villages of the mining area of Halkidiki, 2 residents of the Kilkis region and 3 from the areas targeted for mining in Thrace. The Coordination Committees of the various villages/regions will identify and invite participants to the workshop and ensure that all villages/locations are adequately represented. Training will be held in the afternoon/evening in order to enable people who have day jobs to attend. Participants should be computer-literate and own adequate equipment for mobile reporting (i.e. laptop/netbook, tablet, smartphone).
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
The training will focus on the use of Twitter, including the full array of audio, image and video-hosting services that can be used in conjunction with it for effective mobile reporting of live events. Hackademy’s parent company Radiobubble has been using Twitter to this effect for several years, developing #rbnews, the second most popular hashtag in Greece in 2012, which is being used by thousands of citizens to report live developments around the country. The Hackademy team consists of Radiobubble team members and volunteers of the wider online community who launched the Hackademy education programme in order to share this knowledge with professional and citizen journalists.
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
The workshop will be held in a hotel or a restaurant in Ierissos, both of which have large halls that can easily host 25 people and have 4Mbps ADSL and wireless. Participants will bring their own equipment (laptops, smartphones etc.) It must be noted however that most reporting is likely to take place in remote forest and mountain areas where internet access is limited. Hackademy members have evaluated mobile phone network coverage in various locations of the mountain and will include training on the use of adequate technologies such as mobile hotspots in the workshop to enable participants to tweet news under virtually any circumstances.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
Radiobubble/Hackademy team members and volunteers have been travelling regularly to Halkidiki since August 2012 to report on recent developments, support the anti-mining movement with live coverage of events and protests and conduct research on the political, financial and environmental scandal of ore mining in the region. Radiobubble has dedicated several radio shows and articles to this issue, and one Radiobubble team member is preparing a book on the history of mining companies and anti-mining protests in the area.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
Until recently, organizing this type of training in Halkidiki was expected to be fairly straightforward thanks to the availability of good communications infrastructure and strong coordination and information mechanisms within the local community. Recent developments since the arson attack on the Skouries mining site on 17 February have however led to intense police repression and multiple random detentions of environmental activists, particularly in the village of Ierissos which is at the centre of the protest movement. Hackademy and the Coordination Committees will monitor the situation closely to ensure that the training can take place without disruption.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
Hackademy will evaluate the achievements of the project through Radiobubble, whose team will monitor the availability of quality, reliable, real-time information on developments related to mining in Halkidiki and northern Greece on social media. Indicators include traffic originating from mining areas on the hashtags #Skouries and #rbnews, the availability of image, audio and video content to back up information, and the reproduction of this content by social media users from other parts of Greece as well as the incorporation of content generated by Twitter users trained through this workshop on Greek and international mainstream and citizen media. Hackademy will also maintain contact with trainees to follow-up on any further workshops conducted at the village level.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2013?
1-15 May: Adaptation to one three-day workshop of the Hackademy curriculum on Twitter, Citizen Journalism, Mobile Reporting and the Code of Conduct for Citizen Journalists (normally intended for 4 stand-alone workshops.)
10 – 20 May 2013: Selection of date, time and location of the workshop in collaboration with local Coordination Committees; selection of participants; other practical preparations.
June 2013 (exact date to be determined): 3-day training workshop, followed by live coverage of a local event, followed by a 1-day self-evaluation workshop.
July 2013 onwards: Monitoring of impact by the Radiobubble team, evaluation and reporting (to be completed by December 2013).
Detail a specific budget of up to $4,000 USD for operating costs.
Project coordinator USD 390
3 trainers * 4 days USD 624
Travel costs (4 people from Athens, 2 people from Kilkis and 3 people from Thrace, to Ierissos and back) USD 816.4
Accommodation/food (9 persons * 6 days) USD 1404
Workshop implementation costs (refreshments, stationeries) USD 455
Administrative costs (phones, consumables) USD 296.4
(Costs have been calculated at the exchange rate €1 = US$1.3)
Besides the microgrant funding, what other resources and support are you seeking for your project to ensure its success?
Rising Voices can ensure adequate cooperation between Global Voices, local activists and Greek citizen media such as Radiobubble and OmniaTV to promote the dissemination of media content developed at the grassroots level on the issue of ore mining in Halkidiki and northern Greece. This can be achieved by embedding a specific newsfeed in the Greek-language Global Voices page and ensuring that regular updates are posted and translated by Greek Global Voices contributors.