In the years following the Kosovo conflict in 1999 and even following the April 2013 dialogue agreement, reporting by Kosovar media about Serbia, and vice-versa, has been limited to strictly political themes, almost exclusively focused on status negotiations, conflict, and ethnic tensions. There has been scant coverage about the everyday struggles of average citizens in both countries, particularly regarding the issues that matter most, including challenges in education, health care, and economic growth.

Through the Media as a Means for Dialogue (MMD) project implemented by KosovaLive in Kosovo, supported by the United States Embassy in Kosovo and NUNS – Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia, supported by the United States Embassy in Belgrade  in Serbia, we strive to break down barriers of communication and mistrust between everyday citizens in Kosovo and Serbia by placing young, talented journalists in outlets on the other side of the border for two weeks. With time and access for reporting stories beyond the political topic du jour, participants will gain insight into many of the common challenges shared by both communities; a perspective that can engender greater empathy among distrustful communities. The program also seeks to build lasting relations between talented journalists and outlets, that should make it easier for media agencies in both countries to collaborate in the future.

The Young Journalist Exchange project will enable 15 young Kosovo journalists to report and write stories during a week-long stay with a host Serbian media organization in Belgrade. The project seeks to foster greater collaboration between journalists in Kosovo and Serbia, break down stereotypes, and promote coverage of stories that are going underreported. The project is envisioned to break down barriers of communication and mistrust between everyday citizens in Kosovo and Serbia by placing young, talented journalists in outlets on the other side of the border.

The output of the project will be published in print media, but also broadcast on radio and television. With time and access for reporting stories beyond the political topic du jour, participants will gain insight into many of the common challenges shared by both communities; a perspective that can engender greater empathy among distrustful communities. The program also seeks to build lasting relations between talented journalists and outlets, that should make it easier for media agencies in both countries to collaborate in the future.

See reporting stories here: Facebook-KosovaLive