Ukrainian visitors will come to learn from 'Chronicle,' community

Ukraine's first issue of Nikolaevskie Novosti.

Five visitors are coming to Augusta today. The chief editor of the Ukrainian newspaper Nikolaevskie Novosti, two of his staff members and their translators will be in town for a week filled with seminars, presentations and cultural events.

These journalists are part of an exchange program run by IREX, a nonprofit that pairs U.S. media outlets with Ukrainian counterparts to improve the skills and processes for independent news outlets in that country.

This week is the return visit. The Chronicle recently sent Multimedia Chief Todd Bennett and Digital Devel­op­­ment Director Kim Lu­ciani to Mykolaiv, Ukraine, for a week of training.

“They were very enthusiastic about us being there,” Bennett said. “They wanted to learn as much as they could from us about how we produce a newspaper from start to finish and how it appears on the Web.”

There’s an inherent value in explaining what you do to someone else, and why you do it. It forces you to challenge your assumptions, your practices, your values. It helps separate what works from what doesn’t, and what is important from what is tradition.

“They do some things really well, especially with the small staff they have,” Luciani said. “They desperately need a new Web site, and they have a grant for that.

“The people were the highlight. The friendships that we made. They were so generous,” she said. “It was an amazing experience.”

Now, we are looking forward to matching that cultural experience.

Read about Todd and Kim’s travel at chronicle.augusta.com/blogs/through-viewfinder.

If you see our Ukrainian visitors around town, please show them some Southern hospitality.

Among the topics to be discussed during the visit: cooperation between print and online versions, ways to develop online resources, newsroom budgets, coverage of important political and sports events, infographics, access to public information and feedback from readers.

After last week’s column, I got dozens of e-mails, phone calls and letters that I can use as examples of reader feedback.

Your praise. Your criticisms. Your likes and dislikes. Your suggestions for additions. Your requests for subtractions.

It was a wonderful and thoughtful outpouring on what the paper means to you and your ideas to improve it. Thank you.

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