Takeaways from first Outriders Meetup in Bucharest

Our first official Meetup is now behind us. Another one after our Summit which opened all Outriders Network activities we hit the road. First stop in Taipei was a bit crazy (g0vtech Summit), and then immediately we went to Romania. In between two events  —  Code for All and The Power of Storytelling, we hosted our meeting for journalists.

As always, the plan was to cultivate an open sharing culture among journalists and thus lead to having better stories developed. We felt that in Europe and all around the world, many similar minded reporters try to think the other, new, way. The first meetup confirmed our thoughts.

We saw a lot of potential for replication, comments and when I was sitting in the after place talking to many people, I got new ideas, critics and inspiration. From comments submitted by participants — I see it was a similar feeling.

And that is awesome. For so many months Network was only on paper and when the project finally leaves the stage “we think” into “we know” — it’s cool. We have nine meetups ahead of us — so we have room to finalise the concept of single gathering and how we interact with the local community at the same time staying global.

Last Thursday, we were joined by two amazing speakers — Madalina Ciobanu and Dimitris Xenakis. I also spoke, but I was just okay 😉

Here is what they left us with:

Madalina Ciobanu from European Journalism Centre


  • Engaged journalism puts the community at the centre of a news organisation and treats journalism as a conversation between media and audience.
  • The reason why the media do not engage their readers is the fact that users are not used to a two-way relationship, sometimes they don’t understand it. Another reason is those small organisations don’t have time to study and use tools and case studies that can be used to make media more engaging
  • Some news organisations believe that you as a journalist have to work with your readers continually (in social media, on personal webpage reporting what you are currently working on and why) and this is a part of the journalist’s contract. It increases trust.
  • One of a French news organisation does a public newsroom in a different place each month where the local community can participate and talk to journalists. It is an opportunity to get feedback and story ideas.
  • You can’t be useful in getting money from people without telling them who you are, what you do, and why you do it, how you work and how you spend their money.

Dimitris Xenakis from InsideStory


  • It is necessary to engage readers if you want to rebuild trust. They are more willing to pay for stories if they are aware of the whole process of creating it. — When one starts understanding the mechanism, realise what are the issues there, what’s happening, then starts believing in what he or she is seeing and reading.
  • It’s not enough to focus only on readers, but also on journalists and connect them both.
  • Inside Story started organising open editorial meetings -#YourStory: On one hand, journalists were listening to readers ideas for their own story with a mentor — journalist. On the other hand, readers were involved in every stage of the working process. As a result, readers were more engaged and satisfied.
  • Engaged members are more keen to recommend your story, as friends recommendation is one of the three most effective ways to gain a new member, next to social media and weekly newsletter.

Jakub 🙂

  • When you want to start a newsletter, and becomes a successful one  —  think of an email as a platform to use.
  • Think about everything that you hate about newsletters  —  little information, being forced to click back, spammy character, etc.  — and don’t do it.
  • Newsletters provide direct, uninterrupted by any algorithm, contact with your community.
  • Sending out an email is like printing magazine  —  once you hit the send button, there is no going back. You cannot update a story within a second; it stays there forever  —  fact checking is super important.
  • Curating original stories through a newsletter is one of the best ways to build a community. It is not the easiest one —  as it takes a lot of time to produce a good magazine.

What’s next?

Meetup in Warsaw

Our next Meetup will be held in Warsaw on November 6th and followed by Athens in December 2019.

Join our group to stay in touch!

This Meetup was organised with a lot of help from Romanian journalists and NGOs. Our huge thanks go to Elena and Cosmin Pojoranu from Funky CitizensCristian Lupsa and Laura from The Power of Storytelling as well as Olivia Vereha from Code for Romania. The venue was provided by amazing Scena9.

Thank you!