Stabilization. That would be the number one word to describe all our activities in the past year. As a young organization, we focused on taking our idea from the“project phase” into making it happen. Our biggest success is that exactly. I felt the need to write about it because it is hard for an outsider to notice. It will all come into life and the public eye in time as we continue to operate within all the frameworks we have developed in 2018.
Here is what we focused on:
- surrounding ourselves with people who have more experience in various areas then us — so we build our Advisory and Supervisory Board,
- we came up with Rules for Cooperation and Rules for External Authors, our mission, values or brand identity,
- we understood in detail what we do, what we want to do and we shouldn’t do — and according to this we have created 4 areas of our work which we focus on: our publication outride.rs, Outriders Network, Outriders Studio, and Wachlarz. I describe them all below. All of them are interconnected and support one another. They also bring us four different business legs and… stabilise the whole operation.
- we let go of unsuccessful initiatives that were slowing us down,
- we developed contracts, accounting policies — and all that “boring but essential stuff”,
- and… we have been through good and bad moments as a team becoming a powerful team.
However, stabilisation was not the goal. It was a mean — to grow. Also, 2019 will be all about it. Before we take off — let’s take a look at what we have done in the last 12 months.
- we started Outriders Brief — our magazine distributed through email once a week,
- The brief was published 47 times and included 416 notes in it
- we published new interactive stories: Deep Breath, The Line, The Gorani, The Luggage, Clean Water, World 2017,
- we started alpha version of Migration Monitor,
- reporters from China and Turkey joined our team, and we have begun posting regular updates and articles from those countries,
- we developed new editorial policy, rules for cooperation with authors,
- mission and vision of outride.rs,
- we changed our dispatches into multimedia articles,
- we developed a strategy and started building a tool for listening to our readers
So to summarise — we tested, experimented, developed new projects, some we decided to abandon. However, we used all that knowledge to come up with the framework for our further work. Moreover, we welcome 2019 with an open call for the rapid growth of our newsroom. You can apply here.
The Network is our knowledge sharing platform for journalists and reporters to help them develop betters stories.
We publically kickstarted all activities in late September 2017 taking the idea from paper into action. Before that, we already worked on three different projects which resulted in the publication of articles and stories in various media outlets.
In 2018 we:
- organized the first edition of Outriders Summit,
- hosted 2 Meetups — in Warsaw and Bucharest,
- plus one unofficial one in Taipei,
- started a group on Facebook for journalists and storytellers,
- started the Solutions Journalism project in Poland with Ashoka and Solutions Journalism Network — through which we held two workshops and two open meetings. You can now check out the Polish version of the Solutions Journalism toolkit here,
- with FRIK Foundation we organized training in multimedia reporting which will result in producing three interactive stories,
- with Lviv Media Forum we sent two journalists to Ukraine to allow them to work on their stories.
The Studio is our “place” where we support other organizations that wish to support and do projects around journalism. We use our know-how to help them achieve their goals.
- we run Inicjatywy Po Stronie Natury. The 10-month-long initiative which gave grants to environmental projects.
- together with Lviv Media Forum produced the second edition of Compass in Lviv
- for TechSoup Europe, we prepared a 6 episode season of podcasts called Megaphone
- around Megaphone, we also produced two movies about civic activists
Wachlarz is a community-oriented platform for reporters and travelers. Established in 2013 we successfully embedded it into Outriders and realigned its mission to work within the organization. For a while, we thought what to do with this project, whom does it serve and where we should go with it. I was afraid given our 100% focus it may be a casualty, but it naturally fell into supporting our activities yet maintain it’s own independence.
In 2018 we have:
- organized four community meetups in Poznań, Bielsko Biała, Łódź and Katowice
- hosted 5th edition of the Festival Wachlarz which gathered over 450 people and 16 greats speakers
- rebooted all social media channels with an updated visual identity
There was more, but in November we let go of the things that were keeping us back to focus on what works. And I am so proud of this year cause I know and feel where all that work will take us. Even if we wanted to speed some things up — it was just so rational and mature. So now we can go crazy.
Have a wonderful 2019!