ABU/Prix Jeunesse in-country workshop in Mongolia
Conducted by Hyunsook Chung on 11-12 October
For the last three years the Covid pandemic has made it impossible to hold international in-person media workshops in Mongolia – as in many other countries. So as soon as the country re-opened its borders this summer there was an ABU initiative, supported by Prix Jeunesse and Korea’s EBS, to hold a workshop on How to create quality content for young audience at Mongolian National Public Radio and Television (MNB) as a contribution to Mongolian media development. MNB’s Director General, Burenbaatar, opened the workshop by declaring 2022/23 to be “a year of learning and development” for his staff.
The 2-day workshop on October 11 and 12 was attended by around 30 MNB content creators. These were engaged participants who threw themselves enthusiastically into discussions and were eager to watch and to learn. We screened programmes mostly provided by Prix Jeunesse suitcase.
A noteworthy feature of this workshop was the participation of not only children’s programme producers but also of producers from departments making current affairs and cultural programs. The thinking here was that the three main themes of the workshop – narrative construction, visual storytelling, and effective use of music – apply equally to all kinds programming, whatever the audience. The mix of people from different content areas, from very experienced to very junior and with a wide range of content-making skills, made for an excellent exchange of ideas and lively, open-minded discussion. Participants were keen to think about how to raise the creative and professional level of their output.
Perhaps the most animated discussion followed screenings of MNB’s own programme, Love, which was on the PJ 2022 final list, and of the German documentary Maxim the Greatest, also from this year’s suitcase: participants were excited to think about how to tell realistic, engaging, empowering stories about children whose differences mean they must struggle with discrimination.
In-country workshops like this one are important training resources, especially in places where budgets and language barriers make it difficult for producers to attend training abroad. The MNB workshop participants were able to talk freely in their own language, with support from experienced MNB colleagues who also spoke English; in this regard, it was invaluable to have the MNB producers Ariunjargal and Batzorig involved in the event.
Senior MNB managers who attended as observers fed back that the workshop discussions had helped them to think about the kind of programmes that were needed in Mongolia.