Diary of a Content Academy No. 2

Blog - Oct 10, 2019

The colleague from Sarajevo continues to share her impressions from the Content Academy, which also started in Belgrade on October 05. Since you’ve obviously liked Part 1, we are reporting on her full story from Sarajevo, after the second lecture:

When you think that it can’t get any better, another Saturday comes, with another lecture at the Content Academy, where you get to meet Damir Šagolj. So I read about him. He won a Pulitzer, twice. And I know that it’s the most distinguished recognition, but until now I’ve had no opportunity, except for some interviews, to listen to a story from the other side of an objective, not to mention learn from that man. “Each one is worth of gold” – and this goes for both photos and words. At first, I thought it was me, but when I looked around, I realised that other participants were as hypnotised as I was.

A story should never be a performance, it’s enough on its own – says he, and it applied to this lecture as well. No additional performance was needed because his work and knowledge were more than sufficient.

When someone with that much experience tells you a story about his mistakes, you lose that feeling of knowing everything or being ashamed if there’s something you don’t know. You just start soaking in everything.

We are exposed to about 1200 photos, namely messages served to us a day. How to stand out from that crowd? How to make your content different from more than 1000 other copies?

We have only 20 seconds of our readers’ attention and a photo plays an important role. Perhaps it’s the first catch that will make readers stop and read related content. But, a photo has to match content and be objective.

And that’s where we get to a real test. How to be objective? How to find the right balance between attractive and precise? More often than not, eager to be different and grab attention, we fail that test. We reach for attractive and end up in extremes. Damir provided a great example using a photo of how we “twist reality” without even realising it. If we read an article about a pre-election gathering of an extremist political party, we usually see photos of those from the front rows, who are most extreme and aggressive, those who yell. And perhaps there are another 1000 people in the same room who sit and listen. And vice versa. For a CSR event, you’ll see photos of smiling, smart-looking people. However, is it the actual reality of both events or just a segment that associates us the most to such an event?

We live in highly dynamic times, so the click craze and fake news have contributed to realising the very absurdity of such approach and seeing people increasingly reaching for credible content, and we are credible only if we are objective.

Hmmm… congratulations to everyone who hasn’t failed this test at least once while creating content.
So far, I’ve not given much thought to photos that can communicate a message on its own. Eager to show what I want, I’ve also gone to extremes and presented only bits of reality.

It’s interesting how Damir, in his own original way, explains how to multiply a story we’re telling or content we’re creating with aesthetics and high-quality visual content in order to add up to its significance.

It’s true that we’re lagging behind the West and that some examples seem inapplicable in our region. Sometimes it’s difficult to “sell” brilliant ideas in our market.

– It’s difficult, and perhaps even impossible to change gears gradually to get to the highest one, but it doesn’t mean that we won’t circle around and park because in that case the machine definitely won’t start – said he and proved it. I wouldn’t add a thing, just ponder about it all.

Stay tuned….



Nina Zubović

News Editor (Represent Communications, Sarajevo)

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