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Rapid-reaction reporting amid disaster


Thanks to Sourcefabric, we have a modern, up-to-date news website that exceeds local boundaries. I’m looking forward to our future collaboration Darija Ranković, Editor-in-chief, Kolubarske

Kolubarske, an independent internet daily in the Kolubara district of western Serbia set out to provide independent coverage of their region and focus whenever possible on the positive. But record-breaking floods, landslides and a public state of emergency necessitated a change of plans.

The challenge

The Kolubarske offices are in the town of Valjevo. For seven days, the Kolubara river surged through streets and buildings, isolating neighbors and bringing ordinary life to a halt.

Serbian authorities announced a state of emergency three days before Kolubarske was to launch. The editorial team had already prepared most of their stories for the first day. They had to react quickly.

The solution

Sourcefabric developer Ljuba Rankovic had been working with the Kolubarske team in his free time (read his story here). When the disaster hit, Sourcefabric stepped in to provide Kolubarske with hosting and an instance of Sourcefabric Newscoop, our open-source CMS for news sites. We also contributed a Sourcefabric Live Blog instance, to let the journalists update stories in real time.




Launch day was a success. Readers started interacting immediately. “Congratulations! Here’s to a happy start and long life for the news site I’ve been hoping for!” one user wrote. “Bravo for the timeliness, conciseness and speed of your reporting,” wrote another.  

Darija Ranković

Darija Ranković

“Kolubarske has exceeded the expectations of Valjevo citizens,” Kolubarske's editor-in-chief Darija Ranković said. “Readers like the design and photography, and they’re happy to see a lot of short news articles.”

In the days following the launch, Kolubarske continued to cover the rescue and clean-up operations. Using Sourcefabric Live Blog, they provided real-time updates of the quickly changing conditions in and around Valjevo.

In the coming months, Kolubarske hopes to launch an online radio station and a print edition. The flood and recovery will continue to dominate Kolubarske coverage for months, but the journalists remain committed to finding positive stories, even amid so much destruction.

Sourcefabric is proud to have played a role in the launch of Kolubarske, and we're inspired by their passion and dedication.

Sourcefabric is committed to quality, independent journalism. Whether you work in an established media organisation or in small startup, we want your newsroom to last. The right tools can help you can build a sustainable news operation that will last.

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