Prizni - The Untold Stories of the Bulgarian Northwest
The Northwest region of Bulgaria provides only 31% of the European living standard. People are forced to depart in search of better lives, leaving behind ghost villages. This apocalyptic story is what most of the media outlets report - a true, but unforgivably incomplete picture. The negative news has contributed to the destruction of the region and the rise of collective hopelessness. Our project aims to give back the dream for a bright future to the region by telling its positive stories.
Northwest Region of Bulgaria
Our project faces the danger of the one-sided story about Northwest Bulgaria. By creating and maintaining an online media for only positive news and inspiring stories from the region we want to recover the balance and show that the coin has two sides. Moreover, we aim to fundamentally change the image of the region – for the people outside like investors and tourists, but mostly for the local community. We believe that if people get exposed to real stories for success, prosperity, and hope, this will influence their self-confidence and the quality of life in the region will improve in turn. By changing the narrative and exposing the good we want to change the future of our community.
The general target group of the project is the population of the Northwest region of Bulgaria with access to the Internet. According to EUROSTAT in the region 742.304 people of which 66% are connected. The content of Prizni.bg is curated in such a way that many different groups of people find something inspiring to read. The demographic data shows that our audience covers readers between 18 to 65 years old, while the most dominant group is 25-44 years old (44%). It’s no surprise that our stories touch people in active age, who are willing to be entrepreneurial, who seek personal and professional development, who need the most to be dreamers and to find a reason to stay in their hometowns. We aim to expand this group.
- Regular, high quality, positive and inspiring content published on the website
- Periodical community forums/TED like-events, round tables, and webinars inviting the game changers/community leaders in Northwest Bulgaria, aiming at building a network of active people in the area and working together to create a new positive narrative through their personal stories and successes
- Expanding our web of content contributors and authors from the region (10 for the moment), so we can make sure all the voices are heard
- Creating an online community hub for active people and entrepreneurs to encourage them to share their success stories and help each other out
- The first podcast made in/about Northwest Bulgaria is already a fact and we plan to continue experimenting and trying new media formats and innovative channels
- We also work indirectly to improve the media education and literacy
- Offering the young artists, unpopular musicians, photographers, who are beyond the reach of the regional media, a platform to be noticed
- We present topics that are beyond the scope of other media in the Northwest - environmental news, including zero waste, nature conservation, return of biodiversity, cultural and entrepreneurial success stories, personal development, unpopular tourism opportunities, and more.
Quantifiable - Our main goal is to expand the audience on the website and its social media accounts. Since the launch of the idea, we wrote 1000 positive articles and have organically reached 66 000 people. About 20% of them became regular readers and accumulated nearly 150 000 page views. We aim to increase these numbers at least 3 times.
Qualitative - The ultimate goal is to fundamentally change the perception about the region both for the people living there but also for the “outsiders” who neglect the place. In this way, we hope to better the quality of life, improve the self-confidence of the locals and nurture an entrepreneurship culture. In other words, to turn the Northwest of Bulgaria from the saddest and poorest place in the EU into a place of hope and unexplored opportunities.
Each of our activities, especially content creation, is focused on showing by example that good life in the Northwest of Bulgaria is possible. The main problem is that the community is exposed to negative information which only fosters inaction and pessimism. Therefore, people are uninterested to participate in social activities, to start business, to seek and create opportunities. However, it’s not enough to only vocalize that we need to be active citizens, sometimes we need to show how it’s done. Our website sheds light on positive activities, good news, successful stories that are underreported and offers inspiration, educational materials, and workshops to make sure that there is an optimistic but also real proof for every pessimist.
Vesselina Foteva is a journalist, entrepreneur, and communication professional with 12 years of experience in Bulgarian and international projects. She was born in Montana, Northwest of Bulgaria - https://www.linkedin.com/in/vesselinafoteva/
Liliya Hristova is a journalist, freelancer, and mediator with more than 8 years of experience. She was born and raised in Sofia but has roots are in the Northwest of Bulgaria.
Nelly Naydenova is a journalist, communication, and PR expert and freelancer with more than 15 years of experience in the media and NGO sector. She has worked for a number of environmental organizations and is involved in nature protection initiatives. Her roots however always bring her back to her home in Montana. https://www.linkedin.com/in/nelly-naydenova-6039b5ba
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Content creators (production of articles, videos, design, and podcasts) - 21 000 EUR
Servers, domain, IT support - 5 000 EUR
Budget for online advertising - 3 000 EUR
Costs for the organization of 3 events (online and physical, if possible) - 5 000 EUR
Travel and accommodation costs - 1000 EUR
If you have similar experience or have worked with a community facing similar problems, please let us know what your learnings were.