This article was written by the Dzien Dobry Belchatow team and lightly edited for length and clarity by IPI. Receive regular updates on IPI’s innovation and media sustainability work by subscribing to our newsletter, The Outlook: Media Innovation Unlocked.

Dzien Dobry Belchatow is an independent media start-up from Poland focusing on local digital news. During the incubator, we have developed dedicated tools to facilitate communication with their audience: a newsletter, live chat, tailored contact form, and voting system for new topics the outlet should cover. During the course of the project, our news organization almost doubled the number of unique users in the website.

When we started our adventure with the IPI Incubator, we did not have much experience in  international projects as a team, so it meant a completely new adventure for us. As it turned out, this was sometimes surprising!

>> Check the Dzien Dobry Belchatow website here

Lesson 1: Numbers matter, but only if there is an idea behind them

Having editorial and managerial experience – including in the marketing industry – we have previously worked a lot with KPIs. We already knew that numbers were very important, especially since we operate mainly on the Internet, where a lot of things can be measured and counted.

A major breakthrough for us was learning the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) methodology. In an instant, many things became clear! Numbers, without ideas, without context and without the “human element”, are just numbers. By themselves, most of the time they say nothing. And the old truth that KPIs are everything in business has become outdated. Learning to work with OKRs transformed our approach.

Lesson 2: Online media are not only websites

During the bootcamp in Vienna, we met a lot of journalists from Europe and had many inspiring conversations. It turns out that in order to create good, quality journalism, not only is it true that you don’t need a print newspaper (we’ve known this for 15 years), but you don’t even need a website(!).

The platform for your activities and providing valuable content may be an Instagram account itself. And instead of publishing articles, you can convey your content through images and videos. Journalism is now open to everyone.

Lesson 3: Listen to the younger ones (and the older ones too!)

Having 20 years of experience in journalism – starting from print media in the early 2000s – we met many people in the project and at the bootcamp who were not born when we started working in this industry. This proved to be a great experience. It turned out that we are more similar than you might think.

Journalists in their 20s have surprisingly good skills and they, in turn, were surprised by the fact that we, 40-year-olds, are not far behind them in terms of knowledge of  technology and the latest trends.

There are fewer differences between us now than in the times when some journalists clung to print and others bravely turned to the internet. In the current media landscape, we all work on the internet, which has equalized the level of our competencies and brought us closer.

Lesson 4: Great journalism also comes from contexts where it’s under extreme pressure

It was really inspiring to meet colleagues from Ukraine and others who had left Belarus. All of them do good work outside their countries, reporting for an audience from these regions despite the serious challenges and risks in doing so.

There were many opportunities for valuable conversations with journalists from media in very different contexts. Huge applause for IPI for supporting media initiatives of  people and teams who cannot work in journalism in their countries under normal conditions.

Lesson 5: Don’t be afraid of projects and collaboration

Your English skills are not as fluent as you would like? Fear of working in groups? Many years have passed since you last learned something new? No worries! The atmosphere in the incubator was great. This is not a competition and everyone there wants to help! In addition, you will gain great contacts that may result in further initiatives and projects.


Dzien Dobry Belchatow was one of the participants in IPI’s New Media Incubator, part of the Media Innovation Europe (MIE) project, co-funded by the European Commission. The programme is led by the International Press Institute, implemented in collaboration with Thomson Media, the Media Development Foundation and BIRN.