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Ryan Broderick - You Can Tell a Story in a Million Ways
Ryan Broderick during his talk at the 2018 Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change
Ryan Broderick - You Can Tell a Story in a Million Ways
Stephanie Quon 
Ryan Broderick started his career at BuzzFeed writing stories about memes and breaking international news. Now, as deputy global news director of BuzzFeed, Broderick continues to report on ongoing and convoluted international events stemming from online connections and engagement. “That’s like every single story right now,” says Broderick. “It’s just some insane crazy thing that has no geographical borders because the internet is bringing weird people together.”  Given the complexity and interconnectedness of international stories, Broderick offers a new perspective on what makes an important story. He explains “the old guard” of international reporting focuses on large formal events while the new guard focus more so on covering a story while it is in motion, building engagement through various social media platforms. The ability to adapt to different reporting styles is also telling of the interests and participation of audiences in modern storytelling. “Our generation has a lot of more interest in street-level protesting and political movements and human storytelling,” Broderick says. “People want context; they want to understand why people care about this stuff; they want to hear from people. It’s a very different… philosophy.” Broderick was a guest scholar for this year's Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. During his time here, Salzburg Global spoke with Broderick about his experiences at BuzzFeed and his perspective on the current state of journalism. This Q&A with Broderick has been edited for length and clarity. Salzburg Global: You’ve spent six years at BuzzFeed, and already there’s been a lot of change. What are some of the biggest changes in terms of your job and BuzzFeed’s presence online? Ryan Broderick: I would say very little is the same from when I started to now. I’d say in six years my job is totally different; my point of view on the world is totally different; I think BuzzFeed’s idea of itself is totally different. When I started, we had a small beginning news operation. The big idea was: do some politics, write a few news stories… lists and quizzes and fun articles and blog posts and just have a good time and make stuff people want to share. Over the last six years, every time we’ve come up against a thing where we’re like, ‘Oh we’ve never done this before,’ instead of saying ‘Well, let’s not do it,’ we’ve just said, ‘Well, let’s try it’… We invest in things that we find interesting and we’re not afraid to scrap stuff we don’t. SG: You were asked about the launch of BuzzFeed News’ stand-alone website. Why is it important that there’s a distinction between this and other features of the website? RB: In this new really hyper-competitive, hyperintense media world, the need for kind of saying to people, ‘This is a news story, this is factual, this is non-fiction, this is real, this isn’t fun’ was worth doing, and it was worth making that distinction for people. And I think it’s a good idea, but it makes me upset that a lot of the reaction to it has been by like - I saw a journalism professor tweet, ‘I’ve been telling my students for years that this was a good idea. Finally, BuzzFeed is respectable!’ Like, f**k off. Seriously, if you can’t handle the fact that your news article is touching a story for a young woman in the sidebar, you have much bigger problems than the design of BuzzFeed.com. SG: You used to work at BuzzFeed in America, and now you cover international news for BuzzFeed and live overseas. Even though your focus is on a global perspective of news, why is it important for you to continue to bring in the perspectives of the United States in your reporting? RB: I sort of believe still that America… its best hope is when it looks outward. Like, when America becomes too insular, you have really disastrous things happening, but I think when America realizes that they are part of a much larger society and there are things to be learned from other countries, things are a lot more interesting. I was trying to make that clear in the talk today… every country is going through very similar things, but they’re different enough where you can learn a lot. As I traveled around, every time I’d go to a place I’d be like, ‘So, tell me about your memes, tell me about your vloggers, tell me about your election history, tell me about your fake news,’ and I’d learn a lot of cool stuff. And then I would try to incorporate that into my stories which I thought would make my stories a little more interesting than the normal like ‘Cambridge Analytica has your data!’ Instead it’s a lot more complicated than that, and I would like to think that the readers sort of find that interesting, and I can say that traffic wise they typically do. I did a lot of live video over the last two years which I just like doing. I find it’s an easy way to get people to - well it’s an easy way to build trust because it’s live, so people are just like, ‘Oh yeah it’s a live feed’ … People will call me fake news in [Periscope recordings], and I always talk about it on camera. I’ll be like “How am I fake news? Is it [a] green screen? Where do you think I am right now? Come hang out with me if you think I’m fake!” So, I’ve been really interested in [figuring out] how do you make Americans feel more connected to the rest of the world? … How do you make them trust things better? And live video helps a lot with that. SG: Fake news is a global problem. How can we begin to tackle it at an individual level? How do countries come together to tackle a problem that has no borders? RB: On a practical level, I have no idea. On a philosophical level, I think it just comes back to if enough people want it, it will happen. If people want reforms for information technology, they will happen. Historically, that seems to be the way it goes… The problem and the big if is if people want real news. I would like to believe that they do, but on a fundamental level, I sort of don’t think people want real news. I think for the most part people think that they want the truth until the truth is something that makes them feel bad, and then they don’t want it. Most people on a day-to-day basis don’t even want to think about whether their news is real or fake, but in most societies that lose the ability to tell what is real or fake in their news bad things follow. All these things are giant “what ifs?” that I don’t know, but there are things that are happening that are promising... The EU [and its] fights with Google and Facebook are good, India’s fights with Facebook are good, the UK has been sort of successful in certain ways in dealing with Cambridge Analytica once they discovered it… we’ll see. I think we’ve got a couple years’ worth of watching, but I think we’ll see.” SG: How do journalists reach parts of societies who instantly dismiss their outlets as fake? Where does that conversation begin? In the US it’s easier, you can just say you’re lying, and then that’s it. In other countries it’s harder… report the truth, build credibility, be transparent with your readers, but also good luck. When I say be transparent, I don’t mean take a camera into the newsroom and film journalists at their computers…we use a term internally at BuzzFeed called ‘showing your work’ which is like, if you come to a conclusion in your piece it should be clearly understandable by reading your piece how you got to that conclusion… If you write your stories like that, readers aren’t confused, and they can figure out how you got to that point so at least they can get mad at you for the facts. SG: You mentioned in your lecture that you had been a comment moderator for BuzzFeed. What was your biggest take away from that experience in regard to internet culture? Has that influenced your approach to news writing at all? RB: Yeah, it totally influenced it. Basically, I just started to realize that the internet was a series of communities that basically would fight with each other. So, I became really interested in the anthropology of the internet - the sociology of the internet. When I write stories I’m always thinking about ‘Okay, what is this group? How are they built? And how are they colliding or not with another community?’ The best stories in my mind are when like one community accidentally slams up against another and then you have tension there. I think a lot of great stories are like this one part of the internet accidentally [colliding] with another and now we all have to deal with it... A lot of stories right now are between social groups, and I think the internet is creating that because it’s so easy to form a social group. I think the internet brings people together, you can then form a little community, and then those communities can fight with each other… It might not stay that way but for right now… that’s what I learned as a community moderator. Once you can look for the communities, then you can find cool stories. SG: There are many reasons to be pessimistic about the future of journalism and this year’s theme for the Media Academy is re-imagining journalism. In your opinion, where can we be optimistic to re-imagine journalism? RB: I think we are at a time of unparalleled creativity… you can tell a story in a million ways. You can tell a story with a live video - with an edited video. You can tell a story with a photo album, you can tell a story with a list, or a long-form essay, or a breaking news post or a huge retrospective long-form feature piece. There are so many ways to tell a story right now that it’s like you should never be bored. You could tell a story on a Twitter thread! A super viral Twitter thread. You could tell a story in one Facebook post; you could tell a story in a YouTube channel… There are so many options. It’s up to journalists to learn how to use them because bad actors are doing it faster. The fact that media organizations are dragging to keep up with that is embarrassing. Because it’s not complicated, these are all free things. It doesn’t cost any money to start a YouTube channel and then take your 22-year old news desk person and say, ‘Can you vlog the news story for the next five days?’ Kassy [one of the members on my team] is trying an experiment on Instagram where if users ask questions a lot in the comment section of a post, she’ll then bring on one of our reporters, and they’ll just like do a Q&A on Instagram, and the engagement is huge! … It’s a really exciting time to do a million things… So that I’m optimistic about. Ryan Broderick was a guest scholar at the 2018 Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change.                                                                                                                                                         
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Dan Russell - Searching for Ways to Separate Fact from Fiction
Dan Russell speaking during one of his lectures at the 2018 Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change
Dan Russell - Searching for Ways to Separate Fact from Fiction
Stephanie Quon 
Dan Russell’s job is to teach people how to Google better. Throughout his 25-year career of experimenting and understanding the user search experience, Russell has taught over four million students how to improve their information literacy and researching skills. Participants from this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change were his latest pupils. If you want to find accurate answers through a Google search, you need strategy, time and a bit of skepticism. The truth is “big, hairy, complicated” and “socially contextualized”, and Russell wants people to know how to effectively find information and be able to trace it back to the source. He demonstrated various ways to utilize the advanced search techniques and filter tools Google provides and details that can help or hinder specific search results. During his second lecture, Russell created exclusive exercises for participants from this year’s Media Academy to practice these skills using their laptops. Russell later followed up on this adding, “people’s skills grow stale because the search engines constantly improve, both in their feature set, and in the way they process information.  You can’t not pay attention to how your online research tools evolve.  That way lies staleness.” By incorporating these techniques and using them deliberately, participants were taught how to prevent their search skills from becoming stale quickly.   Russell also gave a talk about his method and perspective on innovation during an evening salon later that week. He quoted photographer Chuck Close who once said that “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just get back to work.” This is how Russell thinks of innovation: it’s not magical, but pedestrian. “Inspirational innovation,” Russell says, “where you have suddenly flash on this great idea for a product or for a story or whatever, that’s for amateurs. The rest of us just work every day. So there’s this mistaken belief that innovation happens overnight… we worked on this for ten years and then, all of a sudden, ‘Ooh! It looks like an innovation!’ It’s not innovation; I’ve been working on this for a decade! But people think of it as innovation. My take on innovation is it’s the previous nine years you forgot about.” Participants at this year’s Academy weren’t the first to reimagine the future of journalism. Earlier this year, Google news chief Richard Gingras said, “We need to rethink journalism at every dimension.” Russell agrees: “Richard speaks the truth!” In his view, Google News has had a monumental impact on the journalism landscape. One of the latest ventures Google is undertaking in this field is the Google News Initiative. According to Amol Rajan, BBC News media editor, the main goals of this project are to “elevate high quality news,” “help evolve new business models,” and “use new technology to empower news organizations… developing mechanisms that give them better data on their audiences.” The Google News Initiative has a goal of “spreading knowledge to make life better for everyone.” Russell recognizes the traditions and practices of the past cannot be continued into the future. He said, “There [are] too many things that have changed; the velocity of news has changed, the velocity at which information spreads [has] changed so I think there’s a lot of stuff that has to be done.” In addition to velocity, Russell states the business model for journalism needs to change. “Every newsroom in the universe has been cut back… we’re in some sense [at] a critical point. We need to figure out how we can get this to go forward.” To adapt to these changes, Russell thinks people need to become more information literate.  “Let’s talk about what an index is, let’s talk about what metadata is, let’s talk about sort order, let’s talk about the properties of information. Once you start to understand that, then you’re empowered not just as a consumer, but as a user of information…” Journalists aren’t excluded from this advice. Google has about “60 hours-worth of educational content just for journalists,” according to Russell, to learn how to use specific tools to improve their reporting. Google is working on resources to help journalists face the challenge of photo manipulation. Russell shares his experience watching a video of someone who identified a specific chair in a photograph, found it on an IKEA catalog, and used the 3D model and representation from the catalog to move and reposition the chair in the original picture. Russell said “this is a phenomenal demo…you can actually change the depiction of reality in very high quality and so this is an interesting challenge for journalism going forward.”   Russell did come forward with one informal proposal to counteract photo manipulation: create a digital signature in photographs. He says, “Imagine that every camera when you take a photograph creates a digital signature for that image. Meaning that if you change the photograph, it won’t match the signature anymore which means it’s been manipulated. It’s as if you provide a way to check on the validity of every image. This would be an international standard that we all would have to agree to, but the beauty of that is that if somebody sends you a photograph and the signature doesn’t line up with the photograph, you know somebody tinkered with it. Or if it comes to you without a signature, you know you can’t trust it.” Whatever obstacles new media and technologies present journalists, Russell is more than willing to play a role to help overcome them. As long as people search online for answers, his services will remain in demand. Russell says, “Even though, at this point, I’ve taught over four million students, there’s still a billion left. More than a billion people left to go! So I’ve got a lot of work to do yet.” Dan Russell was a speaker at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change 2018.
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Daniela Rea – Telling the Personal Stories of Violence with Respect, Honesty and Empathy
Daniela Rea speaking at the 12th Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change
Daniela Rea – Telling the Personal Stories of Violence with Respect, Honesty and Empathy
Stephanie Quon 
Kidnappings, disappearances, torture, murder. These are just some of the brutal fates suffered by many Mexicans; the consequences of which are long-borne by their families left behind. It is the personal stories of these violent experiences that Mexican journalist Daniela Rea wants to capture and share so that the world may see, understand, and not forget.  Recently awarded the inaugural Breach-Valdez Prize for Journalism and Human Rights (named for slain Mexican journalists Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez), Rea has covered a diverse range of issues throughout her career. Enforced disappearances of innocent people, impunity, torture, and abuses of power in Mexico have all featured in her multimedia journalistic work.  Her mission is to tell the stories of the people she interviews honestly, affording those who have opened up and shared their feelings, thoughts, and experiences with her the utmost respect. To her, they are people, not just victims. Multimedia storytelling These personal stories have inspired many projects, using many different media – from paperbacks and graphic novels to documentaries, illustrations, and interactive multimedia experiences. Rea’s book Nadie les pidió perdón (No One Asked for Their Forgiveness) uncovers the countless disappearances and deaths of innocent people. Her documentary No sucumbió la eternidad (Eternity Never Surrendered) portrays the “intimate battles of two women awaiting their missing ones”; she directed it to “showcase the conflicts of memory and the daily struggle of both women [in] not disappearing from life.” Rea has also created various multimedia projects that give the audience an immersive experience through photos and videos along with captions that tell people’s stories of disappeared loved ones, uncovered mass graves and unidentified remains. As one of her projects, Buscadores (Searchers), states, the bodies that are found continue to add to “one of the largest clandestine graves in the continent.” Rea says she is proud of two projects in particular: Mujeres ante la guerra (Women Facing the War), and Cadena de Mando (Chain of command). Mujeres ante la guerra centers on the perspective of the women who have witnessed and survived violence. The accompanying illustrations represent how women can show resistance in times of violence. The online graphic novel, Cadena de Mando, tells the ongoing case of the Ojinaga death squad in Chihuahua, Mexico. Accused of crimes such as theft, torture, and murder, many of the death squad are now imprisoned in Mazatlan military prison.  Storytelling challenges Through her broad use of different storytelling tools, Rea seeks to honestly represent the traumatic and devastating violence countless people have experienced and addresses the difficulty of encapsulating the essence of the experience of that violence and its aftereffects. During the Ithiel de Sola Pool Lecture for the Salzburg Media Academy on Media and Global Change, Rea admitted it is challenging to “transmit to the public the understanding we reach with our work.” Journalists need to present complex and tragic events in terms that readers will understand while recognizing that words such as “justice,” “pain,” and “love,” oversimplify the gravity of the situation. She asked her audience of mostly journalism students to consider how can you call it “justice” when “your son, killed in a police operation, has been called to testify about his own death?” “Pain,” she says, is insufficient to describe how a mother feels when “the autopsy of the one your loved one reveals that they were buried alive, the trace of soil still remaining in his nails and lungs.” How can you say “love,” when you must decide between searching for “the love of your life who has disappeared or raising as a happy child, the son you had together?”  Journalists need “to assume the responsibility to work with people who suffer violence,” Rea told the Academy students. As the next generation of journalists and storytellers, they should strive to learn about people’s stories with respect and dignity, not just as victims of a tragic event. In the current state of newsgathering and storytelling, with its 24-hour news cycles, viral videos, and social media sharing, speed is often favored over nuance. But this is the wrong approach, says Rea: “We have to create the time to know the things and the feelings and the experience that people who suffer violence have,” she says. By taking the time to create a safe and secure environment people will have “confidence and the protection to say what they feel about the violence against them.”     Challenging truths Rea also understands the difficulty to discern an objective truth when finding a story. “In my years as a journalist I learned that I couldn’t pretend to talk about only [one] truth because I learned that it is very complicated,” she shares. Instead, she prefers “to talk about the experience of the people” because the truth for her is “more like varying experiences” than one singular narrative. Given this reflection, Rea ended her Salzburg lecture by proposing three shifts in perspective: First, to understand that to present the objective truth, you have to tell the story honestly. Second, to realize that to tell the truth of that story, you have to discover and understand the varying experiences from the people in that situation to know what “truth” is for them. Finally, to ensure your readers feel empathy, you need to tell the truth that resonates with them; this is helped by sharing a variety of stories and details. The topic of this year’s Salzburg Academy was Re-Imagining Journalism: News and Storytelling in an Age of Distrust. Rea insists that to re-imagine journalism, we have to remember two things. The first is “to work with respect, with dignity, recognizing the dignity of the people [with] whom we work and with honesty.” “You could have a lot of tools, and a lot of possibilities, and a lot of media to write something, or to expose some story, but for me, something that is always necessary is the honesty and respect of the work.” Building a relationship to understand the experience of someone who has suffered is “very hard.” The second is to continue to learn. “Our social condition, our political contexts always are teaching us something, that maybe we don’t realize so I think it’s very important that we assume that in this profession we are always learning.” Otherwise, she cautions, journalism can become “an arrogant and very boring job.”   Daniela Rea was the speaker for the Ithiel de Sola Pool Lecture on the Impact of Communications Technology on Society and Politics at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change 2018.
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Salzburg Global Fellows Sign Former US National Security Officials’ Letter to President Trump
American flag
Salzburg Global Fellows Sign Former US National Security Officials’ Letter to President Trump
Salzburg Global Seminar 
More than 250 former US national security officials – including four members of the Salzburg Global community – have joined a rare public campaign to rebuke President Donald J. Trump for withdrawing the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, who has become a vocal critic of the president. On August 16, 15 American former senior intelligence officials from bipartisan presidential administrations signed an open letter condemning President Trump’s decision as “an attempt to stifle free speech.” William H. Webster – the first and only person to have served as director of both the CIA and the FBI and who at age 94 continues to serve on the advisory board of Salzburg Global’s Lloyd N. Cutler Center for the Rule of Law – was among the signatories.  Bipartisan outcry over President Trump's revocation of Brennan's security clearance continued to grow with the release of a statement of opposition signed on August 17 by 60 retired CIA officials and then on Monday by another 177 signatories spanning a wide range of national security jobs. Among them were Salzburg Global Fellows John B. Bellinger, III, former legal counsel, National Security Council; Antony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state and deputy national security advisor; and Eliot A. Cohen, former counselor of the US Department of State and former member of the Defense Policy Advisory Board.  The statements indicated that while the signatories do not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed by Brennan, their signatures represent a firm belief in Brennan’s right to express them, as protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.  See the full list of individuals who publicly opposed President Trump’s decision here. The changing political climate in the US has been a point of discussion at a number of other Salzburg Global Seminar programs in the last two years, building on long legacies of programs in American studies, the rule of law, and the role of media.  In September 2017, the Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA) held a symposium on Life and Justice in America: Implications of the New Administration, the report from which was published in January 2018, marking the first anniversary of President Trump’s inauguration.  Letter signatories Webster and Bellinger (who delivered the 2016 Cutler Lecture shortly after Trump’s election and served as Webster’s special assistant at the CIA) voiced their support for the intelligence community during the Salzburg Cutler Fellows program in February 2018. Speaking to a group of students from 11 top US law schools, the two mentors defended the intelligence agencies under fire from President Trump and called on the aspiring lawyers to help rebuild public trust.  In July and August 2018, students from around the globe examined the implications for journalism in the “post-truth” world at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change.  Salzburg Global Seminar will continue to examine, debate, and dissect the political climate in the US when academics, Americanists, political scientists, cultural professionals, and public servants convene at Schloss Leopoldskron in September for the next SSASA symposium, Understanding America in the 21st Century: Culture and Politics.   Questions for discussion include “What explains the loss of trust that America is currently experiencing and what are the implications for the future?” and “In what way and manner has the expectation and conduct of political leadership changed in the 21st century?” It is exceedingly rare for intelligence professionals who spent most of their careers in the shadows and who tend to abstain from politically-charged public disputes to launch such a public campaign. However, in the initial statement issued on Thursday, the former intelligence leaders wrote that they felt “compelled to respond in the wake of the ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions taken by the White House.”  Such unprecedented remarks – and the responses they provoke – will provide much fodder for discussion at Salzburg Global programs for many more months to come.   
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Persist - New Ideas for Journalism in an Age of Distrust
Persist is a multimedia publication featuring 6 chapters exploring methods to educate, inspire and motivate approaches to journalism that combat a culture of distrust
Persist - New Ideas for Journalism in an Age of Distrust
Paul Mihailidis 
This article was first published on persist.community, a multimedia publication produced by 2018 participants of the Salzburg Academy of the Media and Global Change. The projects in this publication include new approaches and models for storytelling, conceptual platforms, games, prototypes, and creative materials. We persist towards. We resist against. In a ubiquitous media environment, where our technologies ask for more and more of our fleeting attention, it seems challenging to stay committed to an idea, an issue, a moment. Connective technologies have succeeded in disconnect us. They have splintered our communities, polarized our politics, and normalized spectacle in our information feeds. The same online networks that once touted their collaborative potential now provide sensational content to like-minded groups, perpetuate polarizing viewpoints, spread false information, and seed distrust in the very institutions we rely on for functioning civic societies. This distrust has pervaded our media institutions above all others. The core functions of information systems are now under attack, and the weaponization of fake news by political and public leaders has further eroded such trust. Journalists, meanwhile, are losing the trust of communities who find refuge and solace in the validation of information by peers online. It is within this context that over 75 aspiring journalists, media makers and activists gathered alongside over 35 faculty and visiting scholars to re-imagine journalism. The participants in the 12th Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change convened for 30 master lectures, workshops, and seminars, 5 salons, a screening series, over 40 reading groups, 2 excursions, and over 20 hours of dedicated time to work in self-facilitated groups to build responses to the problem of distrust in our journalism and media institutions. What emerged from these three weeks is the commitment to a process where passionate people from around the world work intensely to experiment with media models and practices that seed interaction, care, imagination and dialog. In just over 20 hours of dedicated time to creating a digital publication, the 2018 Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change cohort created PERSIST: NEW IDEAS FOR JOURNALISM IN AN AGE OF DISTRUST. The publication features 6 chapters, which offer transmedia narratives that experiment with new approaches to storytelling and journalism that inspire care, community, and meaningful human engagement in an age of digital abundance. Each of the chapters features multimedia content, from platforms and apps to games, facilitations and prototypes, that collectively ask us to re-insert the “human” in our media systems. Students explored concepts of imagination, culture, and care in their work, and build models that work to bridge divides that exist across cultures, across borders, and across platforms. The term persist signifies both the effort of the group process that resulted in this publication, and the effort that it will take to combat the culture of distrust within and across our online networks. Persistence is understood in our work as striving to achieve a civic minded standpoint, where we recognize our shared social location, and exercise empathy for others through a collective struggle for meaningful dialog and engagement in the world. We apply persistence to our re-imagining of a journalism ecosystem that is guided by embrace a sincere commitment to bridging gaps between institutions and the communities in which they are embedded; and possess an overarching goal of contributing to the creation of emergent publics possessing the capacity and motivation to ably address the conditions of the day. In this way, we persist towards a better future, and not against intractable obstacles. Explore the collective work of our 2018 Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change cohort.
Re-Imagining Journalism: News and Storytelling in an Age of Distrust is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long running multi-year program Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here. You can also follow all the discussions on Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSmedia.
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Salzburg Academy Students Re-Imagine New Tools and Platforms for Better Journalism
Salzburg Academy Students Re-Imagine New Tools and Platforms for Better Journalism
Stephanie Quon 
In an age where advanced technology can manipulate or fabricate almost everything to produce false information and social media platforms’ algorithms create echo chambers that drown out more accurate information and moderate voices, the public appears to have lost trust in the media. How can this trend be reversed? For three weeks at a palace in Salzburg this summer, more than 75 participants from around the world came together to take on this challenge, producing interactive stories and creating new tools for engagement at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change.  Over the course of the three-week program – Re-Imaging Journalism: News and Storytelling in an Age of Distrust – university undergraduate and graduate students took part in plenary sessions, workshops, reading groups and hands-on exercises that challenged their perspectives, provided opportunities for thinking outside the box, and transformed their ideas into action. Topics covered included critical media making, the intersection of civic imagination and civic media, the bridging of cultural divides, journalism ethics, and media literacy.  The participants were led by an expert faculty of both academics and practitioners including award-winning journalist, Daniela Rea, Google tech lead, Dan Russell, and Global News Director for Buzzfeed News, Ryan Broderick. “We’re at the precipice of all of this new technology… I never fully understood the power that we have, the opportunity that we have, and the responsibility that we have until I came here and listened to all of these amazing scholars talk about the work that they’re doing,” says Academy student, Lynsey Jeffery, from University of Maryland, USA. The Salzburg Academy, now in its 12th year, served as an “inclusive and creative space,” where participants reaped the benefits of healthy debate and dialogue, challenging their existing views and sharing personal experiences through such exercises as the Human Library.  “Coming here has completely flipped my perspective and made me realize that I have such a Western-centric view on the media,” says Bournemouth student Maya Parchment. “It’s made me look at everything I consume in a different way.” Participants at this year’s Academy came from countries including Argentina, Austria, China, Colombia, Denmark, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Palestine, Sudan, the UK, the US, Venezuela and Viet Nam.  Together, this global cohort produced the online publication Persist: New Ideas for Journalism in an Age of Distrust, to be published next week. Launched in 2007 by Salzburg Global Seminar and now counting nearly 1000 students and faculty in its alumni and with university partners on five continents, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change has taken a pioneering lead in media education with a focus on media literacy and civic engagement.  “What impressed me most [about this year’s program] was the engagement and sensitivity of such a diverse group of students to the cultural and social nuances that make the concept of trust so complex,” says Paul Mihailidis, program director of the Salzburg Academy and associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, USA.  “They found ways to educate and inspire each other, faculty, and the outside world through their own storytelling. The energy was palpable and the result is that not only are we forging new avenues for journalism, but also for those involved in the experience themselves.” “The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change continues to be a leader in creating active media networks and ideas that will positively benefit communities and societies around the world.” Re-Imagining Journalism: News and Storytelling in an Age of Distrust is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long running multi-year program Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here. You can also follow all the discussions on Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSmedia.
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Re-Imagining Journalism - News and Storytelling in an Age of Distrust
Photo by rawmaterial on Unsplash
Re-Imagining Journalism - News and Storytelling in an Age of Distrust
Stephanie Quon 
One term that the world has been unable to escape over the past year and a half is “fake news”. The term has been used so often that in 2017, Collins’ Dictionary classified “fake news” as their Word of the Year. The lines between truth and fiction have become more difficult than ever for the public to distinguish, and for several media outlets and journalists, it has been an uphill battle to assure different parts of societies they are reporting accurately and fairly. We are at a point in time where many individuals receive a lot of their news on social media platforms where algorithms tailor both news sources and order of content based on user preference. While these platforms may present a pleasant user experience, their potential to exacerbate user bias and limit broader perspectives and differing viewpoints cannot go understated. This Sunday, more than 75 students from 17 countries, representing 16 different universities and institutions will arrive in Salzburg to participate in the annual three-week program of the Salzburg Academy for Media and Global Change - Re-Imagining Journalism: News and Storytelling in an Age of Distrust. Through group discussions, reading groups, media workshops, and plenary sessions, participants will demystify and explore the crucial and irreplaceable roles of media, journalism, and storytelling by working together to understand the complex and interconnected levels of controversial topics and their impact on society. By the end of the program, participants will work together in groups and create their own multi-media series. Each series will showcase the participant’s unique approach and perspective to journalism which will not only be informative to the public about the current global events but will also contribute to a dialog that inspires intentional engagement to positive changes in communities around the world. Participants will be joined by 18 faculty members and 12 guest scholars. Their specialized areas of knowledge and broad perspectives will greatly contribute to the various lessons and presentations given throughout the program. Faculty and guest scholars will also be on hand to provide advice to participants as they create their final multimedia projects. Among others, guest scholars at this year’s program include Ryan Broderick, deputy global news director of BuzzFeed and Daniel Russell, senior research scientist at Google. In addition, Daniela Rea, a recent recipient of the Breach-Valdez journalism prize will give this year’s Ithiel de Sola Pool lecture. This lecture was created in honor of three-time Salzburg Global faculty member Ithiel de Sola Pool, a pioneer in the development of social science and network theory. Dr. Pool served as a faculty member during Session 45, American Society, in 1956; Session 77, American Foreign Policy, in 1962; and Session 203, Development, Communication and Social Change, in 1981. This year's program begins on Salzburg Global Day, the 71st anniversary of the first day of the organization's first program. Since 1947, more than 36,000 Fellows from more than 170 countries have come together to the Salzburg Global Seminar programs, and the fellowship continues to grow and thrive. Participants arriving on Sunday will follow in the footsteps of Salzburg Global’s founders and other Fellows, as they continue consider new ways to bridge divides, expand collaborations, and transform systems. Re-Imagining Journalism: News and Storytelling in an Age of Distrust is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long running multi-year program Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here. You can also follow all the discussions on Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSmedia.       #s3gt_translate_tooltip_mini { display: none !important; }
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