Digital Crossroads - Civic Media and Migration




Latest News

Print article
Dec 20, 2016
by Salzburg Global Seminar
Register for our Newsletter and stay up to date
Register now
Digital Crossroads - Civic Media and Migration

Report from faculty of Salzburg Academy for Media and Global Change now online  Lead author of Digital Crossroads: Civic Media and Migration, Paul Mihailidis at the 2016 Salzburg Academy

A report produced with input from this year's Salzburg Academy for Media and Global Change is now online to read, download and share.

Digital Crossroads: Civic Media and Migration has been published by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa) in Germany and was written by Paul Mihailidis, Liat Racin and Eric Gordon. Mihailidis is the Faculty Chair and Program Director for the Salzburg Academy for Media and Global Change, with Racin and Gordon also serving as faculty. In addition to their roles at the Salzburg Academy, all three academics work at the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, Boston, USA.

The report follows the 2016 Salzburg Academy for Media and Global Change that brought together 70 students, over 15 faculty members and additional guest speakers from over 15 institutions around the world, representing around 25 nationalities, to consider the role of media and digital literacy under the theme: Migration, Media & Global Uncertainty.

Over the course of the three-week program, this international cohort of students and faculty examined the following two questions: How do we effectively utilize media and social technologies to tell the stories of migrants around the world? How do we change the narratives surrounding migration, from ones perpetuated by fear, to journalistic efforts built upon better frames, less bias and emphasis of universal human values? These questions are now reflected in the new report.

As explained by the Engagement Lab:

"The report examines the uses of digital media among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with migrants and refugees primarily in Europe. Based on interviews with leaders at over 20 NGOs, this report documents how organizations are thinking about digital and media literacies for combating xenophobia. NGOs are strategically leveraging various storytelling techniques to build effective communication campaigns that identify and respond to discriminatory messages and racist sentiments prevalent in public discourse.

This report highlights seven key strategies for digital storytelling that is current practice as well as a five-part framework of emergent practice. The report concludes with a series of recommendations for the management of digital media programs and projects."

ifa adds:

"In the face of rising xenophobia, humanizing the lives of refugees and migrants cannot be done by statistics and big data alone. There are stories behind numbers, and these stories are integral for forging deep, emotional ties between receiving communities, migrants, and citizens of all backgrounds. Empathy can cultivate a common sense of belonging and shared future. How can NGO’s and communities effectively engage in participatory and dialogic storytelling about complex and nuanced issues, where there is room to highlight positives and negatives, and bring communities together? The present report calls this civic media, and asks how organizations working with migrants and refugees in Europe are using these technologies and practices and provides a framework for digital storytelling."

The 60 page report (PDF) can be downloaded from the ifa and Engagement Lab websites for free.

In addition to the ifa publication, the 2016 Salzburg Academy also saw the publication of a multimedia report from the students, MOVE: Media, Migration and the Civic Imagination which can be accessed online: