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Salzburg Global Devastated by Sudden Death of Media Academy Faculty Moses Shumow
Moses Shumow, June 27, 1977 – October 22, 2019
Salzburg Global Devastated by Sudden Death of Media Academy Faculty Moses Shumow
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Staff at Salzburg Global Seminar are devastated to learn of the sudden death of Moses Shumow, a several-time faculty member at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. Moses died after being hit while cycling near Boston by a commuter train on the morning of October 22. Transit police are continuing their investigation. Moses, who recently joined Emerson College's journalism faculty from Florida International University, was a beloved teacher, friend, husband, and father. Moses' keen mind, infectious personality, and warm smile made him a favorite among participants and faculty alike. He is survived by his wife, Rose, and three children. Two funds have been established to help support the education and other needs of his children. A service for Moses was held on Sunday, October 27 at the First Baptist Church, in Beverly, Massachusetts, led by the Rev. Julie Flowers and by Rabbi Alison Adler. Faculty from the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, on which Moses served, gathered from across the world to pay tribute to their colleague, joined by Academy co-founders Susan Moeller and Stephen Salyer.  Speaking with Emerson Today, Paul Mihailidis, director of the Salzburg Academy, said, “Moses was my best friend and a colleague. We traveled the world working in communities, collaborating on dynamic pedagogies, research papers, and book projects. He was one of the most dedicated and passionate humans, who lived his work.” Stephen Salyer, President of Salzburg Global Seminar, said: “Moses was a man as full of love for his family, students, colleagues and friends as anyone I have ever known.  It is clear from the stories told during and after Sunday’s service that his spirit will live on through the witness of those who share Moses’ devotion to the power of truthful information to change lives.” We welcome your contribution of tributes and memories of Moses. With your permission, we would like to include them as part of his obituary as we remember and honor him on our website. Tributes "My memories of Moses are very fond ones, taking me all the way back to the 2016 Media Academy where he passionately spoke against the harmful practices towards our climate. His speech was absolutely inspiring and got everyone actively thinking about how they can help the climate. In the hallways, he always held a wide smile on his face, and his spirit shone unlike any other. I had the pleasure of having him as my guide in the piece I’d contributed for the MOVE publication, as he was always encouraging us to find unique ways to express ourselves. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have been affected by his tragic loss." Nour Hassoun “Moses was a clear-thinking man with a beautiful mind. For me, he showed me how to be the best person I could be by helping me to remove some of my own fears. He was warm, open and moments spent with him are so vividly memorable now, years later, that I feel as if it was just yesterday when we last spoke. I know he loved his family and friends profoundly, and his light, love, and energy will be found in the stories of everyone who was blessed to meet him. Thank you, Moses.” Skyler Shah "My favorite memory of Moses was during the 2016 Media Academy at Salzburg Global Seminar. We had a short coffee break in between sessions, and while standing in the courtyard among other participants, Moses and I got on the topic of different styles of dance, like the waltz. We were talking about the style and the steps, and in a moment of silliness, Moses and I started to waltz around the courtyard, pretending to sing some sort of stereotypical waltz tune and laughing while trying to keep [an] upright posture and look prim and proper. It was the first memory I thought of when I read this heartbreaking news. I’m lucky I had a chance to meet such a kind, brilliant, and incredible human while in Salzburg, and I’m sad that he’s gone." Stephanie Quon Below is an obituary first published by Campbell Funeral Home, where memories, photos, videos, candles, and mementos can also be shared.  Obituary Moses Augustin Bradberry Stamler Shumow June 27, 1977 – October 22, 2019 Moses Augustín Shumow, born on June 27, 1977, in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, died in Beverly, MA, on October 22, 2019. Moses was a resident of Beverly, Massachusetts. Moses was raised in Gila, New Mexico, and grew up with a loving family and community. It was during his upbringing in the mountains of New Mexico that Moses cultivated a love of land and the outdoors and realized the importance and interconnectedness of geography, community and storytelling. He pursued these passions through higher education. He completed a BA in Communication at New Mexico State University, then went on to earn his MA in Broadcast Journalism at Emerson College. He spent the following decade pursuing his passion for film, working as a documentary filmmaker for local and national networks, including PBS, National Geographic, History Channel and Discovery. He received numerous awards for his work including the duPont-Columbia Gold Baton Award and a Rocky Mountain Emmy for Cultural Programming. In 2007, Moses turned to academia, completing his PhD at the University of Miami in 2010 and beginning a teaching career at Florida International University. He taught at FIU for nine years, earning college-wide honors for teaching excellence and community engagement. In addition to his passionate teaching, Moses worked tirelessly to tell the stories of transnational and underserved communities in urban Miami. His documentary Liberty City Rising, produced with his students, screened around the United States and received national attention and accolades. Moses was incredibly proud of documenting the rich and often untold history of marginalized communities and believed in the power of storytelling to shift perspectives, challenge stereotypes, and create positive narratives. As a result of this work, Moses was awarded fellowships from the Miami Urban Future Initiative and Images of Voices and Hope. In addition to his filmmaking, Moses was the editor of Mediated Communities: Civic Voices, Empowerment and Media Literacy in the Digital Age and co-author of News, Neoliberalism, and Miami’s Fragmented Urban Space. He authored numerous articles on media literacy, journalism and civic participation. In 2008, Moses joined the faculty of the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change, where he was able to find global avenues for his work, traveling to places like Cyprus, Beirut, Lebanon and Salzburg, Austria. After teaching for nine years at Florida International University, Moses and his family returned to Boston in Fall 2019 to Emerson College, where Moses began a job as a tenured associate professor in the Department of Journalism. In his short time at Emerson, Moses taught courses in Community Participation and Digital Storytelling, quickly becoming a favorite of students. He volunteered to oversee the student-run News Service and was working to develop new courses for the graduate program in Media Design. Moses was also working on his latest book project about media literacy and community engagement. Moses met his wife, Rose Mary Compagine, during an internship with WGBH Boston in 2002. They married in 2005 and moved to Miami, Florida to begin their family. Moses was a passionate and committed partner and husband who loved his family above all else, and he and Rose were overjoyed to welcome three beautiful children, Lola (11), Gus (9), and Rubén (2), into their lives. The family equally enjoyed the thriving multiculturalism of Miami as a city and the natural beauty of its coastline. Moses enjoyed traveling, running, dancing, playing music with friends, and was a basketball fan. He was a stalwart member of his Biscayne Park community and loved spending weekends with neighbors swimming, camping and making memories with the children. Yet his love for New Mexico endured, and he made sure that his family returned regularly to the beautiful mountains and rivers that he held in his heart. Moses is survived by his wife, Rose Mary Shumow, daughter Lola Belle Shumow, sons Harry Augustin “Gus” Shumow and Rubén Emmanuel Shumow, his parents Emmanuel and Gail Stamler, brother Rio Stamler, his mother in-law Marta Compagine, sister and brother-in-law, Anna and Joel Cohen, nephews Maxemilio, Frederick and Nathaniel, and an extended network of cousins, aunts, uncles and loved ones. Memorial services for Moses will take place on Sunday, October 27, at 2 p.m., at the First Baptist Church, in Beverly, MA. The address is 221 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA. The church is non-denominational, and services will be presided over by Reverend Julie Flowers and Rabbi Alison Adler. Moses will always be remembered for his big, boisterous laugh, his conviction to making the world better by living his truths and his loyalty to family and friends. We remember him as the big guy who loved his children more than life and always wore his heart on his sleeve. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the education and care of Moses’s children, Lola, Gus and Rubén, by addressing checks to the Shumow Family, and sending them to the following address: D’Ambrosio Brown LLP Shumow Family Memorial Fund 185 Devonshire Street, 10th Floor Boston, MA 02110. Additional donations can be made at the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/come-together-for-the-shumow-family Please direct inquiries to the Campbell Funeral Services, 525 Cabot St, Beverly, MA, 01915. (978) 922-1113. To send flowers to the family of Moses Augustin Bradberry Stamler Shumow, please visit Tribute Store.
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Journalism is Full of Choices – It’s Not Easy
Journalism is Full of Choices – It’s Not Easy
Mirabelle Morah 
“Journalism looks so easy, but it's difficult. It's very difficult because it's full of choices,” says Naja Nielsen, digital director of BBC News. “You learn about something, [then] you have to decide first of all who to research… what to exclude, what to include in the story and then afterwards how to communicate it, and how to produce it. There are all these choices that can be criticized.” Attending the 13th program of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change: The Cost of Disbelief: Fracturing Societies and the Erosion of Trust, Nielsen spoke about the importance of impartiality, and the role the BBC has to play. Nielsen made the choice to work for the BBC, leaving Orb Media, a global journalism start-up in Washington, D.C, specialized in data-informed stories. Having been appointed in April, she has since been responsible for the digital strategy and development of the BBC portfolio of digital news services. For BBC News to have a “great future,” Nielsen says it needs to excel digitally. “That means that we have to find a balance between sticking to our core values and keep doing what we do best, but in ways that work for people that use their media digitally, primarily on their mobile phones,” Nielsen says. “Which means everything from the content selection to the way we tell the stories, to the way we publish the stories and when we publish the stories has to be reconsidered.” This is a daunting task for any media company, but that does not deter Nielsen. “I just think people need knowledge, and I think we have an important part to play there. But I also do believe that we have to innovate and renew ourselves quite a lot to be able to do that in the future,” she says. Tracing her thoughts back to her statement on the importance of the BBC staying true to its core values, Nielsen says that being impartial and trustworthy are the two most important things about the BBC. “That means that we have taken no sides, we do not push a specific agenda, we are not led by economic or political interests, and we are not bought into pressure. “We always go to lengths to make sure that whatever we are reporting is actually accurate, and both of those two things are very difficult to get right all the time. Well, it is maybe the most important reason for us [as the BBC] to exist,” Nielsen said. However, in recent times, convincing people of the BBC’s impartiality has not been “very easy to achieve,” according to Nielsen. “For instance, if it is about Brexit, the same story can be criticized for being pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit. And to those two different groups of audience that are reading the story, we just seem like partial or biased. And it's not very easy to solve… If we just did the stories like one side wanted, then the other side would just think we were even more partial… “I find it very interesting, and I thought this was a great opportunity for me to talk to young people from around the world [at the Media Academy] about this too to get – to be honest – a bit of help to figure out how to modernize our way of showing our impartiality,” Nielsen says. To detect fake news, Nielsen emphasizes people need to “get into the habit of making certain questions every time they read something.” They have to ask themselves if a story is “too good to be true,” and if there is anything strange about it. If the story seems plausible, “then look at how many different sources there are,” Nielsen says. She expressed the importance of investigating the source and origin of a story, especially when one isn’t satisfied with the credibility of the news or its source. “If there are many others that are reporting the same thing and you can see it is exactly the same wording, it's not vetted,” she notes. “It's not enough that all media is carrying the [same] story because often, it goes so fast that it can just be the same - garbage in, garbage out. But if they have slightly different ways of covering the story but the basic facts are the same, it is often true.” Nielsen is 51. As well as working for the BBC and Orb Media, she led editorial development in many different roles at DR, Danish Broadcasting, including as head of news. She has also been a visiting scholar at Stanford University where she wrote the paper “Journalism in the Digital Age: What Legacy Media should Learn, Embrace and Fear from Silicon Valley.” With this experience behind her, what message would she give to her younger self? “Oh. That’s funny,” says Nielsen. She pauses. “It took me many years actually to take up leadership positions and managing positions. The first many years, I tried to work a little less, but also I think there was … me being a coward at it where I had all these ideas about how things should be, but I did not want to like take on the responsibility, and I think maybe I could have done that a bit before… If you can see solutions, you also have some responsibility… “But on the other hand I think it has maybe later on helped me that I did not become a manager very early on, that I had many years like a normal staff member because I think maybe that made me learn how it is to be led as well… So I think it has influenced my leadership style a lot to try to empower people a lot. All leaders say they want opposition, but I genuinely want opposition because I do remember myself as [someone] young.” And on her advice to journalists, especially young and upcoming journalists, Nielsen says it’s important to know the craft very well “and to be a little humble when you learn that because it is difficult… [so] I think it's good to practice a lot.” Naja Nielsen is a guest scholar at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. The Salzburg Global program, The Cost of Disbelief: Fracturing Societies and Erosion of Trust, is part of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change.
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This is How Art Can Be Used to Imagine a Better Future
This is How Art Can Be Used to Imagine a Better Future
Mirabelle Morah 
Have you ever considered how media and art can be used as a site of memory? How media and art can help people to revisit history while questioning the present and the future? These questions grew out of a presentation given by Mexican filmmaker Pablo Martinez-Zarate at the latest program of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. The filmmaker’s interest in bridging the divide between memory, territory and identity through film, photography and multimedia led him to create a research project called Dissections over Planes: Essay(s) from Tlatelolco. Martinez-Zarate, who’s also a writer and artist, takes his audience on a journey into the history of Tlatelolco, an archaeological excavation site in Mexico. He helps his audience rediscover Tlatelolco through analog film and virtual reality applications. Martinez-Zarate believes this rediscovery could have an impact on critical media and people’s world view. “Tlatelolco is a very important site in Mexico City and in Mexico's history because Tlatelolco firstly used to be the sister city of the Aztec Capital then… it was home of the largest markets of pre-Hispanic Mexico,” Martinez-Zarate explained. On October 2, 1968, a political demonstration took place in Tlatelolco Square, which would see Tlatelolco remembered for a different reason. The demonstration, which was organized by a student movement, was interrupted by gunshots fired from nearby rooftops. The BBC reported the number of victims “has remained shrouded in mystery and controversy,” with figures varying between 30 and 300. Martinez-Zarate said, “After that killing of students, Tlatelolco’s image started to change, people started to go out of Tlatelolco and all this modernity and development image that Tlatelolco used to condense started to crumble.” Dissections of Planes is about exploring Tlatelolco “as a site of Mexican memory,” according to Martinez-Zarate. “It is a way of redefining what Tlatelolco can be in terms of Mexico's history, and how we can use Tlatelolco to understand ourselves…” But why Tlatelolco for Martinez-Zarate? Did he have any personal connections with Tlatelolco? “My grandfather used to be part of the original design team of Tlatelolco in the 60’s, so he was an architect, and he was a very active architect,” Martinez-Zarate revealed. “And since he was part of this design team, I inherited a lot of knowledge of the place… [and] I used to visit it with him.” Beyond his artistic curiosity and having his grandfather as one of the architects who worked to modernize Tlatelolco in the early 60’s, Martinez-Zarate said he wants people, especially Mexicans, to question what they know about their history and question what they know about the present world. “It's more about offering a window to different questions of the world. So I think these questions can actually lead to imagining new ways of being together,” he said. Most of Martinez-Zarate’s works can be said to be “a crossover between research and artistic experimentation.” He is also one of several Salzburg Media Academy faculty who have contributed to New Journalisms: Rethinking Practice, Theory and Pedagogy. Through his work, he tries to share the belief that “art is a way of reimagining our potential as human beings.” “That's why perhaps, this German painter, Gerhard Richter said that ‘art is the highest form of hope,’ because I do believe that art is a weapon for building a better future. It ignites the imagination and lets us visualize alternative futures. And once we visualize this future, once we are able to imagine them, they can become real. If we are incapable of imagining the future, then we can't really think and build a better world. It depends on the imagination first of all, [and] I think art can actually provoke that.” Pablo Martinez-Zarate is part of the Faculty of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. The Cost of Disbelief: Fracturing Societies and the Erosion of Trust, is part of the multi-year Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. More information on this multi-year series is available here.
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Combatting the Crisis of Distrust in Media
Participants and faculty from the 2019 Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change
Combatting the Crisis of Distrust in Media
Mirabelle Morah 
More than 70 participants from universities and colleges around the world came together in Salzburg to combat the crisis of disbelief and erosion of trust in media. Last month, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change brought participants together for its 13th program: The Cost of Disbelief: Fracturing Societies and the Erosion of Trust. During the 17-day program, held at Schloss Leopoldskron, the Academy hosted students from Argentina, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States. Participants discussed and debated crucial issues concerning fake news, the lack of trust in media, the cost of disbelief, the need for impartiality, plus other key challenges within the context of media in different countries of the world. By the end of the Academy, participants had worked on six different projects, which fall under the umbrella name, “[re]BUILD: Interactive learning experiences for media literate societies.” [re]BUILD is a collection of interactive learning experiences and workshops designed to target issues of disbelief that ultimately fracture and divide societies. These projects include: Filter Bubbles and Fugitive Spaces: Curated by participants to assess individuals’ ability to form and take part in open discourse. Reclaiming the Fourth Estate: A learning experience that helps students focus first on building a foundation of trust before stimulating empathy. Generation Impactivist: Fostering trust by exploring shared social vulnerabilities. Finding Common Ground: Equipping people with skills to engage in more effective intercultural communication and recognize biases. Navigating News Media in an age of Information Explosion: A step-by-step guide to building a media literacy toolkit. Mazeum: An interactive learning experience where people go through a metaphorical maze where they will find information about a particular topic that is grappling the world, presented in different mediums and angles. Before these projects were presented on the final day of the program, participants took part in a range of activities. Expert-led lectures, cultural tours of Salzburg and Gosau, a visit to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, as well podcasting workshops from Public Radio Exchange (PRX) – a leading media company – are some of the highlights that were intended to give the students rich and diversified experiences and lessons around leadership, media, journalism. At the beginning of the program, Bangladeshi photographer and Salzburg Global Fellow, Shahidul Alam, delivered the Bailey Morris-Eck Lecture. Alam reminded participants that “giving up” was not a “luxury” anyone could afford, especially when fighting for a just and better world. Throughout the Academy, participants were encouraged to think outside the box and work together while exploring new ideas and solutions to bring humans together and support inclusive and equitable media and civic systems. Working together on different projects not only built the students’ skillset but also personally impacted them. “The way this Academy has affected my passion for advocacy is [in an] indirect way whereby being here, I've felt more validated, more accepted, and more confident than I've ever felt in my life before,” said Luce Hamdan who’s working towards a master's degree in interdisciplinary gender studies at the Lebanese American University. Meanwhile, Joy Opiyo, from Daystar University in Kenya said, “When I came here, I really did not know what I was coming to do. I didn’t have very many expectations, except to learn. But the very first day that I got here, the very first speaker [Shahidul Alam] seemed to have come to speak to me. And I felt like his talk was actually good to me as a photographer, and he gave me purpose and vision for what I can do with this skill that God gave me, of photography.” Isabella Miranda Pasquel Diez, a communications student at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, Mexico, said, “Can you imagine a world where there are no borders, where the only trip you need to make to get to know another culture is to walk to the neighbor's door? That's Salzburg Global Seminar.” The Salzburg Global program, The Cost of Disbelief: Fracturing Societies and Erosion of Trust, is part of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change.
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New Journalisms: Rethinking Practice, Theory and Pedagogy
Karen Fowler-Watt at the Max Reinhardt Library
New Journalisms: Rethinking Practice, Theory and Pedagogy
Mirabelle Morah 
In an era of fake news, distrust and further uncertainties on the power of journalism and the role of the media, British academics Karen Fowler-Watt and Stephen Jukes have emerged with a new book, titled New Journalisms: Rethinking Practice, Theory and Pedagogy. Edited by Fowler-Watt and Jukes, New Journalisms explores a series of key themes, from the new challenges involved in defining the term “new journalisms,” to how a re-imagination of journalism education can lead to improving pedagogies, and how new journalism practices can be formed, offering new ways of telling human stories. The edited collection brings together leading academics, journalists and emerging researchers as its contributors, many of whom are part of the faculty of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. Launched in 2007, the Salzburg Academy now counts nearly 1000 alumni in its ranks from 70 countries around the globe, with 16 universities on five continents sending students to take part in 2019. Karen Fowler-Watt is a senior principal academic at Bournemouth University in the UK, where she researches the need for journalism education at the university’s Center of Excellence in Media Practice. Speaking in an interview with Salzburg Global Seminar, Fowler-Watt shared more insight into the conceptualization of the book New Journalisms, as well as its content. “The idea really came to my colleague, Stephen Jukes. He’s actually the reason that any of us came to Salzburg. He founded the partnership with Bournemouth University and the Academy [on Media and Global Change] when it was set up at the very beginning,” she disclosed. “Both of us wanted to produce a book, which we wanted to be an edited volume, and wanted to put down some of the thoughts that we’d had, and we had been discussing with colleagues around reimagining journalism and rethinking journalism.” The idea to produce a book on new journalisms, as Fowler-Watt explained, was immediately received with “huge energy.” The leading journalists and researchers with whom they discussed the idea had positive thoughts towards the subject matter and were eager to share their own knowledge in the book. Speaking on the pluralization of journalisms, Fowler-Watt emphasizes that she sees the pluralization as important because New Journalisms does not only focus on the “new challenges facing journalism (in the singular), but also seeks to capture a range of new practices that are being employed across a diversity of media.” One of the topics also covered in New Journalisms is the aspect of social media, which is playing an ever-greater role in the dissemination of information. Jukes and Fowler-Watt in New Journalisms highlight both the disruptive aspects of social media as well as the remarkable opportunities it provides, especially for citizen journalists, such as being able “to hear stories of normal life coming out of Syria,” Fowler-Watt recounted. “This is not saying ‘professional journalism is the way ahead, forget citizen journalists’… We can be different types of journalists, and I think a key chapter is the ‘Global Voices’ one from Ivan Sigal who’s a Fellow of the Academy,” she said about the different types of journalism while referencing to the chapter on “Connecting publics through Global Voices.” But further on social media usage, Fowler-Watt also has personal concerns about media literacy for a younger audience, especially with the outpouring of information and fake news on the internet. “I think a concern I would say, is the inability or the lack of desire [for young people] to read further, and so a young person might feel that they’re very well-informed as they flick through their various news feeds.” Information received via peers is more readily believed. However, Fowler-Watt has more concerns than disinformation and fake news. A more pertinent issue to her is “whether young people are reading in depth, are developing a critical awareness and a critically reflective approach to the media that they’re consuming,” Fowler explained. New Journalisms has so far received positive reviews, and Fowler-Watt acknowledges Salzburg Global Seminar as a part of the success story for the book, calling the organization a “remarkable place,” while also being grateful to colleagues from the Salzburg Academy who contributed to the book, on various topics. “Over a dozen years the Academy has driven a global movement for media literacy… and challenged scholars to rethink everything they thought they knew. Arising from this wind tunnel, New Journalisms offers thinking we desperately need to address information overload and manipulation,” Stephen Salyer, President and CEO of Salzburg Global Seminar said in his endorsement of the book. The chapters contributed by faculty from the Academy include: “New journalisms, new challenges” by Stephen Jukes and Karen Fowler-Watt; “Journalists in search of identity” by Stephen Jukes; “Connecting publics through Global Voices” by Ivan Sigal; “Images: reported, remembered, invented, contested” by Susan D. Moeller; “New Journalisms, new pedagogies” by Karen Fowler-Watt; “Civic intentionality and transformative potential of journalism pedagogies” by Paul Mihailidis, Roman Gerodimos, and Megan Fromm; “Emergent narratives for times of crisis – ideas on documentary art and critical pedagogy” by Pablo Martinez-Zárate; “Genocide and the mediation of human rights: pedagogies for difficult stories” by Stephen Reese and Jad Melki. “This is not the first book that has come out of the Academy,” Fowler-Watt said in a cheerful voice and with a smile on her face. “For me personally, as a little autobiographical moment here, it’s been an incredibly important project because it has really encouraged me to reflect on so much. I have developed relationships with people whom I respect hugely, massively and admire incredibly. And I feel that we are a group of people who would support each other, trust each other, [and] listen carefully to each other,” she emphasized. On her future hopes for New Journalisms, Fowler-Watt hopes that the book will be disseminated widely enough for lay people – non-academics and non-journalists – to easily pick up and think about its content. She also hopes that it would be integrated into the teaching curriculum and be a book that journalism practitioners will value. “It’s written in very accessible prose,” she said. “[And] I think there’s something for a lot of different people to take away from it. I really hope so.” More information about the book, New Journalisms: Rethinking Practice, Theory and Pedagogy can be found here. The Salzburg Global Seminar program, The Cost of Disbelief: Fracturing Societies and the Erosion of Trust, is part of the multi-year Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. More information on this multi-year series is available here.
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Bringing People Together Through Education, Media and Rap
Chris Harris speaking at the Media Academy
Bringing People Together Through Education, Media and Rap
Mirabelle Morah 
People go into teaching and lecturing for different reasons. For some, teaching is a means of making a living and for others it’s simply a way of satisfying their curiosity. But for Christopher Harris, teaching isn’t just a mere job – it’s his calling. “I see teaching as a vocation. It’s both my calling and a way of making an intervention in this world,” Harris said while delivering a lecture to 75 students from around the globe at this year’s Academy on Media and Global Change. Christopher Harris is an associate professor of communication at the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Nevada State College in Henderson, Nevada, USA. His research focuses on media portrayals of ethnicity and the power of music – especially rap and neo-soul – to unify people. Harris has been working with the Academy since 2016, and in a recent interview with Salzburg Global Seminar, he told of his earliest encounter with music and his role in using media, music and teaching as a way of unifying people. “Hip hop and rap were like big brothers to me growing up, in terms of certain aspects of wisdom and ideas around the music,” Harris explains. “I remember they [the artists I listened to] would use ideas, and concepts and words that talked about the world,” he reminisces. Some of the hip hop artists Chris listened to included Scarface and AZ. After participating in the W.E.B. Dubois Scholars program, an intensive leadership and academic program for African American students, Harris’ life changed. Attending the program between his freshman and sophomore years in high school, he explains that the program had a “huge impact on me, in terms of making me want to do something that would benefit the black community both in America and globally.” The W.E.B. Dubois Scholars program was a stepping stone for Harris, creating in him a strong desire to improve opportunities for the Black community in America and beyond. Music is one of the major tools Harris thought to use in order to create the change he wanted to see, to build a much more unified Black community with a better future. “The black banker listens to rap, the black custodian listens to rap, the black student listens to rap,” he explains. While people go in their different directions, in their lives and their careers, Harris believes that the music that they listen to during the formative periods of their lives has the power “to unify [them positively] in a certain way.” “Let’s use it [music] as a tool. Let’s use that as a site [for dialogue]. If it was a site for a conversation, then let’s go back. Music represents [an] informal transcript of a dialogue around the future of Black people. So let’s go back and pay attention to it and look at it and try to make sense of it and see what we can pull from it to use to further our efforts now,” Harris explains, voicing his strong beliefs in the power of music and positive lyrics. To Harris, when a people are unified, they stand better chances of improving their future. The lyrics from rappers and hip hop artists contain messages that speak about the world and try to bring people together. Trying to unify people, however, whether through music, media or photography – as in the case of Shahidul Alam, who gave the opening keynote lecture at this year’s Media Academy – is never an easy task. “If you’re ready to push for a more just world, you have to be ready for confrontation and conflict,” Harris told Academy students during his lecture. In his interview, he elaborated: “The people who rebelled throughout history, the people who [presently] push, the people who try to get us to a more just world do so because they look at what’s going on around them, they look at the demands of the current society and just say, ‘I can’t,’” he passionately emphasized, taking inspiration from the book, The Wages of Rebellion by Chris Hedges. “It’s not about ‘I should.’ It’s not about ‘am I called to do this?’ ‘Is this a choice?’ They look around and they say ‘I can’t do these [conventional] things that this society demands of me [to fit into social stereotypes].’ In fulfilling his calling as a teacher, Harris seeks to help students to better recognize themselves in order to work independently and interdependently. “In general,” he shared, “I just hope that students [at this Media Academy] find a way to push themselves to overcome whatever internal boundaries that they came here with; that were stifling them or causing them to hesitate from taking the risks necessary to make their own imprint on the world.” Yearly, Harris also has to make deliberate efforts and decisions about whom he brings from Nevada State College to the Media Academy. He selects students with different backgrounds and different experiences because to him, “this Academy has had such a tremendous impact on me … I know what it can [positively] do [especially] when I saw what happened to students [who attended the Media Academy] in the past.” For example, Harris explains that one student might have a lot of “passion and fire,” and might “want to do big things in this world but not know how to use their passion in an efficient manner.” He selects such a student with hopes that they learn how to prioritize and efficiently use their passion for good. “I might want another student that may have never been on an airplane before they came here; may have never met anybody other than someone who is a Latino, African American or a Caucasian. Those are the only three types of people they've ever met in their life. So I want that person to speak with as many different people from as many different cultures as possible and just expand horizons of what they believe the world could be,” he elaborated. On his hopes and expectations for the 75 students attending this year’s Media Academy, Harris shares that he wants his students “to get inspired by what’s going on here [at the Academy], and to really feel comfortable and confident that they made a good decision in terms of trying to use education to better themselves [and] add substance to what they are.” The Salzburg Global Seminar program, The Cost of Disbelief: Fracturing Societies and the Erosion of Trust, is part of the multi-year Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. More information on this multi-year series is available here.
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Shahidul Alam: “I Cannot Separate My Art from Politics”
Shahidul Alam speaks at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change (Credit: Katrin Kerschbaumer/Salzburg Global Seminar)
Shahidul Alam: “I Cannot Separate My Art from Politics”
Mirabelle Morah 
“And then what happened this other day was, this woman had a baby, and she came up to me and said ‘Can you bless my child? I want him to grow up as brave as you.’ It moved me,” shares Shahidul Alam, both bashful and proud. The Bangladeshi photographer, writer and activist, Shahidul Alam, was at Salzburg Global Seminar to deliver the Bailey Morris-Eck keynote address at this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. He addressed the audience of budding journalists and media entrepreneurs on “Exposed Vulnerabilities: Learning to Trust.” Addressing students and university faculty from around the world, the award-winning photographer shared a powerful message that “giving up” was not a “luxury” anyone could afford, and that courage is contagious. When asked if he had an advice to give to his younger self, or if he had a word of encouragement to give to the younger generation of social activists and journalists, Alam responded by saying that there was no alternative to being “good at what you do.” “You have to ensure that your presentation is right; it’s your job to ensure that you’re communicating correctly, [and] it’s your job to ensure that they make sure that everything is right for you.” In 2018, Shahidul Alam was arrested during a protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh, after which he was imprisoned for over 100 days and tortured for his involvement in social activism. He was eventually released on bail in November 2018, after many people around the world – including Nobel Laureates and many Salzburg Global Fellows – demanded for his freedom. During his address at the Academy, Alam said that “the biggest punishment” was to “take away a person’s freedom.” Speaking to Salzburg Global in an interview after his lecture, the two-time Salzburg Global Fellow told of the importance of standing up to government and police repression. “You have governments which come in for their own interest alone. And rather than serving the public, their task generally has been to squeeze as much out of the public resource, as they can for themselves. “Similarly…” he continued, “the police is often used to serve the needs of the party in power. Forgetting that they are really answerable to the public.” Adopting photography as a tool for social justice, Alam established Drik Picture Library in 1989 as a means of using “the power of the visual medium to educate, inform and draw powerful emotional responses to influence public opinion.” He believes that “building stronger institutions” is one answer to fighting against repressive governments, and that power “should never be concentrated on single individuals, but spread out.” Many people have said to Shahidul Alam, “You’re an artist – why are you doing politics?” But, he explains: “I cannot separate my art from politics.” Part of ensuring that power is not concentrated comes in ensuring that local people own and tell their own stories, as well as reporting their own experiences. “I think… as long as local people are [telling their own stories], they will understand the language; they will understand the cultural perspective. They will have the empathy, but they will also have an accountability to their audience and therefore, they need to be far more responsible in their reporting than they might otherwise have been.” Having said that, Alam also recognizes that there could be blind spots when locals tell or report their own stories and therefore having an external perspective is not unhealthy. The problem, according to Alam, emerges when “external forces” or narratives from foreign correspondents become “far more powerful [than the narratives] from the local community, and that imbalance is problematic,” Alam explains, echoing sentiments he shared last time he was in Salzburg in 2016 for the program Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability: “Until the lion finds their storyteller, hunters will always be portrayed as the hero.” Alam’s activism, high profile arrest and subsequent persistence in the face of adversity saw him acknowledged as one of TIME magazine’s People of the Year in 2018. It has been an unexpected rise to fame.   Alam explains that before he was arrested, “I was known in professional circles and people like Sanjeev [Chatterjee] and people here [at Salzburg Global Seminar] knew me, and certainly within Bangladesh, my fellow professionals knew me. But the average person did not. Today if I’m in the streets, I get hugged by people. They have tears in their eyes. They tell me, ‘You said something which all of us wanted to say but we couldn’t.’” After Alam’s arrest, his impact spread throughout Bangladesh and other parts of the world, as many became inspired by his courage. Alam tells the story of a woman who asked him to bless her child. “It moved me,” he said. “I felt that here was a woman who was not bringing up a child to be saved from everything and [to] look after its own interests, but to have the courage to stand up for what is right. And when a mother is prepared to do that, I think there is a lot of hope for a nation,” Alam said. “I think it cannot be that mother alone. It needs to be all of us. And while fear does create fear in other people, so does courage. And I think all it takes is for a few individuals to stand up and be counted, for others to rise up as well. And that’s what’s needed.” The Bailey Morris-Eck Lecture on International Media, Economics, and Trade was established out of the generosity of Salzburg Global board member Bailey Morris-Eck and her family. The lecture is delivered annually at Salzburg Global Seminar programs. The Salzburg Global program, The Cost of Disbelief: Fracturing Societies and Erosion of Trust, is part of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change.
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