M100YEJ 2020

M100 Young European Journalists Workshop 2020

„The local-global nexus: Exploring new strategies for local journalism in the post-covid era”
27 August – 17 September 2020 (online)

Author: Sophia Wellek

 

The M100 Young European Journalists Workshop (M100YEJ) as part of the international media conference took place for the 16th time this year. Due to the covid-situation the workshop this year involved virtual participation for the first time: nearly 25 invited participants from around the world will interact virtually at high-profile discussion groups.

The future of the European Union also hinges on the future of its democratic public sphere. Local journalism plays a vital role in this. For even as communication increasingly transcends national media landscapes  due to transnational problems such as climate change and the growing importance of Facebook, YouTube and Netflix, local journalism remains a central cornerstone of democracies.

After all, it is often through local reporting that the global becomes specific, that people learn about the concrete impact of abstract developments, that the powerful become relatable – and accountable. Today, the wide-ranging disruption of media and journalism has hit local journalism hard, causing massive economic pressures. Media diversity is shrinking, rendering reporting increasingly one-dimensional and under-funded.

Under the heading “The local-global nexus: Exploring new strategies for local journalism in the post-covid era”, the young journalists dealt with the future of (local) journalism in a global world along the dimensions of politics, business, society and innovation. A central element of the workshop consisted of an interdisciplinary scenario-process on the future of our European media landscape 2030. The results served as a structuring basis for the discussions at the international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium entitled „NEUSTART: Shaping the Post-Covid Media Order“ that took stock of the role journalism has played and its performance throughout the pandemic.

The M100YEJ is an initiative of Potsdam Media International e.V. and is funded by the Federal Press Office, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, and the National Endowment for Democracy. Cooperation partners include the European Youth Press, Europa United, Orange Magazine, Institute for Media and Communications Policy.

 

Programme
Thursday, 27 August 2020

 POLITICS: Starting the journey: EU, Media and Journalism

Sophia Wellek (M100) and Leonard Novy (IfM)

After a short introduction to M100, the agenda, the workshop trainers and the technical rules on Zoom with project manager Sophia Wellek, all participants introduced themselves and their motivations and expectations. During interactive discussions about the challenges and opportunities of modern journalism afterwards, the young journalists also had the opportunity to get to know each other better in small breakout sessions and exchange their different experiences with journalism in their home countries. In the plenary session, the results were finally compiled, compared and evaluated, which illustrated especially the different conditions and requirements for journalism in Europe and the world.

The first workshop trainer Leonard Novy, Director of the Institute for Media and Communication Policy (IfM), gave a short introduction about the role of local journalism in a global world. Due to the national media systems, which largely organize themselves through local media and which make up the European public sphere, cross-border problems such as climate change, migration or the future of the European Union could so far only be discussed on a local level. Local journalism would act as a mediator so that Europe and global issues in general become concrete, people better understand the real effects of abstract developments and the powerful become relative and accountable. The EU Council Presidency currently meeting in Germany is another example of where local journalists can build a bridge to the citizens. It can have a significant impact on the European Union, but it still seems very abstract to the average citizen. Local journalism could mediate here and explain its goals and impact to readers in a simplified way.

According to Novy, a further central connection between the state and future of local journalism and European politics is that the EU is the decisive authority on the framework conditions for media and journalism in the platform age.  For example, the discussions on the topic of digital sovereignty for Europe, as they played a major role during the German EU Council Presidency, were ultimately about the ability to act and the framework conditions that make it possible to assert central basic values such as freedom of participation, freedom of information and the media, and diversity under new conditions.

Ulrike Guérot is the founder and director of the European Democracy Lab at the European School of Governance and works as a journalist, essayist and analyst on issues pertaining to European integration and the role of Europe in the world. In a fpllowing Q&A discussion, she emphasized the role of journalism for the sustainability of the European Union. The crisis of the EU could mainly be traced to its democratic deficit, she said: Its top-down approach would strengthen EU-critical and populist currents and its legitimacy would be increasingly questioned by citizens. Only a shift to a bottom-up method, through which citizens would once again have a greater sphere of influence and citizens rather than states would be the main actors, could strengthen European democracy and its backing.

Local journalism is particularly important for this purpose, as it determines what role and space Europe plays in reporting, and because it could promote civic engagement at the European level through citizen journalism in local affairs. In this way, local journalism could also promote citizens to become more active in the EU and strengthen European democracy.

A positive example of initiatives that promote civic participation is also the project of the Conference on the Future of Europe (#CoFoE), initiated by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in which citizens from all around the Union and not only from the capitals of Europe are consulted about European issues and debated together.

Guérot also called on young journalists to think more about the semantics in their reporting, because it would lead to action, which in turn would produce new effects. In concrete terms, she said that the word “national” should disappear completely from the reporting. In times of fragmented editorial offices, the emphasis on “national” should finally be abandoned in order to promote a sense of unity and cohesion. To the objection whether this was not one-sided reporting, Guérot referred to Hannah Arendt. From her point of view, there was no objectivity, but only a consensus on prejudgements to keep societies together, which the press should represent. She also pointed to a widespread error of reasoning “ad hominem”, where instead of positions, people like Trump are attacked. In a further Q&A discussion she responded to further questions of the participants.

In conclusion, Guérot answered the workshop’s core question of how she imagines Europe’s media order in 2030. Since she is strongly in favor of Europe’s digital sovereignty and demands that Europe is finally independent of the Sillicon Valley and the monopolies, she argued only a European platform could present a sustainable solution.

The topic of Europe’s digital infrastructure is also a central theme of the programme of the EU Council Presidency which has high priority at the meetings in Germany. Several EU initiatives to build a secure and trustworthy, sovereign European data infrastructure have already been launched. Tiemo Wölken is a Member of the European Parliament in the Progressive Alliance of the Socialist Group (S&D) and focuses in particular on digital policy, e.g. as rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee on the Digital Services Act, which deals with possible rules for online platforms and social media, how to deal with illegal content and the question of upload filters, among other things. In his own-initiative report, Wölken focused on the protection of freedom of opinion and fundamental rights without upload filters, the restricted distribution of fake news and conspiracy theories without censorship, and more data protection for less personalized advertising. In his input, Wölken emphasized that agreement at the European level on digital infrastructure is essential because the public knows no boundaries online on the Internet and independent regulation of different national players is therefore not efficient. Although the efficiency of European regulation is very limited by the consensus principle, he pointed to numerous positive successes of European regulation, e.g. in the area of data protection, which also stands out internationally as a positive example. With regard to the topic of disinformation, he clearly stated that fake news is permitted on the basis of the freedom of opinion that applies in Europe and therefore may not be deleted. However, the decisive measure, which he also mentioned in the Digital Services Act report, is regulation so that platforms no longer earn money with fake news and their distribution is no longer promoted by economic incentives. Further questions about the prospects for European digital sovereignty were addressed in the subsequent Q&A. Instead of a European platform as mentioned by Ulrike Guérot, he would, for example, rather plead for stronger competition law to limit the supremacy of the platforms.

Afterwards, Thilo Kunzemann, spokesman of the European Parliament in Berlin, gave a presentation on contact points and available online tools such as multimedia products and audiovisual services for journalists reporting on EU policies. One way for journalists to obtain more in-depth information on specific EU topics is, for example, to participate in topic-specific press conferences for which online accreditation is available. In addition, all members of the European Parliament meet once a week in a plenary session to discuss all upcoming agenda items due to the high number of legislative projects, in order to get an overview. For all meetings there are always webstreams available online. Due to its high political relevance, the President of the Commission’s State of the Union address with a stocktaking and outlook for the EU can also be followed live on the EU website every year and embedded and broadcast in HD format on the media website due to a provided URL on the EU website. In addition, one can subscribe to newsletters and be continuously informed about topic-specific developments in the EU. It was also interesting to note that audiovisual material is made available free of charge by the EU for media and journalists and that live recordings of the meetings are also made available to all media. In addition, a multimedia center makes a large amount of videos, pictures and radio reports on EU topics available for download in its online archive. Kunzemann also referred to the numerous press spokespersons of each member state or EU committee, who are always available and can assist in the search for information. The website Twitterpolis helps to get an overview of the wide range of EU Twitter accounts. There are also numerous websites that refer to all EU activities, for example, you can click on a specific region on an online map and immediately get an overview of EU project funding and measures in the region, or you can choose a specific topic and also get an overview.

 

Friday, 28 August 2020

 BUSINESS: Financing journalism: media income streams

Pavel Andreev (7×7) und Kirill Artemenko (paperpaper.ru)

The M100YEJ Workshop is also attended annually by young Eastern European and Russian journalists who, unlike some Western European participants, have also had experience with authoritarian regimes with limited press freedom. Against this background the workshop of the two local and at the same time independent journalists Pavel Andreev and M100YEJ 2014 Alumni Kirill Artemenko was especially interesting. Media in Russia that are not close to the government find it difficult to finance themselves, especially since they do not accept any state subsidies in favor of their independence. 7×7 and paperpaper.ru are both local media that have found ways to make their reporting possible in Russia despite limited press freedom, among other things by diversifying their sources of financing. First, both presented their Russian media: 7×7 stands out because it is community-based, works closely with local activists and is very well connected in the non-profit sector.  Paperpaper.ru stands out for its diverse range of media products, including events, newsletters, local coverage, native ads, podcasts and sociological studies and its mission to support minorities in Russian cities by capturing issues that connect minorities.

The goal of the business workshop of Pavel Andreev (7×7) and Kirill Artemenko (paperpaper.ru) was to show the young journalists a wide range of possible sources of financing, since in their view only a diversification of the sources of income media and journalism can ensure their financial stability. For example, the media could also generate income through events, native ads, crowdfunding, public and individual donations, consulting, subscriptions, but above all it is important to invest in its “brand value”.

The workshop day was divided into three sections (1) “Native Advertising” (2) “Funding by NGOs & Foundations” (3) “Segmenting the audience for creating external commercial media product” and (4) “Crowdfunding: management and IT tools”, for each of which optional tasks were assigned according to content input, which could be worked on individually and, if necessary, with the support of Pavel and Kirill during the breaks, and then discussed and evaluated together.

(1) Native Advertising

 

(2) Funding by NGOs & Foundations

 

(3) Segmenting the audience for creating external commercial media product

(4) Crowdfunding: management and IT tools

 

 

Saturday, 29 August 2020

SOCIETY: Journalism, diversity and changing societiesSheila

Mysorekar (Neue Deutsche Medienmacherinnen)

Sheila Mysorekar is a board member of Neue Deutsche Medienmacherinnen (New German Women Media Makers) and works with the NGO to achieve more diversity in reporting and also to give minorities and migrants a voice in Germany. In order to raise awareness about the problems surrounding the issue of diversity in journalism, Mysorekar used examples of how minorities have been portrayed in the media over the past 50 years, primarily through journalistic articles and front pages of various media. It is noticeable that existing discriminatory stereotypes would sometimes even be reinforced, and minorities would not be comprehensively represented: For example, Muslim women are often portrayed one-sidedly as “oppressed victims”, “exotic” or even “dangerous”. At the same time, the narrative with racist stereotypes about minorities has a very long tradition, said Mysorekar, and therefore referred to developments in history that are unknown in many places, such as the “Pig Laws” in the USA, 9/11 or colonialism, which promoted racism. Against this background, she emphasized various necessary changes and measures in journalism: Journalists should receive anti-racist training, the editorial offices in the media should be more diverse, minorities should be represented more comprehensively in the media, i.e. not only extreme cases but also their everyday life should be portrayed, articles on crime should not be immediately associated with specific ethnic groups in the media, migrants should also be given a voice in the media and journalists should pay more attention to their wording regarding migrants.

Podcasting with Europa United

Ken Sweeney (Europa United)

Ken Sweeney also gave a workshop on podcasting afterwards. But first he presented Europa United, which he founded in Ireland in 2016. The aim of Europa United is to stimulate debate about Europe and provide a platform for writers and journalists. Europa United also offers a wide range of podcasts, which Sweeney has had a very positive experience with. He therefore recommends that young journalists make more frequent use of this format. First, he referred to numerous studies that would show how popular podcasts are with the public and what consumer behavior looks like. Furthermore, Sweeney gave various personal recommendations for the equipment needed to perform podcasts, such as cell phones or even professional cameras and microphones and various editing software programs. He also pointed out different platforms where you could offer your podcasts for little money and gave advice on how to make your podcast as attractive as possible for listeners.

 

Donnerstag, 3. September 2020

INNOVATION: Media innovation: Best practices

Frederik Fischer (Mitgründer, piqd)

Frederik Fischer is co-founder of the curating platform piqd.de and board member of Vocer, the leading think tank for media innovation in Germany. On the fourth day of the workshop, the young journalists received input on the topic of innovation in journalism. In times of change, innovation is a high priority for media. But what does innovation in journalism mean – product development, new ways of working together or the distribution of content? Against this background, Fischer first presented a method for organizational development that would promote adaptivity and feedback loops for effective product development. Agile project management means facing up to change, even in the development phase, with the value for the company always being the first priority. However, due to its product-oriented approach, “Agile Journalism” as a method can also be a great opportunity for media makers to further develop their products and helps to set goals and focus their work.

Following, Fischer referred to the chances by innovative formats in journalism, such as newsletters, chatbots or podcasts for example. He pointed to numerous statistics and studies, which reveal the change of consumer behaviour in the last years within the medium range and like that by media to be used could. In particular, against the backdrop of financial pressure of the media and journalists by the tech giants, which absorb the majority at advertising profits and thereby retain only a little share of the profit to the media, media and journalism must consider innovative possibilities for financing, so the appeal of Fischer. Newsletters and other can help to make themselves independent of the platforms and meet the needs of consumers.

As guest speaker Martin Fehrensen, journalist and blogger, informed about his experiences with innovation in journalism. He works at the interface of social media, politics and society. With his latest project, the Social Media Watchdog, he founded a blog that provides his subscribers with newsletters that give a curated overview of the most important news and debates revolving around social media. With little money and time, Fehrensen and other co-founders created briefings that are easily accessible to subscribers via Steady. His example shows that even under difficult financial conditions, journalists can report successfully on specific topics and earn money in the process. The young journalists were able to ask for more details, recommendations and experiences in a Q&A discussion. As an alternative to newsletters and other innovative formats, Fehrensen emphasized the relevance of non-profit journalism, which is financed by foundations and public funds, thus ensuring its independence from the tech giants and protecting media as a cornerstone of democracy.

Finally Fischer gave the task to the young journalists to develop own concepts for newsletters, telegram channels and podcasts and to define both the target group and explain reasons for the consumption. The results were discussed together in the plenary.

 

Saturday, 4 September 2020
Sunday, 5 September 2020
Friday, 11 September 2020
Saturday, 12 September 2020

Scenario Workshop

Liana Lim Hinch (Foresight Intelligence Indonesia Lead)

 

An increasingly important skill in times of digitalization – also and especially for media professionals – is the topic of future management: Anticipating trends and possible future developments and, building on this, making recommendations for action. Foresight Intelligence is a consulting service that supports strategic processes for forecasting the future (Strategic Foresight) using various methods for analyzing complex facts.

In a methodically guided, interdisciplinary, 4-day scenario workshop, various scenarios of possible future media orders (from “worst case” to “best case”) were developed, which finally served as a structuring basis for discussion at the international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium.

 

The following specific questions were addressed: With which media landscape, with which kind of communicative infrastructure, do we want to live in the future, taking into account technological, political and social changes? What other possible scenarios in 2030 are conceivable and plausible? And what do we have to do today to achieve the desired scenario?

After all participants initially identified over 80 possible influencing factors for the media landscape over the next ten years in two surveys, the group agreed on eight key uncertainties that summarize all 80 indicators after a joint discussion: Media trust, technology and AI, media products and their business models, media literacy, authoritarianism, debate culture through populism/fake news and internet freedom.

On the second scenario day, a set of projections based on all eight key uncertainties was formed and the projections were combined to form building blocks for the scenarios. We then made hypotheses about what the result would be over ten years if all these projections were combined.

It was inevitable that some combinations would lead to rather gloomy circumstances. Structural problems, e.g., in the financing of quality journalism or with respect to trust in the media, were anticipated and interacted with – or exacerbated by – social and political upheaval. Through the scenarios, the young journalists realized how these dimensions are interrelated: When factors such as technology or social inequalities are added, this can be tantamount to a storm for a scenario about the media order.

One scenario described how, after a huge refugee crisis, right-wing authoritarian fear and xenophobia stir up in order to gain power in the large European states and take action against the – already weakened – independent media. Under the cloak of data protection, authoritarian governments use personal data of individuals for a splinter Internet, thus limiting digital freedom.

This resulted in a discussion of possible implications. The young journalists emphasized the need for stronger protection of personal data. However, this should not involve a withdrawal of individual digital sovereignty, as otherwise digital freedom would be restricted. Another point of discussion included the introduction of a corrupt infrastructure for verifying facts, which would be used to combat falsified news from authoritarian governments. This leads to a despotic “post truth” that undermines all restricted independent media and supports government propaganda. The assumption here was that independent media were not able to take action against counterfeit news, so the state had to intervene, which consequently created its own truth.

The “best-case” scenario showed that things do not only have to develop negatively: Here the workshop participants described the state of European media until 2030 as stronger. Local media have flourished thanks to constant funding and innovative products that offer consumers direct, relevant and personalized information and redefine the relationship between reader and publication. Consumer trust in the media has been revived and online platforms have been effectively regulated and their power limited.

The core of this scenario is new legislation introduced by the EU, which enforces stronger data protection, limits big-tech growth through anti-monopolisation and a new tax policy. This was motivated by the need to combat systemic misinformation and its impact on democracy and the electoral process.

Although this unified European response may not be particularly likely, it has created the conditions for young journalists to reflect on how journalism can be innovative and rebuild its audience and reputation. The most important finding was therefore that a common approach is needed to increase trust in the media and that new, innovative local and national journalism is both symptomatic and conducive to this trust.

Thus, by systematically dealing with hypothetical “futures”, the workshop participants were sensitized to the wide range of factors influencing future developments, considered a whole spectrum of possible scenarios, discussed the implications and came up with concrete instructions for action. Their message, which is to be carried to the outside world: If current developments continue, our information ecosystems are threatened with collapse. Both politics and media must act!

 Sunday, 13 September 2020

COMMUNICATION: Ergebnispräsentation

Steffen Gorski and Lea Wigger (Design „nachmorgen“)

On the last workshop day, the young journalists learned how to communicate the complex scenarios to the outside world and to the participants of the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium in a simplified and interesting way. To do so, they first formulated their story under guidance and advice, taking care to focus on the priorities of their scenarios and to present the story in an interesting, clear and concise way. They then developed their own storyboards for the selected scenario stories, using various graphic elements created by the graphic designers and taking into account mediated visualization techniques, the time frame and various methods of “sketching”.

 

Thursday, 17 September 2020

M100 Sanssouci Colloquium
NEUSTART: Shaping the Post-Covid Media Order

The results were presented at the international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium, the leading international media gathering for democracy and press freedom. Since 2005, the annual main event, the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium, has enabled some 100 international thought leaders to exchange views on the role and influence of the media in international affairs.

NEUSTART: Shaping the Post-Covid Media Order“ was the title of the international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium. For the first time, the top-class forum took place digitally. Around 100 journalists, scientists and politicians from all over Europe were virtually connected to discuss the post-Covid-19 media order. The opening speech was held by Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at Oxford University. Along the dimensions of economy, politics and society, exclusive roundtable discussions were held in parallel to the event to discuss how Europe’s media landscape can meet challenges such as fake news, the dominance of large platforms, financing difficulties and social polarization and how it can prepare itself for the future. Speakers included Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, Jim Egan, CEO of BBC Global News, and political scientist and author Yascha Mounk. In the final plenary discussion, “The Path Ahead”, introduced by an impulse of the US-American activist Cory Doctorow, the strategic implications of all roundtables were finally brought together.

The results of the scenario process of young journalists at the M100 Young European Journalists Workshop were highlighted in the conference agenda: The impulse “Setting the Scene: “Europe’s Media Landscape 2030: Future Scenarios” formed the basis of the four parallel roundtables, as they made clear what developments can occur if the discussions are not followed by action. In particular, the Call to Action called on the participants to decide on and implement concrete and tough measures. Arthur Mythum, participant of the workshop, therefore emphasized: “This is where you come in. (…) If news continues to be a process from which people feel distanced, how can you rebuild trust, increase your readership and continue to report the truth? How can we arrive at a version of the year 2030 that we have envisioned? A video by the design and animation company nachmorgen, which developed a storyboard with various animations and graphics together with the young journalists on the last day of the workshop, visualized both the negative and positive scenario and was addressed to politics and the media as a Call to Action.

Afterwards, the young journalists were also allowed to actively participate in the online discussions with international thought leaders from the media, politics and science. For example, Victoria Hristova and Juuso Järviniemi pleaded for more education in media literacy for both young and old people in the roundtable discussion on “Politics: Sustaining Democratic Media Ecosystems”. The participation of the young journalists in the international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium was a special opportunity to build up a network with high-ranking media and opinion leaders, politicians and science representatives from all over the world, so that they could get in touch with all participants personally not only in the roundtable discussions but also in the networking opportunities in the breakout sessions.