Introduction to the course
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The course will include the following main topics:
- the need for conflict-sensitive and value-based journalism in a digital age,
- disinformation in the media,
- investigative journalism in the age of open data,
- the monetization, EU funding and sustainability.
The media have always been a battleground for the hearts and minds of citizens in a democracy. Today, the EU and its neighbours find themselves in an intense media-based conflict. The new challenges are characterized by their interdisciplinary nature. Content creators are on the front line of the invisible information war that is going about the minds of nations. The stability of national information spaces often depends on their actions and competences. At the same time, we encounter massive data leaks (Wikileaks, Offshore Leaks, Panama Papers, Football Leaks and others), what significantly empowers media to keep the powerful and wealthy accountable. Reporting objectively and without bias becomes one of the most important commitments of good communication skills. Yet how do different professionals meet this challenge when covering societies afflicted by violence, military conflict, authoritarian practices or religious and ethnic struggle – whether in their home societies or those of others? Furthermore, digitalization and open data, which are becoming increasingly accessible to the public in many countries, offer a long list of new opportunities for as well as a longer list of challenges to professional journalism.
The course will address key questions different media-related professionals encounter when their own cultural values associated with the role and purpose of media face alternative interpretations of information sharing, truth, and power. For professionals covering societies in the ENP region, and from the ENP, selected values, and the practical act of being a reporter, civic journalist, communications specialist or any other media-related expert, can vary widely from the EU perspective. Moreover, It will deal with the issues related to the evolution of the role of media and sources of information in terms of information security and strategic policies. It will discuss contemporary information threats and recipients’ vulnerabilities to it. In this context, special attention will be paid to information risks in social media, the context of the awareness of cyber-threats when working with information, and the potential impact of cyber-attacks on the information space of a given country. Then, the course participants will analyze some of the positive and negative impacts of digital trends on information quality and credibility and how the funding sources for ‘news’ are shifting away from advertising and toward users, and the implications this has on the way media structure their organizations and measure their impact.