Panels Discuss the Future of Diaspora Journalism

By Francisco Bozzano-Barnes

Technology, stories that cross borders and growing audiences are three essential points that will catalyze the diaspora media. Sheila Coronel, Director, Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, Graduate School of Journalism, and Columbia University told her audience at the Conference on Media and Democratic Governance in Newark, New Jersey that transnational journalism holds a bright future.

Ms. Coronel originally from Philippines was the keynote speaker at the conference jointly organized by Rutgers University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration and Center for Media and Peace Initiatives, New York.

She provided an overview of investigative journalism experiences from around the world and the appetite for freedom of expression and emphasized on the role of technology in creating opportunities for diaspora journalists. The changing demographics in the United States also show that audiences for the diaspora media will continue to grow.

Another speaker Kevin Whitmer, Editor of The Star-Ledger, Newark, New Jersey explored the world of contemporary journalism dominated by communities of users who are active in creating content. The barriers to entry into journalism are falling and the print news is going out of business. For him there are three main points:

1) There is no substitute for great reporting.

2) The organization is willing to fight for local stories.

3) Will need to detach people from the most pressing to develop good stories, learning to live with dry-holes.

He said that one of the most exportable US products was the First Amendment in terms of democratic governance for media.

Dr. Tapio Varis, former Rector, University of Peace, Costa Rica and current UNESCO Chair in Global e-Learning, who spoke on “Intercultural Dialogue and Media Literacy in the 21st century”, promoted a new humanism in media studies that focused on:

1. Humans must be beyond technology

2. Critical towards technology to exercise technological choice

3. There needs to be a discovery of self.

Dr. Varis spoke of what he called “crowd communication” in making reference to possible abuse of the social media in sharing information and knowledge. He sees a need for autonomy and democracy in the media and promoted 8 core competences:

1. Communication and language 2. Foreign languages 3. Media competence 4- Lifelong learning

5. Unlearn obsolete practices 6. Social and civic competencies 7. Sense of initiative

8. Cultural awareness.

Other speakers at the conference were: Mr. Kahraman Haliscelik, United Nations Bureau Chief for Turkish Radio and TV, Ms. Tando Ntunja, Multimedia journalist and Fulbright Scholar Mr. Milton Allimadi, Publisher, The Black Star News, New York, Ms. Salma Ghalyoun, Syrian pro-democracy activist.

Others were Dr. Susanna Dodgson, Publisher, MJoTA Institute of Medical Writing

Ms. Amani al-Khatahtbeh, Founder, Muslim Girl, Ms. Sire Dione, president of African Women for Good Governance and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and veteran UN reporter Mr. George Alan Baumgarten.

During the wrap up session, participants agreed on the new transformative potential of social media in relation to the activities of the diaspora media.

There was a general consensus, that the conference proposed outcome Project on Courses on Media and Democratic Governance and the Summer Institute for journalists deserved all their support.

There was a lot of discussions on issues related to the transmission of journalistic values and the need to explain how to obtain licenses.

Another concern was to teach how to develop a credible narrative out of fragments of information, and the need to explain how power works in the media and find stories you can get. Understanding as well the interactions between different institutions.

Another recommendation was to expose journalists to doing things they had never done.

The problems of corruption and employment opportunities were also addressed. Recognition was made to the fact that the local journalists are very familiar with their situations.

Emphasis was also placed on the development of entrepreneurial skills and on New Media.

Photo: from left Sussana Hodgson, George Alan Baumgarten and Amani al-Khatahtbeh


Posted by on Jun 16 2012. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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