Author Archives: Raymond Frenken

On public journalism and fact-checking

One of the good things about the 2014 International Journalism Festival in Perugia was the direct participation of the public. Ultimately, ‘the audience’ is the most important element of any journalistic endeavor. At many journalism conferences that I attended in recent years, the access was ‘exclusively’ for reporters and editors. Discussions often very focused on the ‘upstream’ elements of the production of news stories. Perugia was different.

“The old and new ecosystems are so different that it is necessary to rethink every aspect of the model. We owe it to ourselves.”

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From telex to Twitter

Its World Press Freedom day today. What better moment to take stock of the state of the news revolution and its impact on society? This is basically what is happening here at 2014 International Journalism Festival in Perugia – with a program that includes close to 200 sessions over five days. It’s too ambitious to bring all this together in a single post – I’m definitely not considering this. Only attendance in person can give you a good impression, and even that means that one has to make choices.

For me, this rainy Saturday was marked by Twitter and Google. When I started out as a newswire reporter a quarter of a century ago, the tools available today could not be imagined. From Google today, a clear message that the news revolution has only just begun, and from Twitter, an avalanche of practical tips for news users. My hair may be gray, but here in Perugia, I feel like a kid in a candystore.

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Is Europe ready for pan-European media?

In his keynote speech on Friday, Wolfgang Blau, Director of Digital Strategy at the Guardian News & Media group, made a passionate plea for the creation of pan-European media. It’s a topic that has haunted him for many years, he says, and he hopes to find some answers here at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia.

“How can it be that in the EU, as the world’s largest economy, with more than 500 million citizens, and a high degree of fluency in English, even as Ukraine is on the brink of war… that there still is no pan-European media sphere?” asks Blau.

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Social media verification: fundamental

In the age of social media, everyone is a journalist. The telex and the wires were once the exclusive domain of reporters, which put them in a traditional role as gatekeepers, as ‘guardian’ of information. Today, anyone using mobile phone can immediately share info, facts and rumors with almost anyone else in the world.

So who now is the guardian of the facts that determine how we see the world we live in?

“Journalists should all be upskilled but you need a crack team to do it well.”

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Financial lobbying: time for a fact-check?

Day two of the 2014 International Journalism Festival in Perugia kicked off with a session called ‘Lobbies and Power; tools for transparency and accountability.’ Given that I, since recently, work in Brussels for an organization where lobbying is part of the daily business – I decided to attend, and learned there is a lot to be gained, for starters, from simply engaging in this dialogue.

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Staring into the eyes of Italy’s soul

My highlight of the first day at the 2014 International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, is an unexpected one. It’s not about Google Hangouts, new digital storytelling techniques or gamification.

No, it is about cooking and quality foods. That won’t be a surprise to anyone living here. But what is, is an Italian cook with a status at least as big as a Hollywood moviestar, and with solid arguments against photographing foods with smartphones. “When you take a photo, you loose a bit of the dish.”

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