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Collaboration and impact: Our insights from the 2024 International Journalism Festival


Collaboration and impact: Our insights from the 2024 International Journalism Festival

Picture of Claudia Fasano
Claudia Fasano — Marketing and Communications Manager
May 01, 2024

The International Journalism Festival in Perugia offers the European Journalism Centre a splendid opportunity to meet and exchange with supporters, followers, and all those interested in our projects.

The #IJF24 was a great opportunity for us to see the impact of our work and connect with other organisations, newsrooms, and media experts in a friendly environment. Over the past eight years, the EJC has been actively involved in and happy to contribute to the festival’s programming, according to Lars Boering, director of the EJC.

In partnership with the Bonn Institute and the Solutions Journalism Network, we hosted a pleasant networking event called the Solutions Aperitivo. Additionally, on 19th April, we organised two panels—one on Solutions Journalism and another on Data Journalism—and moderated one on Investigative Journalism.

The ability of solution-focused reporting to promote effective change in media and communities was proven by EJC’s Zlatina Siderova, in conversation with Michaëla Cancela Kieffer, Nina Fasciaux, and Tina Lee. Although past challenges must be considered, the panel was enthusiastic about the achievements and shared strategies for overcoming scepticism. As a recurring and acknowledged method, the panellists underlined the substantial development that Solutions Journalism has achieved over the years. These outcomes owe a great deal to the work of the Solution Journalism Accelerator, which was instrumental in launching solutions journalism across Europe.

Nina Fasciaux, Zlatina Siderova, Michaëla Cancela Kieffer and Tina Lee, durig the panel "Sparking enthusiasm: igniting a passion for solutions journalism in your newsroom"

An established session at the International Journalism Festival is the EJC’s Data Journalism panel, which provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities within the field. As one of the main sessions during the festival focused on data-supported investigative reporting, Lars Boering and Tara Kelly,  in a discussion with Niamh McIntyre, Ben Heubl, and Ashley Kirk reaffirmed the European Journalism Centre's commitment to supporting data journalists worldwide and made the results of our yearly survey on the current state of data journalism central in the exchange.

Meanwhile, Vera Penêda successfully moderated a panel organised by Forbidden Stories, which discussed the important topic of Investigative Journalism and silenced journalists. One of the main points of the discussion was the importance of international cooperation in the face of increasing challenges to freedom of the press, as demonstrated by Dmitry Muratov's enlightening pre-recorded speech. Forbidden Stories and OCCRP are just two of many groups that work together in an effort to expose corruption, hold the powerful accountable, all while prioritising the safety of journalists.

Strengthening networks and amplifying voices

The setting in the historic town of Perugia adds a distinct appeal and atmosphere and enables meaningful connections among professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Throughout the #IJF24, we have noticed a clear presence of two main themes: innovation and collaboration. Collaboration catalyses innovation, enabling newsrooms to combine resources, share knowledge, and explore experimental storytelling methods. This not only extends the impact of individual stories but also brings a greater interaction and discussion with the audience, communities, and across different generations.

Vera Penêda, Bastian Obermayer, Miranda Patrucic and Laurent Richard during the panel "How can we pursue the investigations of silenced journalists?"

By amplifying the voices of marginalised communities and promoting collective action on critical issues, this cooperative approach strengthens the impact of journalism. This is particularly true in investigative journalism, where a collaborative approach can support a “safety net system” for journalists and reporters facing persecution, taking them out of isolation and ensuring that their stories have the chance to be heard.

There are so many journalists around the world who are not part of the network. They sit in small newsrooms, sometimes lone wolves working on very dangerous stories without security training or support. The idea that you can put your information out there for somebody to finish a story is a very important deterrent for anybody contemplating killing or doing something to a journalist.

-Miranda Patrucic, editor-in-chief of OCCRP

Essentials for the future of media and journalism

Events like these provide valuable opportunities for professionals to come together, confront shared challenges, and collectively address the myriad complexities inherent in our field.

  • Building an adequate funding system is a top priority. Supporting independent, high-quality investigative journalism is becoming more urgent. Understand that there is no single solution despite extensive discussions, and obviously, ensuring these issues are not overlooked requires ongoing dialogue.
  • We must improve our listening skills and actively seek information from diverse sources, including those with different opinions, to achieve this. This approach avoids forms of polarisation, news avoidance, and can help prevent misinformation. This need is highlighted by a major journalism festival in Perugia, a small town, where creating dialogue between citizens, visitors, and media shows a commitment to diversity and inclusivity.
  • We should think about creative methods to reach younger audiences because it has been proven that despite efforts to make news more engaging, some still avoid it. We are talking about different languages, like art, comics, film, theatre, social media and online platforms. Newsrooms and media must decide how to embrace this younger  audience, which is becoming increasingly prevalent. The risk is leaving a significant portion of the demographics uninformed, contributing to polarisation and misinformation.
Lars Boering, Ben Heubl, Niamh McIntyre, Ashley Kirk and Tara Kelly, during the panel "Conversations with data: what is the state of data journalism?"

Undoubtedly, the International Journalism Festival in Perugia is an iconic event for seasoned journalism, reporting, and media professionals. However, it also provides the next generation of experts a great chance to learn, network, and share their fresh ideas and perspectives. 

I think that it might feel maybe a bit more overwhelming for a starter or an early career professional, but if you begin with the right type of preparation and just trying to find out early what you want to see and who you want to meet. Finding that balance can ensure that you make the most of the event. And of course, the networking opportunities the links, they can inform everyone's work for the year to come. So, I would absolutely recommend it.

-Zlatina Siderova, Programme Lead Grants

You should not pack your schedule too much. Look into the sessions, and if you are interested, put them on your calendar before the festival starts. Be aware that you may not be able to attend some of them. In that case, just be ready to watch them online because all of the sessions are live. If you cannot attend one because the queue is too big, you can always take your phone and listen to and watch the session online.

-Juliette Gerbais, Project Manager at EJC

We would like to express our gratitude to our partners and collaborators for contributing to the fantastic panels and activities we organised together. 

Bonn Institute

Solutions Journalism Network

Agence France-Presse

Unbias the News

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Forbidden Stories

Paper Trail Media

OCCRP (Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project)

We hope we can see you in Perugia next year!


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