Hype or Hope? The impact of digital media on journalism and development

6th FoME Symposium in Bonn

In 2011 the role of Internet communication for social and political change has taken on a new dimension. Never before has the impact of digital and social media been discussed so widely as in the context of current social movements like the Arab Spring, where Internet based communication provided an outlet for voices unheard by the state controlled media systems.

The FoME 2011 Symposium will address the question, how “the digital” is changing the production, distribution and consumption of media and it’s potential to contribute to the development of free and independent media in developing countries. Media experts, development practitioners and interested persons are invited to discuss and share their experiences. Focal topics will be:

  • - The impact of digital media on investigative journalism
  • - New tools for gathering and distribution such as data journalism and mobile reporting
  • - Citizen journalism changing the landscape of partners and target groups for media development
  • - Security issues media organizations and journalists working in the digital world need to face


FoME 2011 SYMPOSIUM Topics (as of September, 1)


Day 1, October 25th 2011

Overview and Introduction

Mapping Digital Media – The Impact of Digital Technology on Journalism

The keynote presentation will be held by a representative of the Soros Foundation who will present the key findings of the newly released study: „Mapping Digital Media: Citizen Journalism and the Internet“.


Topic 1 – The Future of Journalism

Digital Investigative Journalism

The traditional media industry is rapidly changing. What are the effects on the supreme discipline of investigative journalism? What new tools and approaches are being used and what models of financing investigative journalism in the future are being developed?



Gordana Igric – Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN)

Gustavo Gorriti – Peruvian Investigative Reporter


Data Journalism – Opportunities and Challenges for Journalists

New technologies and movements for open data are making it easier to navigate through and analyze large amounts of data. What opportunities and challenges does data based journalism create for journalists in developing contexts today? What data is available where and what skills are needed to use data more effectively and generate stories?



Dr. Carl-Christian Buhr – EU Digital Agenda


Mobile Journalism – The Role of Mobile Technologies for Reporting

How can short message services, new smartphones and applications for mobile reporting be used in the context of media development? To which extend can ‘traditional’ journalists still claim the lead in media coverage and content sharing?



Brenda Burrell – Kubatana / Freedom Fone

Sean Mc Donald – FrontlineSMS


Day 2, October 26th 2011

Topic 2 – Bloggers and Citizen Journalists: New Partners for Media Development?

New Media, New Partnerships?

Citizen journalists as new partners for media development organizations: How can media development and citizen journalists work together to promote free and independent media? Who and what is already being supported, with what objectives? The session will include an overview of the key findings of FoME exploratory study on the use, opportunities and obstacles of new media and target groups in the field of media development cooperation as well as case study examples of citizen journalism as citizen empowerment


Topic 3 – Security in the Digital Era

Security Threats in the Digital Era – Dealing with Enemies of the Internet

With the growing use of the Internet as a channel for political communication, activism and journalism, authoritarian governments are becoming increasingly eager to control the net, in particular to silence critical voices. Internet Filtering, censorship, identity theft and repressions against bloggers are increasing, not only in countries such as China and Iran. What threats do media organizations and journalists working online need to be aware of and how can they protect themselves?


Closing Session

On the Road to a Digital Future? An Outlook on Technological Developments

Infrastructure and lack of connectivity are often considered the main problem in developing countries when it comes to using new media. With the mobile revolution and backbone development taking place, this situation may soon be improving significantly. In this final session, we will attempt a view into the future: What are the trends and visions for connectivity in developing countries and what will be their impact on journalism?


You can register here for the 2011 Symposium



Termin: 25.10.2011 (All day) - 26.10.2011 (All day)Veranstalter: Deutsche Welle Akademie and the “Forum Medien und Entwicklung” (FoME)Anmeldekontakt: If you are interested in attending please register before October 10th 2011 by completing the online form or writing to Helmut.Osang@dw-­‐world.de.Forum Medien und EntwicklungAnmeldefrist: 10 October 2011