How is new media shaping the activities and reporting of modern protest movements and humanitarian action? That was one of the topics at the latest Media Trends conference at Webster University’s Geneva campus.
The Media Communications department at the Geneva campus, in partnership with The Institute for Media and Global Governance (IMGG), hosted the third annual media conference around the theme, “New Media Tools and Human Rights,” March 26-27.
Shireen Lindsey-Hirst, IMGG’s founder and co-president, discussed the partnership: “We both share similar values and ethics. Based on these values, our shared vision concerns using media in a socially responsible way as a tool to achieve humanitarian action.“
Award-winning academics and professionals, including the four keynotes Zoriah Miller, Mshai Mwangola, Alma Kadragic and Alison Langley, presented their academic papers and production work relating to new media tools and protest movements.
Journalistic workshops and screenings were conducted throughout the two days. Workshops focused on communicators’ responsibilities in creating ethical mass messages and audiences’ abilities to accurately read the messages.
The theme reflected the timeliness of the issues, most notably the use of social media tools and their use in the “Arab Spring.” Research presented demonstrated both the benefits and the risks inherent in the use of new technologies.
Tammy Rosso, Media Communications Department head at Webster Geneva, spoke of the importance of this issue: “With the advent of these new tools and the ease with which we use them, it becomes important to understand how these new tools affect and shape messages. Hopefully, students who attended will think twice before sending out their next tweet, Facebook post or blog.”
Rosso said the conference provides an opportunity for students to showcase their work in a professional setting, thereby giving them a sense of ownership and a real-work related experience.
Students were able to network with media professionals as well as others working in the field.
Media Trends aims to create awareness of timely issues by putting them in a context thus enabling debate which can be used as a springboard for positive change. The conclusions drawn focused on the need for ethical communicators and media literate audiences if the media are to be used as a way of governing in a socially responsible way.
The program for the conference can be found on www.webster.ch , the conference video will be available by April 21.
Information submitted by Tammy Rosso and Tim Young, Webster University Geneva. For many more photos, visit the conference Facebook page.