Media Academy » Overview

The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change is a unique three-week action research and critical making program that brings young media makers together from around the world to critique and create civic media for social change. The academy focuses on responding to the wicked problems of the world, and values human connections and co-creation of media initiatives to solve them. We focus on developing media and digital literacies that can be applied to inform intractable issues that face us today. The arc of the Academy is as follows:

  • Mission - The Salzburg Academy challenges students and faculty to harness creative media to inform global problem-solving.
  • Vision - Our vision is to encourage a generation of innovators in journalism, communications research and information design who can drive institutional and community change at scale.
  • Strategy - Our strategy is to convene extremely promising students from highly diverse backgrounds, expose them to leading thinkers and practitioners, and support breakthrough collaborations that result in implementable practices, technologies, and designs.
  • Program - We partner with selected universities to identify students with remarkable promise, and to create a laboratory environment where media innovation can flourish, face-to-face and virtually.
  • Outcomes - Salzburg Academy faculty and fellows deploy media applications, analysis and reporting to produce specific breakthroughs in problem framing, understanding and solution.

Over 70 students and a dozen faculty from all five continents gather annually in Salzburg to work in international teams and across disciplines. Since be founded in 2007, a global network of young media innovators has emerged, with over 750 students, 150 faculty, and a host of visiting scholars and practitioners. In this time, participants in the Academy have built:

  • Prototypes plans for media innovation
  • Global Case Studies that explore media's role in the world across borders, cultures, and divides
  • Digital Vignettes that show media's impact on the world
  • Global Media Literacy Models for engaging communities to be more sustainable and vibrant in digital culture
  • A Network of young media innovators that work to lead and invent the future media industries best suited for success in digital culture

We have had the pleasure of welcoming the following visiting scholars:

  • Richard Goldstone - South African judge who helped bring down the Apartheid / UN chief prosecutor
  • Dana Priest - Pulitzer-prize winning journalist for CBS / Washington Post
  • Richard Ford - Pulitzer Prize Winning Author
  • Bianca Jagger - Social Activist
  • Tom Stoppard - Playwright
  • Henry Jenkins - Founder, MIT Center for Civic Media
  • Anthony Kennedy - US Supreme Court Justice
  • Liz Lufkin - Yahoo News front page editor
  • Charles Sennott - founder of the GlobalPost
  • Will Dobson - foreign policy editor at Slate
  • Lucio Mesquita - director, BBC Monitoring
  • Martin Weiss - Head of Press Dept, Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Maya Morsi - UNDP Egypt
  • Ivan Seigal - Director, Global Voices

Upcoming Sessions in 2017:

Salzburg Academy on Media and Social Change
July 16 to August 5, 2017

 

What Media Can Change

Salzburg Academy students develop DIY playbook for building a better world
Salzburg Academy students develop DIY playbook for building a better world
Aceel Kibbi 
More than 80 students have come together as part of a three-week program to create a series of interactive exercises to educate others about global populism and extremism.Participants at this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change – entitled Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism – included students from Argentina, Austria, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Egypt, Finland, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Palestine, Singapore, Slovakia, Syria, the UK, the United States, and Venezuela. Together they produced projects for an online DIY playbook: reaction.community.The online publication aims to identify how populism and extremism operates and affects people of different ages, backgrounds and ethnicities around the world. Students were organized into groups where they brainstormed, conducted research, and identified case studies related to populism and extremism. The ideas were then transformed into “playable problems.”Some of the themes explored in this year’s publication are children’s rights, climate change, reporting on extremism, the protection of journalists, the power of photo manipulation, the history and future of populism, violence against women, and freedom of information. The projects aim to facilitate dialogue and promote engagement through a product-based approach. They also invite the audience to develop a sense of solidarity and harness the right tools to stand in the face of oppression in all of its forms. Multimedia elements including videos, infographics, music playlists, interactive maps, text-based games, e-zines, comics, and data visualizations make up a number of the projects. Paul Mihailidis, program director of the Salzburg Academy and associate professor at Emerson College, Boston, USA, said: “The 83 students, 13 faculty and 15 visiting experts came together to create a meaningful civic media intervention that provides creative media solutions for responding to harmful populist rhetoric. Their work emerged out of a commitment to themselves, and each other, to be open, honest, and creative, and open to new ideas. Only then can they create creative media that is by them, for their peers, and focused on social impact at local and global levels.”Students’ ideas were inspired by conversations which took place throughout the Academy. Throughout the three weeks, students explored how media are framed by design choices, algorithmic bias, data manipulation, and commoditized content. To expand their international outlook on media and politics, they took part in plenary sessions, workshops, reading groups and hands-on exercises that challenged their creativity and transformed their thoughts into action. Topics covered included critical media making, the intersection of civic imagination and civic media, bridging cultural divides, challenging social gaps, journalism ethics and media literacy. Guest speakers at this year’s Academy included US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and acclaimed journalist Robin Wright, a contributing writer for The New Yorker.This year’s students, who hailed from five different continents, put their differences aside to discuss one of the world’s most pressing problems. Not only did the Salzburg Academy serve as a safe space for healthy debate and dialogue, it also acted as a “brave space” – where participants reaped the benefits of challenging their perspectives and beliefs.In among the discussions and work, students were taken on cultural and poignant trips into the Alps and to the Mauthausen Memorial Site. Students also took part in a “Seeing Media” image contest, which provided a mosaic of visual art which shows how the Academy visualized global issues today.Connor Bean from Bournemouth University, UK, said: “Seeing how people from different parts of the world can come together and allow their perceptions to collide rather than clash has been the highlight of my time at the Salzburg Academy. The motivation and drive in certain people inspired me to make a change in my community and allowed me to have a whole new view on the world.”Rachel Hanebutt, a graduate student at Emerson College, Boston, USA, said: “Making connections on multiple continents, I left the Salzburg Academy feeling re-energized and ready to use my media and communication skills to make positive change in not only my community, but in the world. Before Salzburg, I didn’t realize how truly powerful media can be in shaping societies and changing perspectives; whether it is populism or climate change, I now know that I want to be a part in creating more just and equitable political systems, through media. More than anything, this Academy allowed me the time and space to focus in on what is truly important to me, which inadvertently helped me to more deeply understand I want to accomplish in the short term, as well as in my long term goals.”The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change was launched by the international non-profit organization, Salzburg Global Seminar in 2007 in partnership with leading universities on five continents. Over its 11 years, more than 700 alumni have taken part in the three-week program at its home, the palace Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria. The Academy has taken a pioneering lead in media education, tackling issues of global concern with a focus on media literacy and civic engagement. Academy alumni have been inspired to become change-makers and leaders, taking pro-active positions in education, media, technology and politics. Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long-running multi-year program, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here: www.SalzburgGlobal.org/go/sac11.
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Academy students narrow down project ideas ahead of presentations
Academy students narrow down project ideas ahead of presentations
Aceel Kibbi 
Students at this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change are one step closer to transforming their thoughts into actions following a busy week of activity.The second week of this year’s Academy - Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism - saw students working closer together in their groups ahead of their final presentations next week.Design-focused workshops helped inform the students’ creative thinking process as they brainstormed ideas. Pitches encompassing these early ideas were made midway through the week, enabling students to garner feedback from faculty and make improvements to their work.Listed below are some of the takeaways students walked away with ahead of the final week of the program.On challenging the value gap with empathyStudents were asked to think about the inequalities that prevail in their communities and reflect on how the media reinforce and/or challenge those beliefs, habits and practices. After exchanging their reflections, students understood value gaps operate similarly around the world and that, more often than not, the media re-emphasize those gaps. Therefore, students were asked to develop a moral imagination, one driven by empathy, and centralize their media making around it to transfer that empathy to others and shake the pillars of inequality.On telling the stories of the victim and the perpetratorDefinitions of terrorism, extremism and victimhood are often in state of flux in the media, and these “mediated” definitions have proposed countless challenges to storytellers and journalists. Students were introduced to the communication strategies practiced by leading media producers and extremist political regimes. As they reviewed a series of case studies, they tried to untangle the symbiotic knots that connect media and populism together. They formulated a conclusion that terrorism has become a media spectacle that’s being abused by populists to ignite fear. Students were advised to interrogate journalistic norms, minimize sensationalism in reporting, and fully immerse themselves in the stories they tell. On critical media making and social innovationCommodification has infected the media industry with sameness and has put future media makers at the forefront of innovation. Students discovered how creative acupuncture could be used to challenge mainstream media producers and inform consumers about social issues. They were introduced to various forms of media, including print, audio, video, photo, games, and other interactive formats. They also explored the means of creating and designing civic media that challenges social norms and preserves cultural integrity. By examining design thinking methods and participatory mechanisms, students discovered the potential of games and play in creating meaning, cultivating care, inviting participants to engage in social issues, and motivating them to search for solutions.On confronting the past and moving forwardAhead of a poignant trip to the Mauthausen Memorial, students gathered for a screening of Night and Fog - a documentary produced in 1956 depicting the horrors of Nazi concentration camps. Students were asked to critically think about the power of media in creating narratives of change, documenting events and providing perspectives on extremism and populism. In an effort to face the challenges that plague our world today, students and faculty entered a space of open dialogue, reflecting on the past and future. Students and faculty recognized the importance of developing a sense of responsibility which goes beyond the limitations of their own beliefs, norms and communities. Discussions will continue next week as students make the finishing touches to their projects. Final presentations will take place on Thursday. Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long-running multi-year program, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here: http://www.salzburgglobal.org/go/sac11. You can also follow all the discussions on Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSmedia.
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Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks at Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change
Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks at Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change
Salzburg Global Seminar 
US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy made a guest appearance at this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change to discuss the revolution of the cyber age. The senior Associate Justice addressed more than 80 students on Monday morning as the second week of the Academy got under way. Justice Kennedy spoke to students for an hour, covering topics such as the opportunities and limitations the internet has presented and the significance of civic participation. At the beginning of his talk, Justice Kennedy said, “Journalists have to begin to understand we are in a new world.” He went onto discuss how conventional institutions and structures were being bypassed as a result of the internet and how individuals were now participating in the revolution of the cyber age. During his lecture, Justice Kennedy also reserved praise for Wikipedia, which he described as one of the most fascinating and inspiring works of modern civilization. He remarked on the vast body of human knowledge which had been collected, describing it as a marvelous tribute to the human spirit. He said, “The cyber age has tremendous potential, as indicated with Wikipedia. But if it bypasses space and time where there’s just this obsession with the present – this neglect of our heritage and history – then our world will change.” Following his talk, Justice Kennedy proceeded to take questions from the audience for half an hour. Students at this year’s Academy – Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism – are reflecting on the media’s coverage of global populism, the role it has played in contributing to it, and how the media might be used to stem this movement. Justice Kennedy first attended Schloss Leopoldskron in 1988 – the same year he was appointed to the US Supreme Court – as a member of the faculty for Session 269 – American Law and Legal Institutions. Since then, Justice Kennedy has served as faculty or as a guest lecturer at two law-related sessions, five sessions of the Global Citizenship Program, and on one other occasion at the inaugural Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. In 2016, he hosted the sixth annual Lloyd N. Cutler Lecture on the Rule of Law: Law and the Use of Force. Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long-running multi-year program, the Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here: http://www.salzburgglobal.org/go/mediaacademy2017. You can also follow all the discussions on Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSmedia. 
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Analyzing the media's response to populism and extremism
Analyzing the media's response to populism and extremism
Aceel Kibbi 
More than 80 students from 25 countries have convened at Schloss Leopoldskron to take part in this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change - Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism. Participants are discussing populism and extremism in the media landscape, and will go onto create multimedia projects to unmask fake news and counteract intolerance. Over the past few days, students have been asked to reflect on the devices employed by political leaders around the world, and recognize the importance of analyzing the media’s role in manipulating information and serving power over truth. Several faculty members have presented their research and conducted interactive workshops. Listed below are a few of the takeaways students have been able to gain so far. On bridging cultural divides In less than 90 minutes of the program's start on Monday, students at this year’s Academy felt comfortable enough to share personal narratives about their identities and cultural backgrounds with one another. By doing so, they realized that they belong to one geographical knot that represents their diverse identities and values – they’re tangled in a multicultural web that would only fall apart were they fail to embrace their varied ideals. On media literacy and active citizenship In the light of the steady decline of trust in mass media and the rejection of evidence-based journalism, students heard there is a need for a media-literate response. Students learned the differences between a media literate individual and an active citizen, while challenging the misconception the two terms have similar meanings. They also heard there was a need for new sets of constructs for how media literacy can be impactful in battling extremism. Students walked away with a better understanding of how digital culture and new legacy networks foster partisanship and diminish one’s capacity to identify problems. With a sharper critical consciousness, students will now be able to effectively cultivate agency and build mechanisms to push communities to respond to them. On victimhood and social divisions The recipe for extremism has several main ingredients: blame, avoidance, attribution, and victimhood. Students learned how to challenge ideology by analyzing the definition of change, power, ignorance, freedom, resistance, populism and extremism. They also reflected on the dangers of victimhood and the ripple effect it creates - it divides people, breeds a competitive nature between them, and disempowers responsibility, which in turn fosters revenge, appropriation of general will and extremism. On the ethics of journalism in covering extremism There are challenges to reporting on extremism while abiding by the code of ethics in journalism. Students learned the methodology journalists follow when selecting the proper tone, angle, sources, and multimedia elements for a story, while keeping the benefit of the public in mind. Through a series of thought-provoking case studies, students put these guidelines into practice. To challenge their intuition even further, students were shown how images could be used as a powerful tool to represent different sides of extremism. Students were also encouraged to critically evaluate mainstream media outlets’ journalistic standards. On creating relationships through imagination The students’ imagination was put into practice when they were asked to envision a future world in which they would aspire to live. Some of the components they discussed included citizenship, identity, media, justice, healthcare, environment, participation, identity, education, human rights, international reform, technology, and religion. Together, they experienced the power of civic imagination in harnessing social connections, forging solidarity and imagining alternatives to current social, political and economic institutions. Discussions continue next week. Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long-running multi-year program, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/sac11. You can also follow all the discussions on Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSmedia.
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Robin Wright - “As long as we are trapped in our own sources of identity, we’re never going to find common ground”
Robin Wright - “As long as we are trapped in our own sources of identity, we’re never going to find common ground”
Oscar Tollast 
Acclaimed journalist Robin Wright helped kick-start this year’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change by reaffirming the need to engage with those with whom we disagree. Wright, a contributing writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1988, and a joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, spoke on, “How did we end up here and where are we headed?” as she delivered the 2017 Ithiel de Sola Pool Lecture. Recounting her experiences, having reported from more than 140 countries, Wright talked about her time in South Africa during the 1970s, being present at the Iranian Revolution in 1979, travelling with Pope John Paul II, reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall, living in Lebanon during its Civil War, and reporting on the Arab Spring. After her talk, Wright said, “I hope the students understand this is a period of epic human history, a period of transition, that the challenges they face in the 21st century are unparalleled [and] that [it] will take imagination and determination and vision to figure out how we make the transition from an era of nation states into regional blocs into globalization.” Wright indicated the same determinants would be required to create institutions that could address the challenges of the human race – be it governance, security, climate change, commerce, or equality in the labor force. To tackle these challenges, Wright suggested people need to be prepared to become part of something bigger. She said, “The most important thing any person can do at any point in their life is stand on top of the world and look down, and try to get beyond our own sources of identity and security to look at what it’s going to take to resolve the challenges we face.” Wright warned people to avoid getting locked into primordial instincts and primordial identities surrounding ethnicities, race, religion or gender. "Peace is only established when we understand compromise and the need for common good,” she said. During this year’s Academy - Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism - students will reflect on the media’s coverage of global populism, how much it has contributed to its rise, and how it might be used to stem this tide. “The real challenge is how do you get beyond communicating with someone whom you disagree,” Wright said. “Through almost half a century of journalism, I’ve always believed if you’re covering a war, you begin on the other side, because you know what you or your side wants or is fighting for.  “It’s the same thing in a cultural clash and differences over world views, religion, and once we begin to understand the common denominators of the human dilemma, then we begin to find solutions. As long as we are trapped in our own sources of identity, we’re going to never find common ground. That’s the real challenge of the 21st century.” While speaking to students and faculty, Wright urged them to go to places they felt most uncomfortable. A saying which appears on her computer is, “Do something today that scares you.” Wright described this moment in time as the “most important in history” and it was the turn of the students – the next generation of journalists – to chronicle it. Wright spoke as part of the 2017 Ithiel de Sola Pool Lecture on the Impact of Communications Technology on Society and Politics. She has worked for outlets such as the Washington Post, CBS News, and the Los Angeles Times. Wright has also received the UN Correspondents Gold Medal, the National Magazine Award for reportage from Iran, and the Overseas Press Club Award for “best reporting in any medium requirement exceptional courage and initiative” for her coverage of African wars. This Ithiel de Sola Pool Lecture was created in honor of three-time Salzburg Global faculty member Ithiel de Sola Pool, a pioneer in the development of social science and network theory. Dr. Pool served as a faculty member during Session 45, American Society, in 1956; Session 77, American Foreign Policy, in 1962; and Session 203, Development, Communication and Social Change, in 1981. Watch Wright's lecture in full in the video below. Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long-running multi-year program, the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here: http://www.salzburgglobal.org/go/sac11. You can also follow all the discussions on Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSmedia. 
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Voices Against Extremism - Media Responses to Global Populism
Voices Against Extremism - Media Responses to Global Populism
Aceel Kibbi 
Economic and social disorder have long proven to be key factors affecting the rise and decline of populism. Today, populism growing stronger in several countries such as the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Poland. Populist leaders are using their power to actively subvert the freedom of the press, threatening journalists and hindering free speech. This summer, over 80 students will fly from 10 countries and participate in the Salzburg Global session, Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism to explore how the media - in all its forms - can stem this tide.  The session is part of the Salzburg Academy for Media and Global Change, an annual three-week program that brings together students from diverse academic backgrounds and nationalities to explore the intersection of students’ own experiences, their understanding of the media and how it can be used to address pressing global concerns. During the Salzburg Academy’s 11th session, participants will reflect on the media’s coverage of global populism, and analyze how the media is contributing towards it - and by harnessed to positively respond. Led by over 30 faculty and guest speakers, students will participate in a series of plenary sessions, reading groups, screenings and civic media workshops to create collaborative multimedia projects that aim to bridge divides, challenge global misconceptions and overcome intolerance. To bolster their creativity, participants will also be exposed to a diverse range of topics from documentary filmmaking, game design, data visualization, multi-platform storytelling and civic media activism. The Salzburg Academy will use this strategy to discuss personal narratives, discover how they connect, and harness the power of this connection to re-imagine public media narratives. Students from Emerson College, University of Argentina, Bournemouth University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Iberoamericana University, Lebanese American University, and other academic institutions will be guided by leading media practitioners, including Robin Wright from The New Yorker, Florian Scholochow, the founder and CEO of Mohemian and Brian Hanley from Internews. The Salzburg Academy celebrated its 10th anniversary last year in 2016. The session tackled the topic of migration and explored its portrayal in public media and digital culture. Students collaborated on dynamic multi-media essays that explored diverse and creative ways of connecting human migration stories in hopes of educating media consumers on the social, cultural and political impacts of global migration. Stories were published on “MOVE”, a publication created by faculty and students of the 2016 Salzburg Academy. Seventy years ago this summer, 97 exceptional young men and women gathered for Salzburg Global Seminar’s first session to examine America and heal war-time wounds after World War II. This year, the Salzburg Academy students will be meeting at the same time to stand in the face of extremism, proving that Salzburg Global’s mission to challenge current and future leaders remains just as true and important today. Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism is part of Salzburg Global Seminar’s long running multi-year program Salzburg Academy of Media and Global Change. More information on the session can be found here: http://www.salzburgglobal.org/go/mediaacademy2017. You can also follow all the discussions on Twitter and Instagram by following the hashtag #SGSmedia.
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Paul Mihailidis - Media literacy needs be intentionally civic
Paul Mihailidis - Media literacy needs be intentionally civic
Oscar Tollast 
In an attempt to decipher whether people are becoming less able to assess credibility in media reports, the New York Times has spoken to the Program Director of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, Paul Mihailidis about the creation and spread of fake news. Mihailidis, who recently launched a new graduate program, Civic Media: Art and Practice, at Emerson College in Boston, spoke to the New York Times as part of a Q&A. Interviewed by Sydney Ember, Mihailidis was asked about the proliferation of fake news during the most recent US presidential election, mistakes made interpreting the news, and how people like himself are trying to combat these false assumptions. Mihailidis also discusses the lack of trust in the media and how he’s attempting to teach students to interpret the news in a “polarized media age.” Regarding this latter point, Mihailidis told the New York Times: “Instead of just critiquing the voice, we’re trying to help people think about their voice in the community, the agency they have and what means they take to participate. Media literacy needs to be about connectivity, about engagement — and it needs to be intentionally civic.” Mihailidis is set to publish a paper this spring exploring the spread of fake news, arguing media literacy as it is currently imagined may not solve the problem. To read Mihailidis’ interview in full, please click here. It’s not the first time this year Mihailidis has been spoken to by a media outlet concerning media literacy. In February, Mihailidis spoke to Slate along with Salzburg Global Fellow Renee Hobbs to discuss the role of media literacy in uniting a divided America.  The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, which Mihailidis directs, is an annual three-week summer program at Schloss Leopoldskron which gathers more than 60 students and a dozen faculty to explore media’s role in social and global change. This year’s Academy, Voices Against Extremism: Media Responses to Global Populism, will take place between July 16 and August 5. Students will learn and understand the key concepts of civic media, media literacy, global media, and civic imagination. 
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