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

Seventh Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change Opens
Seventh Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change Opens
Louise Hallman 
This weekend saw the opening of the seventh Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, welcoming 66 students from 15 colleges on five continents. Leading the teaching of the intensive and highly selective three-week program is faculty of 20 university academics and leading journalists, documentary makers and media specialists. The seventh year of the program not only covers and builds on previous years’ curricula on media and visual literacy, but will also follow the interconnected themes of reporting in the age of open data, digital media and social movements, and digital media and urban innovation. Whilst in Salzburg, the students will tackle the issues surrounding the influence and role media plays in civic society and how increased media literacy can promote engagement with civil society and democratic processes. Faculty from the students’ home universities, along with Salzburg Global Seminar staff and guest lecturers, will provide seminars around topics such as global citizenship, myths and realities of globalization, the universality of media standards, empowerment through media, media entrepreneurship, social media and diversity networks, conflict and justice, freedom of expression, and community outreach. The annual Ithiel de Sola Pool Lecture on the Impact of Communications Technology on Society and Politics will be delivered by games researcher and designer Eric Gordon, from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, on the topic of ‘Games and Civic Learning’. Skills workshops will be held on the importance and design of infographics – essential in today’s world of “Big Data” – as well as digital usability, multimedia storytelling, and media literacy business planning. In previous years, in addition to attending lectures and workshops, students have also participated in faculty-led research projects, such as last year’s Olympix study, for which the students used Pinterest to collect and analyze images used by a selection of newspapers in various countries to cover the 2012 Summer Olympics. This year, the international students will create case studies, complete with infographics and video, of instances of where digital media has propelled civic engagement, along with action plans of how the media can better cover social movements. Students will use the “5 As” framework to challenge case study users to think beyond the immediate and specific experience, and consider innovative ways that media literacy can illuminate the case study’s topic:
  1. Access to media
  2. Awareness of media’s power
  3. Assessment of how media cover international and supranational events and issues
  4. Appreciation for media’s role in creating civil societies
  5. Action to encourage better communication across cultural, social, and political divides
Whilst at Schloss Leopoldskron, each week students will enter photography contests based on the topics discussed. This exercise encourages students to think critically about how images are created by interpreting concepts visually, as well as exposing and examining how these concepts can be widely interpreted by such a diverse group. This year’s students come from universities in the US, Mexico, Argentina, the UK, Slovakia, Kenya, Lebanon, the UAE, China and Hong Kong, China SAR, but they represent a much larger group of nationalities with students also originating from Colombia, India, Lithuania, Georgia, Sudan, Palestine and Syria. In addition to their media-related studies, the international cohort will also travel to the nearby Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site in neighboring Germany and consider both the use of propaganda and the later documentary coverage to expose atrocities. The Salzburg Academy began in 2007 as a partnership between the Salzburg Global Seminar and the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda at the University of Maryland, but quickly attracted partner universities from across the world that are home to leading journalism and communications schools. To read more, please visit the newly
relaunched website of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change.
New Media Academy Study: This is not Gen-X or Gen-Y: this is the 'Tethered Generation.'
New Media Academy Study: This is not Gen-X or Gen-Y: this is the 'Tethered Generation.'
Salzburg Global Staff 
Students from partner universities of Salzburg Global Seminar’s Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change have contributed to a new study on the mobile phone habits of young people, published on Wednesday, October 3.  The Tethered World study, directed by Paul Mihailidis, Program Director of the Academy, evaluated the mobile habits of 800 students of 52 nationalities, attending Academy partner universities in eight countries, on three continents, and found that despite living all over the world, the students had surprisingly similar experiences.  In her article for the Huffington Post, Academy co-founder, Susan Moeller, director of the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda (ICMPA) at the University of Maryland, outlines five key findings: Facebook and Twitter not only are the dominant presence in the lives of students across the globe, they are having a homogenizing effect on how students live around the world. Whether in Bournemouth, Beirut or Boston, students reported that Facebook, Twitter and other social networks were the way they hear from and communicate to their friends and the world. "Twitter has become the new CNN," as one student said. And the study suggests that for students, mobile phones are the new remote controls. Mobile phones are used to share and comment on other people's social spaces -- and information and news of all kinds is especially valued when it has a great "gee whiz" factor that makes young adults want to pass it on. Said one student: "I don't usually share articles, just some great music news, or a YouTube video that I think is funny or is a music video."  This is not Gen-X or Gen-Y: this is the 'Tethered Generation.' Around the world, mobile phones are integral to students' identity. Students self-reported that they were "addicted," claiming it is literally "impossible" to go a day without a phone. The tracking data reinforced students' heavy use across the world. As one student reported: "I check my phone literally every 2 or 3 minutes for updates on text messages, Twitter, or even Facebook." Said another: "The mobile phone has become a part of us: our best friend who will save all our secrets, pleasures and sorrows." Students use mobile phones to network with others -- and being a part of that network is more real than the real world. For students, phones don't just facilitate conversations, they connect them to others in ways that are not only satisfying, but increasingly paramount. Observed one student: "One thing that seems kind of funny to me is one experience that I had last week, we had an earthquake, a big one, and a lot of people instead of being alert and try to save themselves, they just started tweeting about what was going on. They were so attached to their social networks that they cared more about letting people know what was happening instead of evacuating the building." On mobile phones, apps are like cable TV. While they appreciate the thousands of options, students really only use a few apps. While a majority of the students in the study had 16 or more apps on their phones, they reported they only used three or four apps regularly. Said one student: "The three apps that I use the most [are] Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I love being able to see what my friends are up to and look at their pictures. I also enjoy the diverse combination of news articles, humor, and lifestyle pieces that these various platforms provide." For the course of the study held in spring this year, researchers had the students track their mobile use over a 24-hour period.  “Following the day-long tracking, the students completed an in-depth survey and wrote a 500-word narrative about their media habits,” explains Moeller.  Whilst the study found that through mobile phones the students now had access to and participation in “areas of the media which we would otherwise be excluded from”, Moeller added that there was one aspect the ‘tethered generation' should be cautious of: data access and abuse.  “Our lives have become available to anyone who can access them -- which is just about everyone everywhere in the world,” said one student. 
The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change is a three-week summer program held by Salzburg Global Seminar and the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda (ICMPA), at Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, Austria, bringing together undergraduate and graduate students from a broad variety of top universities around the world. Faculty and deans of these universities participate in the Academy, giving lectures and acting as mentors to small teams of students to explore the media’s role in global progress, pluralism, and citizenship.
Renee Hobbs on the Blurring of Art, Journalism and Advocacy
Renee Hobbs on the Blurring of Art, Journalism and Advocacy
Louise Hallman 
This year’s Bailey Morris-Eck Lecture on International Media, Economics, and Trade was delivered by Renee Hobbs, Professor and Founding Director of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island, on ‘The Blurring of Art, Journalism and Advocacy’. Speaking to more than 60 students and over a dozen faculty of the sixth annual Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, Hobbs addressed the intersections of art, journalism and advocacy, asking students to consider whether it is ever OK to embellish stories or even lie in order to tell a “greater truth”. Using the now infamous KONY 2012 video (the viral hit made by American charity ‘Invisible Children’ that drew attention to the actions of Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and then later drew scorn for its tactics and out-of-date footage) as an example of how different people could interpret the same video differently, Hobbs asked students to consider if the video was art, journalism or advocacy; was it simply a well-made, artistically shot and edited video? Was the charity aiming to accurately inform the viewer of the current situation in Uganda? Or was the video trying to get the viewer to take action, and inform themselves in the process? Or was it a combination of all three?  Hobbs demonstrated how once viewed within each of these three different parameters one could consider the video a success, failure or even dangerous. Although holding different professional attitudes towards truth, lies, embellishment and mis-information, Hobbs said it did not matter if artists, journalists and advocates used or presented reality in different manners as “artists and journalists are different kinds of truth tellers and always have been… Artists are double agents – flipping between art and society.”  Hobbs used the example of literary fiction, even sci-fi and fantasy – despite stories such as these not being based in reality, they can still give the reader insights into human nature and the world around us. “People crave to know our world...” said Hobbs, “We can learn to know our world through science fiction and fantasy novels. Stories told by journalists are just one type [of story].” What does matter to Hobbs, however, is the ability to understand these different types of media messages, and understand the different meanings behind their construction. When facing these increasing intersections between art, journalism and activism, Hobbs argued, it is becoming increasingly important to be media literate, and that education shouldn’t start in high school or college.  Hobbs, through her work with the Media Education Lab, of which she is also a founder, advocates for the teaching of media literacy in elementary schools, saying even children as young as five and six years old can understand the concept of authorship. “Media literacy is both protectionist and empowering... I want to protect children from the worst aspects [of the media] but I also want to empower them with means to express themselves and understand the world around them,” explained Hobbs. According to Hobbs' lecture, media consumers can gain better understanding of the images, audio, video and texts they are facing by asking themselves the five key questions of media literacy:
  1. Who is the author and what is the purpose of the message?
  2. What techniques are used to attract your attention?
  3. What lifestyles, value and points of view are represented?
  4. How might different people interpret the message differently?
  5. What is omitted from the message?
The fifth question regarding the omission of content from media messages is becoming an increasingly important factor in media literacy, explained Hobbs.   “We now live in a post-fact universe...the devil can cite statistics for its own purpose,” Hobbs told her audience, prompting them to consider, as future journalists and media literacy advocates, how might they deal with this problem. “If facts are over-rated then expertise is meaningless...[media literacy] teachers need not to be experts but guides,” Hobbs concluded.
Following her lecture, Salzburg Academy students Maya Hariri, Judy Munge and Oscar Tollast put their questions to Renee Hobbs.
Bailey Morris-Eck is the co-chair and founder of the International Women’s Media Foundation, which has centers in Africa and Latin America and membership in 65 countries. She is also commissioner for Maryland Public Broadcasting and senior correspondent for the London Financial News, contributing a bi-monthly op-ed column, and a director and program chair of WYPR, the public radio station in the Baltimore- Washington area.  As a senior associate of the Reuters Foundation, Ms. Morris-Eck launched its first international policy debate and book series on globalization. She also served as vice president of the Brookings Institution and was a senior fellow of the Institute for International Economics where she worked on trade policy and launched its policy journal, International Economic Insights. She served as an adviser in both the Carter and Clinton Administrations. Ms. Morris-Eck has served as US economics correspondent for both The Independent (London) and The Times of London and as a national correspondent for The Washington Star. She continues as a frequent contributor to BBC World Services and C -SPAN radio.   A member of the board of directors of the Salzburg Global Seminar, Ms. Morris-Eck also serves on the board of visitors of Claremont University, the editorial boards of the German Marshall Fund and the European Institute, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.   The Bailey Morris - Eck Lecture on International Media, Economics, and Trade was established through the generosity of Bailey Morris-Eck and her family. The Morris-Eck Lecture is delivered annually at sessions of the Salzburg Global Seminar. The Bailey Morris-Eck Lectureship on International Media, Economics, and Trade was established in 2004. Morris-Eck Lecturers include William Emmott, former editor, The Economist; Pascal Lamy, director-general, World Trade Organization; Kenneth Lieberthal, William Davidson, Professor of Business Administration, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; Paul Volcker, economic advisor to US President, Barack Obama; and Ewald Nowotny, head of the Austrian national bank.
The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change: Why We Do It
The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change: Why We Do It
Paul Mihailidis 
  – During our wrap up session, our keynote speaker, Renee Hobbs, reminded the students that we are limited by what we can do alone, but if we multiple our reach by one, we double our possible impact, by two, by three, our reach grows and grows. What we are doing at the Academy is mobilizing a global network of scholars, activists, and professionals to help change the world. 2. We need to believe in Media Literacy as a change agent – I think all the participants need to believe in the Academy as a change agent. Christy Pipkin of the Nobelity Project reminded us of how change starts, by just getting up and going. And this is what our faculty and students believe in. It’s why we are still doing this. 3. Creating a core of lifelong friends – This is not an understatement. When passionate people get together and become friends, they are far more motivated to be part of collective goals and ideals. This is what happens at the Academy, and why we’ve been able to grow into a vibrant, diverse, and dedicated community. 4. It’s about one word: Empowerment – During the final day of the Academy, a group of students from Argentina were filming interviews to make a video to bring home to their university, to help spread the word about media literacy. They asked me a simple question: if there is one word you associate with the Academy, what is it? Empowerment. From the most senior faculty to the youngest student, at the core of “why do we we do it?” is to empower future leaders in media across the world. In Salzburg we are forming a global collective of young leaders, emerging faculty, professionals, and activists who are building a dynamic global initiative for media literacy as the path to active, engaged, and empowered citizens. Faculty come to form a global research network (see our News Literacy book, our World Unplugged study, and our Tethered World study), to embrace in faculty development around how we teach media literacy in our respective institutions, and to try and help build a solid framework for media literacy education as it crosses cultures, borders, and divides. Through the work of dedicated young and emerging leaders in media fields across the world, who have the passion to do good, we achieved a long list outcomes and projects. There were creative videos on UGCInformation OverloadGroupthink, and Bias, among others. There were simple stories about Acceptance too. These were all part of an attempt to use media literacy to solve some of the information challenges we face in a digital age. You can see more work on identity, community, and action through media literacy here. See the Me stories
See the We stories
See the Media Literacy Action Plans And finally, I noticed that as students began to wax poetic about how much they missed their Academy and Schloss, a few began to create top 10 takeaway lists for their experience. As always, they are far more creative, provocative and funny than I could imagine. What a great way, however, to really say something about the Academy, that is sweet, to the point, and powerful. So, without further ado, here is my Academy list for 2012. 1. It’s not what you do in life, it’s who you do it with.
2. Media Literacy is personal to each of us, but collective around the values that we want our communities to uphold.
3. Change starts with you, and multiplies with those around you.
4. You can only break cultural barriers when you break down your own barriers first. That is a lifelong process.
5. Faculty learn as much from students as they do from Faculty. It’s a dirty secret we keep.
6. When you hike the Untersberg, you transcend groups, and become an elite team of Academy overachievers.
7. The faculty are the most amazing hard working lifelong friends we have the fortune of knowing.
8. The students are the most amazing hard working lifelong friends we have the fortune of knowing.
9. The Academy is about empowerment. Media is the tool we use to get there.
10. Dance. And when you can’t think of anything else to do. Just dance.
Bonus: Thanks to everyone, 2007-present, who have made this the most rewarding experience in the world for us. It’s amazing what we’ve done and where we can go. It takes a group of really motivated people to make that happen. We’re lucky to have you all.
The 6th Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change
The 6th Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change
Louise Hallman 
Salzburg Global Seminar this weekend welcomes 68 students from 13 different universities on five continents to Schloss Leopoldskron for the annual Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change. The students, together with 13 faculty members, and a host of guest lecturers and practitioners will collectively make this the largest Academy to date. Starting on Sunday, August 22, the three-week program, now in its sixth year, will cover Critical Thinking & Critical Skills and Freedom of Expression, aiming to teach media literacy skills—comprehension, analysis, and evaluation—highlighting the connections between media literacy and civil society, and informing the students about the importance of exercising their human right to freedom of expression. The overarching theme for this year’s Academy is ‘Civic Voice and Protest’, reflecting the importance and prominence of such events as the Arab Spring, the global Occupy Movement and the student-led protests in Mexico, Canada, the UK and Chile. Students will explore the role of social media and mobile technologies in empowering civic voices, activism, and human rights, and look at the ways in which social media platforms can level the playing field between the powerful and the repressed. Faculty from the students’ home universities, along with guest lecturers, will provide seminars around topics such as journalism protection, media framing, media literacy, multimedia storytelling, global citizenship and civic voices, amongst a host of other topics. The curriculum has been developed over the past six years, culminating in the publication of News Literacy: Global Perspectives for the Newsroom and the Classroom by Paul Mihailidis, Academy Director and Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing and Communications at Emerson College in Boston, MA, USA. Hailing from Argentina, Bahrain, China, Hong Kong, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the students have already begun their work, completing assignments on the concept of ‘Community’; students were instructed to read a number of chapters of Mihailidis’ book, write a short essay relating their reading of the book to the concept, and finally take a single photo that represented what ‘community’ means to them or how that concept is seen in their culture or in the country they come from. Whilst at Schloss Leopoldskron, each week students will enter photography contests based on the topics discussed. Once such assignment last year covered the topic of “diversity”, with Slovakian student Martina Kincešová’s photo chosen as the winning entry. Through these assignments, students will examine how universal or disparate different concepts are across the globe, with the aiming of promoting cross-cultural understanding and considering how media can be used to share this understanding further. With the London 2012 Summer Olympics also taking place during the Academy this year, students will also conduct an analysis of the media coverage of the Games, engaging in a global research project on the issue. In addition to attending lectures and seminars during the session, students will also work in groups on media literacy projects and to create multimedia content. Previous years’ projects can be seen on the Academy’s YouTube channel. Students will also take study trips to the Alps and the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. The Salzburg Academy began in 2007 as a partnership between the Salzburg Global Seminar and the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda at the University of Maryland, but quickly attracted partner universities from across the world that are home to leading journalism and communications schools*. To read more, please visit the website of the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change. *American University of Beirut (Lebanon), American University in Sharjah (UAE), Bournemouth University (UK), Hofstra University (USA), Makerere University (Uganda), Polytechnic University of Namibia (Namibia), Pontificia Universidad Catolica (Argentina), Pontificia Universidad Catolica (Chile), Quaid-i-Azam Univeristy (Pakistan), Stellenbosch University (South Africa), Tsinghua University (China), Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico), University of Maryland, College Park (USA), University of Miami (USA), University of Texas, Austin (USA), Zayed University (UAE), Syracuse University (USA) and University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava (Slovakia). Related content: Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change website: Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change 2012 student blog roll:
Rasha Abou Dargham - American University Of Beirut, Lebanon
María Paz Paniego - Universidad Católica Argentina, Argentina Students Worldwide Interpret Core Concepts Differently: …indispensable reading” and “…well timed and much needed”:
Academy student's article cited on The Colbert Report
Academy student's article cited on The Colbert Report
Salzburg Academy Staff 
Rachel was a Salzburg Academy participant in 2008.
Salzburg Global Program Director publishes book on news literacy
Salzburg Global Program Director publishes book on news literacy
Salzburg Global Staff Writer 
"Indispensable reading" and "well timed and much needed" represent a mere snapshot of the praise for Paul Mihailidis' latest book, News Literacy: Global Perspectives for the Newsroom and the Classroom. Mihailidis is both an Assistant professor, Dep. of marketing and communications at Emerson College in Boston, MA., and the Director of the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change, a Salzburg Global Seminar initiative. The Seminar takes special pride in the fact that News Literacy is a direct product of the Salzburg Academy program, developing the concepts and ideas drawn from the discussions and conversations that took place throughout the four years of the Academy’s existence. In the book, Mr. Mihailidis explores how the rise of digital age has changed the news and the entire media landscape, as well as how we can help empower civic voices through the classroom. The preface to this book was written by the President and the CEO of the Salzburg Global Seminar, Stephen Salyer, who discusses changes the rapid growth of digital media brought to the world, stresses out the vital role of educated citizenry and outlines the crucial task of the Salzburg Media Academy, established in 2007, in bringing together leading scholars and teachers in the fields of journalism and communications to design and shape issues around media literacy. Mr. Salyer kindly acknowledges all faculty members and a truly international cast of the Media Academy program as inspiration and coauthors of the new book. Paul Mihailidis’s has published widely on media literacy, global media and civil society, and on post-secondary learning outcomes in media programs. His research concerns the effectiveness of media education in teaching about media’s roles and responsibilities in civil society. Mr. Mihailidis is also the co-author of an upcoming book on Media Literacy, due in early 2012. News Literacy: Global Perspectives for the Newsroom and the Classroom is available online in hardcopy and paperback at Amazon.
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