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

Academy students present in an international conference
Academy students present in an international conference
Salzburg Academy Staff 
How to Understand Press Freedom and Repression: Cross-national Coverage of Chavez's Illness Authors:
Marketa Zezulkova (Doctoral Researcher at Bournemouth University, UK)
Agustina Rodriguez (Recent master graduate of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina)
JoJo Du (Undergraduate student at the Communication University of China) Key words:
Press freedom and repression, media coverage, agenda setting, Hugo Chavez Abstract:
According to the report entitled Freedom of the Press 2011, only 16% of the world's inhabitants live in countries with a free press. In the case South America, media controls and coercion through legislation, as well as public advertising placements and other expressions, have been increasing since the beginning of the 21st century (Freedom House, 2011). In order to evaluate the current situation of press freedom across state borders, this case study analyses Venezuelan, Chinese, Czech, and US media coverage of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez's unexpected return to public life after one month of cancer treatment in Cuba. These countries represent various hues of the political spectrum and each has a very different type of relationship with the Venezuelan government. Moreover, according to the Freedom House's 2010 Table of Global Press Freedom Rankings, the Czech Republic and the United States of America rank equal 24th in the list of nations with the strongest press freedom. On the other end of the scale side, it was noted that China was classed in the 181st place out of 196, while Venezuela was 163rd. The analysis has firstly explored that agenda setting in international cases is adjusted to the state of diplomatic relations status between the countries. Secondly, censorship is not always exerted by a government, but also results from self- righting practices as well as the individual conventions of a particular news outlet, for instance in their editorial policies or political allegiances. Both are consistent with Vliert (2011) who claims that media cultures ‘are integrated to the overall local culture in which a media system is operating' (p. 357). Thirdly, while freedom of speech is an important parameter for comparison s and context, it is worth noting that the very meaning of words such as freedom can be politically manipulated or open to various interpretations. For example, Amaral and Monteiro (2011) state that there are no explicit values through which one can evaluate freedom of the press in Venezuela, because journalism practice varies greatly among reporters and on their own understanding of a 'controlled' press. Lastly, the differences between the framing of the same event across countries or distinctly orientated media and journalists can often cause confusions among audience members. As Urbánek said to Pilger (2006) during the 1970s when Czechoslovakia was under a Stalinist communist regime: 'In one respect, we are more fortunate than you in the West. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and watch on television, nothing of the official truth. Unlike you, we have learn t to read between the lines, because real truth is always subversive'. Bibliography:
Amaral, M. F., and Monteiro, R. J., 2011. The concept of freedom of the press as a symbolic conflict in the journalism field: the case of Venezuela. Journal of Latin American Communication Research, 1 (1), 72 - 99. Freedom House, 2011. Freedom of the Press Report. Available from [Accessed 1 August 2011]. Pilger, J., 2006. The real first casualty of war. Words against war, New Statement, 4. Vliert, E., 2011. Bullying the Media: Cultural and Climato- Economic Readings of Press Repression versus Press Freedom. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 60 (3), 354 - 376.
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