Media Academy » Overview

The Salzburg Academy on Media & 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. 

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 830 students, 175 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

Students produce substantial collaborative projects based on the year's theme.


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 2018:

Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change
July 15 to August 4, 2018


What Media Can Change

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.
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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