During an international meeting in Lithuania, creative minds who want to move media forward and make them more inclusive came up with the concept of Hi!ke: a series of events that will take place in several European countries. First of them took place in Rome and it seems there cannot be a better location. It’s a city that has been influence by many cultures and which also influenced many others. It’s the Eternal City, the city where the all roads lead to.
At the beginning, just a little bit about the concept. Hi!ke is based on the idea to connect media makers – mainly journalists – and their audiences, including experts on various topics and representatives of socially disadvantaged groups, to meet in a very informal environment and discuss how media can better approach socially important and often sensitive topics, and how media can gain or regain trust of people, which is being eroded by distorted information and unprofessional media. The Hi!ke in Rome was especially important for Aurelija Babinskienė, who is one of the team members that developed the concept. Its creation was facilitated by Urtė Žukauskaitė-Zabukė and Gica Trierweiler, who led the workshop in Lithuania.
The Hi!ke in Rome was hosted on April 14 – 16, 2023, by the two amazing members of team of the TerminiTV – Ruben Lagattolla and Francesco Conte. The latter of them was the main tour guide, who showed the participants coming from various European countries a face of Rome that is not usually visible, but which is also important to explore to understand how local communities live and interact, but also which social issues are present in Rome and how to help people who need it.
April 14 was dedicated to getting-to-know each other and enjoying Italian hospitality when eating traditional focaccia and taking at Piazza Testaccio. First half of next day was dedicated to free tools that journalists, but actually anyone, can use to easily verify information. Gabriele Cruciata from Google News Lab in Italy. He showed how to effectively use reverse image search or Google Maps and how to find relevant documents quickly. Participants practised new knowledge at the market to check whether the food is presented correctly and near the Termini train station to see, how places changes over time. That is important when verifying time of events that (supposedly) happened.
In the afternoon, the participants visited an abandoned building (squat), where around 200 people live and which functions as a community, cultural and social centre, and a good example of urban regeneration for nearly 10 years now. It’s called Spin Time Labs and participants were warmly welcomed by Jessica, who usually don’t give interviews, but because of her good relations with Francesco Conte she made an exception in the case of Hi!ke. That proves how it’s important for media makers to build trust at a local level and report on people’s stories without biases. Media often do the opposite – report about this and other similar places negatively, which results in public rejection of squats. On the other hand, once there was one official from the Vatican City, who helped the Spin Time Labs to survive.
In the evening, participants attended dinner hosted by the Kurdish community, another intercultural experience. Next day was again dedicated to exploring Rome, discussing new stories, and reflecting on the experience from great and inspiring Hi!ke.
European Dialogue was happy to be involved in the preparation of the tour and to participate on the spot as well. Its team would like to thank the coordinator of the Media for Citizens Story Lab project, Media4Change from Lithuania, and the project partners, StampMedia from Belgium, ICNM from Austria and Mladiinfo Montenegro for the great Hi!ke experience. Special thanks goes to team of the TerminiTV for being such a great hosts!
Media for Citizens Story Lab is a project aiming to empower media makers to connect with their audience, highlight important topics, and move media forward together. This project has been funded by the EU programme Europe for Citizens.
Title picture: pixabay.com, djedj