Erasmus+ Youth Exchange in Stará Lesná, Slovakia, on 25 April – 2 May 2019.
Background and aim:
Media have an important role in modern societies being a main source of information for most citizens about topics ranging from the international to the local level. The way of media coverage can also play an important role in the international public sphere and influence political and social events. But only responsible and ethical media making that avoids biased and stereotyped information can contribute to development of a society being fourth pillar of democracy and watch-dog institution.
It is not uncommon that media are also prioritizing some topics or persons. Terms such as gate-keeping, agenda setting, or intentional (mass)media manipulation are often put into practice and media are not only objects and means of manipulation, but also its subject. The European Dialogue aims at contributing to achievement of a media literate society, where people are aware of different media practices, and able to decode media messages and put them into broader context. In order to not lose their audience, media will need to be fair, independent and responsible; foster the democracy, international development, and the sustainable future. Media Behind the Scenes project was one of activities the European Dialogue and its partners are implementing in order to fulfil this aim.
- To raise professional competences of young media makers and foster their responsibility towards society, so that they can tackle manipulation practices in the (mass)media and their dependence on politicians and other groups;
- To reflect on the role of media makers in the public sphere by analysing and comparing diverse media (commercial, public service, tabloid etc.);
- To contribute to raising public media literacy and people’s ability to do basic (mass)media analysis (through outcomes of the project and by multiplication) with special focus on youth, so that they can also tackle manipulation practices in the (mass)media and their dependence on politicians and other groups;
- To point out representation of youth and minorities in media, as its lack is one of causes of polarization, biased reporting, and manipulation;
- To develop participants intercultural competences;
- To create an international network of active young media makers from diverse European countries.
The youth exchange in Sutomore:
Media Behind the Scenes was a 7-days youth exchange held in Stará Lesná, Slovakia. It consisted of non-formal learning sessions (seminars, presentations, workshops), hands-on informal learning (during study visits, production of awareness raising materials, presentations of results, and get-to-know each other activities), and monitoring activities. The participants gained insights into topics such as communication theories, approaches to media literacy, mass-media manipulation, media analysis, debunking misinformation, or differences between commercial and public service media.
Exchange of experiences, sharing of best practices, intercultural exchange, and peer-to-peer learning were key methods to achieve the above-mentioned objectives. The participants were also actively involved in creation of youth exchange’s programme. The exchange of their knowledge and experiences was complemented with input from experts (facilitators).
Gained or improved knowledge of participants was solidified through hands-on production of awareness raising materials. The balance between learning sessions and hands-on work ensured that the newly acquired knowledge was applied in practice and can be replicated in the future. The participants worked teams of at 4 – 5 people (so that various skills and interests were presented in each team) and focused on sub-topic of their choice.
As a result, the participants grew as young professionals with new or improved competencies in the fields of media literacy, media analysis, and creation of awareness raising materials. They enhanced their critical thinking and resistance towards media manipulation, as well as knowledge of and skills in media analysis and socially responsible media making. The participants are able to act independently and replicate what they learnt further in their organisations or career; this way, they are multipliers who can contribute to raising media literacy in Europe.
Final outputs created by participants
Media Behind the Scenes youth exchange brought together 49 participants from 10 European countries: Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Portugal, and Slovakia. . They were young media makers, representatives of non-governmental organisations focused on media, and other people interested in media literacy, critical thinking, and media analysis. Thus they represented various expertise, but also interests and cultural backgrounds.
Group 1 – How to reveal biased reporting:
– Infographic „How to Detect Biased Articles“
– Checklist „Language and biased news“
– Case study from Lithuania „Alternative scientific truth“
Group 2 – Media literacy and critical thinking:
Group 3 – Socially responsible media making (ethics and professionalism):
– Case studies (both negative and positive)
Group 4 – Business in media vs. public service:
Group 5 – Misinformation on social media:
Presentations and materials delivered by trainers and organisers
Media about youth exchange published by partner organisations
Media published by Mladiinfo Montenegro in Montenegrin language: call for participants, article about the youth exchange, and interview with participant Nataša Vukajlović. Under this link you can read interview with Nataša Vukajlović in English language.
Call for participants published on the website of the European Youth Press.
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