The Opening Address by Erik Bettermann, Director General of Deutsche Welle, emphasized the structural transformation of the media landscape globally. Internet services, such as blogs and micro-blogs have led to a Hochgeschwindigkeitsjournalismus (high speed journalism) that cold be both positive and negative. The "copy-paste"-philosophy has led to smaller costs for journalistic work, but also to a higher degree of recycling.
Betterman also mentioned the recent blocking of internet sites in China, which has blackouted twitter.
Worth mentioning here is that the awards for best bloggers, from China and Cuba, are unable to follow their own price award due to severe internet censorship.
Günther Nooke, Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, then addressed the issue of user-generated activist reports from Sri Lanka and Pakistan. There are good sides to this sort of information, but it creates challenges for traditional media, as the control of sources and verification of data becomes much more difficult. Sometimes journalists need to enter dangerous scenes in order to make sense of the voices heard from conflicts. Also, these micro-reports can easily be used in propaganda and media warfare. They are also used as "politische Multiplikatoren" (polical multiplicators), and spred virally over the globe.
Moreover, Andreas Krautscheid, Minister of Federal Affairs, Europe and Media of the State of North-Rhine-Westfalia, spoke about agenda-setting and the influence of new media. The power over the rapid media agenda is sought after by many actors, but with the internet they have multiplied and new groups have entered the scene.
Soon-Hong Choi, Chief Information Technology Offier, United Nations, furthermore discussed how internet media is being integrated in the work of the UN. During Tsunamis, volcanos and war, access to "tiny" information can be extremely useful. This is another aspect of for example twitter and blogs, that they are able to co-ordinate rescue work and aid.
Howard Rheingold, Professor of Stanford and Berkeley discussed issues and trends in communication that have taken place only within the last decade.
According to Rheingold there has been a shift from "competition" to "co-operation" in many spheres of society. Micro-technologies have changed the political, the economical and the cultural. For example, SMS - coordinated 10 000 people in the Manilla demonstrations. Smart mobs can however be both destructive and constructive. The concept of smart mobs is not only political, but also cultural social , and economical. Even though it began online, it tends to integrate into our behaviour as such.
In the future more smart mobs will emerge. The cyber-genaration may change their voting behaviour compare (this could be compared to the voteordie site).
Today you see images from peoples phones on flickr before they enter traditional media. The Hudson-River crash had images on twitter before television had arrived. Now we have millions of reporters instead of a news net by corporations and public service.
Access to the production of media is a power relation, Rheingold argued. The printing press made more people able to speak up in printed form. Newton and Bacon needed a readership in order to advance science. With the internet, the number of people that can "print" with bits and bytes are expanding. The keyword here is participatory media (blogs, podcasts, RSS, twitter, video, photo sharing etc). The value derives from the active participation of other people, not by numbers of subscribers.
The new modes of co-operation will be as revuloutionary as the germ theory of disease.
So, a very interesting morning at the conference. More reports will follow, and hopefully som reflection and analysis. So far, only male speakers :(
Over and out from Intensifier and Telecomix News Agency.