The Future of Journalism: Public Value Journalism


Do your research overseas! Credit: Karen Cox "typewriter on beach vignette" (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Topic of interest at our Public Value Journalism sub-conference will be nothing less than the future of journalism. Held in cooperation with the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb), our aim is to incite exciting discussions and debate.

As in previous years, we’re teaming up with the German Federal Agency for Civic Education to organize our own sub-conference, with the most recent focus having been on “net surveillance” in 2014. Within the framework of the #rp15 we’ll be taking on the topic of “journalism and the public contract”. We’ll be introducing new formats for the dissemination of journalistic content, with the focus on freedom of expression as constituting both the precondition, as well as the foundation, for these practices.

Of course, we’ll also be dealing with online journalism. The topic remains highly current and explosive, as while the debates on the gulf between analogue and digital media rage on, new and exciting formats and models have come together that need to be taken account of: start-ups like Krautreporter, Der Sender or Correct!v are leading the way.

Today sees many searching for new business models, begging the question “Do we (also) need a non-profit media landscape?”. The session of the same name will feature representatives from Der Sender, Germany’s first cooperative broadcaster, discussing alternatives for the media industry with Günther Bartsch from the netzwerk recherche e.V.

One exciting aspect in this respect is also the concept of readership financing in media. In the “Crowdfunding in journalism” panel, we’ll be investigating different models, asking questions about experiences had with the format and examining its other effects – such as on content or organizational integration – that could be carried over into traditional journalism. Journalists from Krautreporter,, Correct!v and the taz – Die Tageszeitung will be giving us insights into their day-to-day in the business.

A special highlight of the Public Value Journalism sub-conference will be Nonny de la Peña’s session. The Harvard graduate and “Godmother of Virtual Reality” (more info in our profile here) will be presenting her method of “immersive journalism”. She developed and defined this new journalistic form of non-fictional storytelling. The reconstruction of situations in a virtual 3D world transforms them into tangible experiences – be it a bomb explosion on a street in Syria or the experience of torture. Nonny de la Peña deals with the entirely new ethical dimension that this creates.

Other forms of exchanging knowledge and experience will be discussed in “(Net) Political opinion-making through web videos and YouTube”. For instance, how and where do you explain net-neutrality to teenagers? How do you affectively counteract movements such as #Pegida, ISIS and (right wing) conspiracy theories? How do you reach and excite people for regional and community-level commitment and participation? The involvement of big YouTube names and their communities in campaigns, such as “YouTubers against Nazis”, proved that civic and political education can work quite successfully over a major video channel.

“Collaborative journalism” moves from user-generated content, as is the case with YouTube, to other forms of a cooperation of many over a network or platform. The continuing economic crisis in Europe is becoming a challenge for critical journalism, which increasingly has to deal with budget cuts – meaning making concessions in the journalistic process, for instance having to cut research trips. A cross-national network of journalists and media could help strengthen their independent position. What role can these networks of cooperation play in the strengthening of independent journalism in Europe? We’ll be presenting some functional concepts. The future of journalism is exciting! 

You'll find all sessions of the sub-conference with the hashtag "journalism".

photo credit: re:publica/Karen Cox "typewriter on beach vignette" (CC BY-ND 2.0)