80 delegates from 21 organisations have gathered at CERN in Geneva for the 9th News & Technology Seminar.
They were welcomed by Chair of the EBU News Committee Sarah Ward-Lilley, Jeff Dubin, the EBU's Head of News and Events and Ana Godhino, Head of Education, Communications and Outreach at CERN. With science as a theme throughout the agenda, they agreed that informing audiences about the latest scientific achievements is at the heart of Public Service Media (PSM).
Keynote speaker Walter Quattrociocchi, head of the Laboratory of Computational Social Science at IMT Lucca in Italy, stressed that his studies prove there's a direct connection between trust in journalists and polarization: "In Germany journalists are much more trusted than in Italy or Spain and that helps to reduce the polarization in society," he said. Quattrociocchi has recently focused his research on the spread of information in online social network platforms and how this impacts the evolution of people's opinions.
The role of data and how it can best integrate with PSM was discussed by Marta Cooper, Business Analyst with the audience engagement team at BBC News; Madiana Asseraf, EBU Head of Media Strategy & Development and Teemo Best, YLE data journalist. They debated how technology, including (big) data, artificial intelligence, robotics, and chatbots can help to produce personalised content and respect the public service core mandate.
"The key is to be transparent. Letting people know how their data is going to be used is essential for us," said Cooper. In fact, "it is not about numbers, it is more about giving the best user experience to our audience so that they come back".
The Eurovision News Exchange presented the new app and mobile site that will help all Members to access the exclusive news content it provides from anywhere in the world. The app is video based and will be linked to the Eurovision Social Newswire, the online community that now connects 500 EBU journalists on a daily basis and offers them access to more than 60 eye-witness verified videos per day.
"The Eurovision Social Newswire is a community that is growing extremely fast" said Justyna Kurczabinska, Head of the Eurovision News Exchange. "It has proven its value time and again especially in breaking news situations," she added.
Again with a focus on science, BBC experts Carol Rubra, Head of the Health and Science Unit, and Fergus Walsh, Medical Correspondent examined the challenge posed by separating hype from the facts, maintaining realistic expectations from ailing audience members looking for “miracle” cures, and being aware of the potential implications for government policy and funding when reporting about medical science.
The day wrapped up hearing from some of the best mobile journalists in the media industry on how they use their mobile device to cover the most relevant stories form a very personal angle. Rai's, Nico Piro, Wystse Vellinga from Omroep Fryslan MobileStorytelling and RTE's Glen Mulcahy were interviewed by Morwen Williams, Head of Newsgathering Operations at the BBC.