What is an M100? M100 has regarded itself as a project for democracy and media freedom since its founding in 2005. M100 symbolizes 100 media makers, that gather in Potsdam every year to discuss and debate over the most urgent topics of our media culture and development.
Sophia Wellek, the Project Manager of the M100 project has agreed to answer some of our questions in order to better understand the project and its impact on inter-generational exchange.
“Media are increasingly challenged by new developments, such as a strong economic pressure, the ‘platform economy’, decreasing trust in media, dis- and misinformation campaigns, threats to press freedom, the de-legitimization of media by anti-democratic movements and many more. As a result, media houses have to find new ways to fulfill journalism’s role in society. Innovation is a necessary topic to discuss alternative ways to overcome such challenges and adapt to the new circumstances for journalism. In order for ideas for the future viability of media to flourish, experimentation of the younger generation has to be encouraged in projects like the M100 Young European Journalists Workshop.This year’s workshop has been extremely diverse in terms of participants, agenda and goals. The biggest challenge of the project is the priority setting, especially if that means that you cannot be there for everybody, even if you would like to.”
During the YEJ Workshop, participants from different countries had a few days to develop their projects in smaller groups, which will become a part of their follow-up activities. They have pitched their projects at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation HQ in Potsdam and got professional counseling from the jury.
“The ideas presented ranged from a cross-border girls’ podcast aimed at inspiring and empowering women and a mobile-first oriented Spanish version of the Financial Times to an interaction platform between journalists and their readers in order to increase trust in the media. I believe that collaborative projects across national borders are gaining in significance in an increasing globalised, interconnected and mobile world. Of course, it is not easy to put all ideas into practice but our workshop provides a first networking possibility that could encourage future collaboration. The group work was particularly impressive, as the ideas were developed in a limited and short time period.
Sophia says, that the learning and the exchange during the project is not one-sided: “The younger generation is very much underestimated, we need to give them a stronger voice!”
When asked to describe in three words why young journalists all around the world have to apply M100 YEJ next year, Sophia said “Diversity – Inspiration – Collaboration!”.
Some of the participants of the M100 Young European Journalists workshop also share their impressions on the agenda, on the project and the colloquium.
Samaia Rzaeva (freelance journalist from Georgia): “This workshop was one of the best experiences of my life. It was first time when I had a chance to work with journalists from different countries on our own project. I learned so many things such as how to make a video, create social media content and etc. Moreover, it was an honor to attend M100 Sanssouci Colloquium and Media Award, where I had an opportunity to be responsible for the social media activities.”
Laura Benedicto (books critical reviewer of the hispanoamerican platform Liberoamerica): “This workshop made me think faster than I’ve ever done before. To create a multicultural project is kind of impossible on your own or just with people of your nationality. M100 YEJ has broken all our borders and made us know first-hand the reality of the political situation of other countries we didn’t know much about. It has put us in contact with professionals that taught us how to develop our ideas and make real quality things with them in an age where fast communication leads.”
Young journalist from Russia, Ilya Malov share his impressions: “The main goal of such kind of workshops are not only the projects we create, but the cross-border contacts we make. It really warms my heart when I realize that I can go to Madrid or Tbilisi and I wouldn’t be alone. And also the great brainstorm has been done during the workshop. Creating the innovative, progressive project with an international team – not the easiest task. But it’s really worth it! We’re all different. We all see the world from a different perspective. And that’s what makes us unique. And that’s what will make our projects successful.”
Anastasia Shkitina (Russian TV announcer and news reporter): “Personally, this workshop became the opportunity to get the knowledge obtained by working in the European journalism school – it’s so different from Russian and American as well, communicate with the other journalists from all over the world and got an experience from them. I realized that digitization has redefined the meaning of journalism and we have to follow our audience. We had masterclasses the best media professionals who gave us recommendations on how to work with a new speed information, be aware of social media trends and how to use modern technologies in an efficient way.”
By Viktorya Muradyan