AI's significance in journalism, its impact on climate inequality, and its role in shaping press freedom took centre stage during the second day of #iMEdDIJF23

The iMEdD Forum concludes today, Saturday September the 30th, covering topics such as the digital safety for journalists, media sustainability and the ongoing digital transformation of the media landscape

The second day of the International Journalism Forum 2023 featured discussions addressing the challenges confronting contemporary journalism. It included an examination of an investigation detailing the state of Greece and Europe's railway network, which had previously been overlooked by decision-makers. Additionally, an astonishing conversation ensued regarding the recent murders of journalists in Greece. The programme on the previous day encompassed a range of workshops, delving into topics such as the utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI) within journalism, the issue of "water insecurity" and its global, regional, and local implications, as well as techniques for structuring data effectively to derive actionable insights.

The second day of the Forum kicked off with a discussion centred on the role of AI in the media. Esteemed industry experts delved into the profound impact of AI on journalism, considering aspects such as ethical considerations, newsroom efficiency, and increased audience engagement. Vincent Berthier, Head of Tech Desk at Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), emphasised how “ChatGPT is a game changer not only because of the technology, which is both astonishing and impressive, but also because of its tangible impact (...) AI will play a significant role in the future, encompassing not only data journalists who were already harnessing AI but also individuals working at all levels within news organisations."

The subsequent panel provided a comprehensive exploration of the future of journalism. Distinguished academics and aspiring journalism students converged to discuss the essential skills and knowledge that budding journalists must acquire to thrive in the ever-evolving media landscape.

This was followed by the presentation of The Forever Pollution Project, a cross-border survey of 17 European news agencies on PFAS and the pollution they have caused across Europe. PFAS are dangerous toxic chemicals that have been widely used for decades, do not degrade in the environment and can cause serious health problems. The Forever Pollution Project has triggered major national investigations into PFAS in many countries.

The Forum then delved into conversations about optimising the utilisation of new media journalism, with a particular emphasis on the vertical video format, TikTok, and podcasts. Subsequently, a group of five dynamic female investigative journalists took the stage, sharing their insights into the strategies they employ in their work and imparting valuable leadership advice that has contributed to their successful careers.

“It's a very common line, which we may say among ourselves for fun, 'Be careful what you write because you may find yourself in a ditch'. When do they ever say that to you? When you touch political, financial, business interests, when you deal with corruption in the police...In such a climate, it is very difficult not to be terrified as a journalist, especially when you hear that a colleague has been murdered.”, commenting journalist Eliza Triantafillou.

In cooperation with Greek journalists, the press freedom organisations Free Press Unlimited, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters sans frontières (RSF), presented the findings of an investigation into the unresolved murders of journalists Socrates Giolias and Giorgos Karaivaz, raising questions about the actions of the authorities. Among the audience were both Giorgos Karaivaz’ widow and Sokratis Giolias’ brother.

The second part of the preceding day commenced by shining a spotlight on the issue of climate change. Firstly, Dimitris Bounias and Nikolas Aronis, Project Managers and journalists from iMEdD’s ideas zone and incubator, presented stories that had been selected by an independent panel and produced as part of the iMEdD incubator's fourth cycle, which focused on the topic of "Climate Inequity." Following this, Emiliya Mychasuk, Climate Editor at the Financial Times, and Aryn Baker, Senior Climate and Environment Correspondent at TIME magazine, engaged in a discussion moderated by Gustavo Faleiros, the Environmental Investigations Editor for the Pulitzer Center. During the discussion, they shared strategies for effectively covering climate change. Emiliya Mychasuk notably highlighted the importance of precise and considered language when discussing climate change, stating, "We have to be very careful with the terms we use when we refer to the campaigns that are happening on climate change (...) So the language we use to describe those people, the groups that make up the climate movement is specific and needs attention.”

Subsequently, there was a discussion addressing the condition of railways in Europe, featuring presentations by Eliassen Ingeborg, journalist and Managing Editor at Investigate Europe, and Eurydice Bersi, journalist at Reporters United. They presented uncomfortable truths, published since 2021, regarding the safety of the rail network in both Greece and Europe.

The Predator scandal has been a prominent issue in our country for almost two years, raising critical questions about state surveillance and government accountability. Journalists who played a key role in uncovering the scandal took the stage just before the close of the day to discuss the catalytic impact that investigative journalism has in shaping public perception, promoting political action, and exposing unpleasant truths.

The second day came to an end with an inspiring panel that left a lasting impact on every participant. Journalists and experts hailing from various corners of the globe shared their gripping stories, discussed the numerous dimensions of threats to press freedom, and addressed attacks on good journalistic principles. They also delved into strategies for combating these challenges, all while maintaining a steadfast focus on the public interest.

The International Journalism Forum's programme concludes today, featuring discussions on critical topics such as digital safety for journalists, media sustainability, and the ongoing digital transformation in the media landscape. Simultaneously, the audio documentary "TRAUMA," produced by iMEdD, will be presented, focusing on the coverage of traumatic events and their long-lasting effects on society as a whole. Furthermore, an intriguing conversation is set to take place, examining the various approaches to covering the far-right, a pressing issue that appears to be a global phenomenon.

The iMEdD International Journalism Forum will take place from September 28 to 30, 2023, at the Athens Epidaurus Festival, 260 Pireos Street, Athens.

Registration is available online and on-site during the Forum hours.

The full programme is available here.