#22 International Journalism Festival 2009

Going glocal

Global issues on a local level. That is one of the aspects debated at the Perugia International Journalism Festival 2009 that orangelog.eu covers between 1 and 5 April. It is also the characteristic of this event: in the heart of a charming medieval city several of Italy’s and Europe’s well-known journalists gather with hundreds of youngsters and colleagues to look ahead to the journalism’s future in times of crisis.

An introduction by Alfonso Carlos Cobo Espejo and Carmen Paun

Six young journalists arrived in a small train station. They didn’t know each other since they came from different European countries to work together. They are the ones covering the International Journalism Festival that is taking place these days in the Italian city of Perugia.

April’s Fools’ Day, cloudy weather. The Italian city surprises the visitors from the beginning. To arrive to the city centre we have to take the “Minimetro”. Have you ever been to Disneyland or to another amusement park? Because the “Minimetro” can only be compared to Disney’s monorail or to the space rollercoaster if it would go slowly.

Back to the Middle Age
Once in the city centre the magic atmosphere of Perugia catches one’s eye. Narrow streets and old buildings give one the impression of being back in the Middle Age. Not in vain Perugia is an old medieval city. The capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the Tiber river, Perugia is considered a notable artistic center of this country. The famous painter Pietro Vannuci was born here. He was nicknamed Perugino and he was the teacher of Raphael, the great Renaissance artist. Other interesting information about Perugia? A griffin is the city symbol. One can see it on plaques and statues and on top of buildings all over the city.
A great part of the 170.000 people residing in Perugia are students. The Italian city hosts two big universities: the ancient University of Studies from Perugia and the Foreigner’s University (Università per Stranieri). So, besides the magical atmosphere in the city, there is also a really friendly one, typical for university cities.

No, this is not the G20 summit
Hotel Brufani is the place to be these days in Perugia. It is packed with journalists, cameras, voice recorders, laptops hungry for a good Internet connection and a plug. No, this is not the venue of the G20 summit, but the main venue of the International Journalism Festival. The Perugian communication agency “Il Filo di Arianna” has organized the third edition of the event. 250 experienced and well known journalists come together with young aspiring journalism students and discuss hot topics of this profession nowadays. What lies ahead for the printed press, how do we use blogs and online communities in our everyday work, how much crime do we put in our news or how “glocal” – global and local at the same time – have our news become?

200 students from all over Europe volunteer in organizing this festival. According to the director of Filo di Arianna, Arianna Ciccone, they have been chosen from 1000 applicants.

One of the highlights of the festival is, Arriana Ciccone says, the keynote speech of Seymour Hersh, the well-known American journalist working for The New Yorker. He is expected to speak about how the Bush Administration tried to attack the Constitution involving the complicity of the media.

Sergio Romano, one of the most important senior Italian journalists, novelists and historians reporting for the newspaper “Corriere della Sera”, will express his point of view about the responsibility of the mass-media in crucial situations like the economic crisis.

The editor of the RAI 1 News Channel, Gianni Riota, and John Lloyd, contributing editor of the Financial Times, will come together in a panel discussion about the truth and the reality in the information journalists deliver to their public, especially in the context of growing influence on the internet as the major source and channel of information. “They will be speaking about keeping high the quality of information in our articles, which is, among others, one of the keys to save printed press”, says Arianna Ciccone for Orangelog.eu.

The International Journalism Festival is supported, among others, by the European Journalism Observatory, Reporters sans Frontières, the Department of Journalism of the City University of London and various Italian newspaper. The Festival is funded by the European Commission, the Italian National Association of Journalists, Umbria Regional Council and the Umbria Regional Association of Journalists.

By the time the Minimetro will take the 6 of us back to the small train station in Perugia on Sunday, we will be your eyes and ears at the third edition of the International Journalism Festival in Perugia.

Posted in | 02.04.2009

By: Alfonso Carlos Cobo Espejo, Carmen Paun

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