Wadah Khanfar gave a Keynote speech at Teatro Pavone in Perugia that greatly inspired the audience, including me. To be honest, it was probably the most interesting and, in a sense, revolutionary speech at the festival. He resigned from Al Jazeera a few months ago because, according to his speech, he wanted to become part of a new media that is going through a huge transformation period that, eventually, will lead to futuristic integral media that will use more and more citizen journalism. He said that big news corporations that only seek to be competitive with other newsrooms and to broadcast VIP people will DIE! They will die also because they often forget that their mission is to serve the people and not interests, power, governments or organizations. During his speech, he noted many times that social media and the bloggers are the future and that big news organizations will turn more and more to Facebook, Twitter or whatever comes next, to gather news stories. Due to high expenses, news organizations will no longer send their correspondents, journalists to places to cover the events; they will use zero costs or low costs citizen journalists via social media. Wadah Khanfar encouraged everyone in the audience to become more media active and start producing stories with your smart phones or other devices that are relevant to you or a small group of people. The last but not the least, he challenged the audience by saying that a good journalist, if he knows that his news organization serves the interests of not only the people, should resign! Indeed, a fresh way at looking at the current and future state of the media.
I also enjoyed very much 3 panel discussions with Evgeny Morozov – the author of “The Net Delusion”.
After a panel discussion on “Wikileaks. The Italian Secrets”, I had a short chat with Kristinn Hrafnsson on the case of the US soldier Bradley Manning.
Andy Carvin, National Public Radio’s senior product manager for online communities, also gave an inspiring Kaynote Speech at Teatro Pavone. The Columbia Journalism Review referred to Carvin as a “living, breathing real-time verification system” and suggested his might be the best Twitter account to follow in the world. Andy used his Twitter account to cover the breaking news about the Arab Spring. In 2011, he and his Twitter followers utilized crowd sourced research to debunk false stories that Israeli weapons were being used against the people of Libya. Here is an interesting article from the Guardian who calls him “the man who tweets revolutions”.