Swiss Seminar Outcomes and #CoveringMigration Campaign Seek Improved Migration Coverage


The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) has just launched a social media campaign, #coveringmigration, to continue discussions on how to best cover migration in the media following the release of the outcomes [EN, FR, DE] of a Swiss seminar in May 2013 in Berne.

The campaign will run through mid-July and cover the following themes:
• What are best practices for covering migration?
• What helps journalists establish context?
• What resources are available for journalists?
• What work is still needed to improve coverage?

Journalists and experts alike are invited to take part in the conversation and contribute their ideas.

The campaign can be found using #coveringmigration on twitter, the @UNAOC and @UNAOCMigration twitter accounts, and the UNAOC Facebook page. Readers are encouraged to share the campaign with those they think may be interested in the subject.

#coveringmigration is the product of two high-level seminars on the topic of media and migration. The first was held in Paris last January, and the second in Bern, Switzerland three weeks ago.

As in Paris, the Berne seminar convened journalists, editors and experts in the field of migration with a particular focus on the Swiss context. It included presenters from the International Organization for Migration, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Panos Paris Institute. The editor of the Associated Press addressed participants via videoconference from New York.

Following the presentations, the participants developed a series of recommendations for improving coverage of migration.

First among the recommendations was for journalists to develop a working knowledge of migration. This may be accomplished through regular trainings, offering migration programs in journalism schools, and encouraging journalists to specialize in the coverage of migration.

An additional outcome of the conference was the creation of a glossary of terms for covering migration. The glossary is currently being developed to ensure specificity and accuracy in multiple languages.

Participants also recommended enhanced communication between key actors in the coverage of migration, including networks of journalists, mainstream and migrant media, and subject matter experts and newsrooms.

Recommendations for rewarding journalists and newsrooms for excellence in migration coverage were also made.

In addition to the social media campaign, the participants will stay connected via an online network which will eventually be expanded to include other experts and journalists covering migration.