Media Program

media-program-imageNearly two-thirds of all conflicts have a cultural, religious, or ethnic component. TheUNAOC Media Program is grounded in the philosophy that media have a critical role to play in increasing public understanding of such conflicts and of issues that polarize communities. The media’s reach and ability to influence public opinion makes it vital for journalists to fully understand the subject they cover, as well as their audiences in order to secure the most accurate, balanced and informative reporting possible.

However, creating this type of quality content does not come easy, given the context of the news industry. With tight deadlines, increasingly scarce budgets and a proliferation of online resources, finding accurate, fair, and informed sources has never been so crucial.

Aiming to provide today’s media with tangible tools and opportunities, the UNAOC Media Program is principally concerned with the following objectives:

Editors and Media Owners Engagement

The Media Program raises awareness of cross-cultural issues by engaging with editors and media owners on a regular basis. Seminars and workshops involving high-level professionals and experts are held regularly. These result in concrete action taken by the participants to further the quality of information available.

Skill and Capacity Building for Journalists

The Media Program creates frequent opportunities for journalists around the world to enhance their skills via trainings and exposure to their peers from different parts of the world.

Most recently, the Media Program secured an important partnership with Google and the World Bank Institute, developing a series of media trainings called “Digital Tools for Newsgathering and Reporting Across Cultures.” These workshops help journalists learn how to communicate with their audience appropriately via social media as well as strategies to improve their online information gathering and processing skills.

In order to help build journalistic skills, the Media Program provided the opportunity to a selection of several journalists from various parts of the world to report on the UNAOC Global Forum, where they networked, interacted and learned from peers as well as experienced trainers.

The program is always working to organize in-person and online training opportunities focusing on enhancing cross-cultural relations through media coverage.

Monitor Media Content and Coverage

The UNAOC Media Program facilitates studies regarding how the media covers various cross-culturally sensitive issues pertinent in today’s news. The results of these studies are shared with the general public and media outlets to recognize well-done coverage as well as shed light on media practices in need of revision.

In partnership with the European Journalism Centre, five academic institutions (King’s University, Deutsche Welle Akadamie, Missouri School of Journalism, Christelijke Hogeschool Ede, Institut National de l’Audiovisuel) and funding from the Open Society Foundation, the UNAOC launched a data journalism project to study how the media covers migration.

Online Resources

Global Experts

The Global Experts is an online resource connecting journalists with world-class experts who provide commentary and diversify opinions on issues and crises involving political, social and religious dimensions. The website gives journalists access to a series of high-level experts available to give in-depth commentary on current cross-culturally difficult topics. Global Experts regularly sends out media alerts with suggestions of which experts are best for the particular story, in order to help journalists acquire the most accurate story while respecting tight deadlines. The Global Experts also develops article series written by experts and then shared with prominent newspapers around the world, delving in-depth on specific cross-cultural issues.

Multimedia Projects and Videos on cross-cultural issues

The UNAOC Media Program conducts a number of multimedia and video projects aimed at providing journalists with a better understanding of complex issues. These videos produced in cooperation with various partners (British Council and Missouri School of Journalism) on a series of issues, featuring a diverse array of experts’ opinions and analysis on common themes. Some of these themes include the importance of religion symbols, hybrid communities; positive civil society initiatives that mitigate conflicts, and more.

Events and Debates

The UNAOC Media Program regularly organizes events and debates on issues of interest to media professionals and the public at large, convening experts and media professionals.