Digital Backyards Forum Bottom-up & Open: Report from the three-day workshop

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  • Bottom-up & Open: Report from the three-day workshop

    Citizen-Journalism is a wide field, since citizenship and journalism mean different things to people from different countries – is it about voicing up against a repressive regime? or against a stagnant cultural landscape dominanted by “angst”?

    Against this backdrop invited journalists and programmers from eight countries representing the following platforms:

    Global Voices (Kioto/Japan)
    Global Voices (Porto/Portugal)
    Irrepressible Voices (Berlin/Germany)
    Online Only (Vienna/Austria)
    Radio Belgrade (Laktasia/Serbia)
    Sourcefabric (Berlin/Prague)
    The Sponge (Bukarest/Romania)
    @Verdade (Maputo/Mosambique)

    In the three day workshop (concluded by a panel) we tried to map out the wide field of Citizen-Journalism through the lense of two major movements in contemporary network cultures: on the one hand the movement(s) in the spirit of “bottom up” – as it manifests itself in the blogosphere, wikipedia and youtube; on the other hand the movement(s) in the spirit of “open” – as it manifests itself in programming (open source) and many other fields including politics (open government).

    Some of the underlying questions were: What means bottom up & open in the context of citizen journalism in your country? What is the motivation to run a media platform that is bottom up & open? Which problems does it try to solve? What role does the theoretical and practical knowledge of programming play?

    In the two day hackathon-style workshop we created small groups around specific issues – with presentations of results in the end. The setting on the first day was the office of in Pankow. Since it was to cold in the backyard during the morning hours we visited the nearby park and later returned to our office backyard. On the second day we held our workshop in Kreuzberg at the office of sourcefabric.

    Among the results from the first two workshop days was a project idea for a knowledge exchange platform for journalists and programmers, drafts for tools for information verification as well as election monitoring and a manual for starting/running a media platform.

    The panel, that we organized on the third day, took place in the context of re:campaign / re:publica. Representatives of Global Voices Japan (Keiko Tanaka), Online Only (Markus “fin” Hametner) and The Sponge (Stefan Candea) were discussing under the moderation of Krystian Woznicki (

    The panel took a largely underexposed fact into account: politics, society and culture are set up differently from area to area and pose different challenges to the cooperation practises of individual platforms. Against this backdrop we were looking for answers to the following question: What can NGOs learn from citizen journalism in order to make their campaigns more effective? We had quite a multifacted discussion. Here you can listen to the audio recording of it.

    And here you can look at the photos from the three day workshop (incl. panel).

    Please note that this inspiring workshop was a also a warm up to the big annual “Berliner Gazette”-conference taking place in Berlin from November 7th to 9th. It is called COMPLICITY and deals with emerging forms of collaboration. Save the date! We keep you posted!

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