Media for Change Virtual Conference

What Can Media Change?

An Interactive Virtual Gathering

Registration Open Now

Media for Change is a Florida based non-profit organization committed to discovering, defining and sharing best practices in media change making of the 21st century.

On November 17, 2016 we will hold a global virtual event that will bring together top media makers and thinkers internationally to discuss the role of media in building a better world.

Media makers around the world are addressing globally cross-cutting themes like climate change, sustainability, poverty, security, labor and migration… While mainstream media play a significant role in shaping public perceptions on such issues, independent voices have lost ground as a public sphere influence. This conference is one effort to link up and shine a light on independent thinking and media making about global problems and their potential solutions.

The 12-hour event will consist of 4 global hubs where people will gather for 3 hours before passing the baton to the next venue. Each venue will have a keynote and 2 panels. Screenings and exhibitions of submitted works will take place asynchronously and a virtual exhibit that attendees can visit starting a week leading up to the conference and during the conference. The exhibition will close two weeks after the conference.

Four institutions will serve as international hubs for the event. They are:

  • Temple University, Japan Campus, Tokyo.
  • School of Journalism, English and Communication, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK
  • School of Communication, University of Miami, USA
  • SENAC, São Paulo, Brazil
  • The Engagement Lab at Emerson College, Boston, USA will serve as the curator of all exhibits at the conference.

The conference will be hosted on the multi-feature professional platform vConferenceOnline. While a screen will be dedicated to live streaming of conference events, online viewers will be able to participate in the conversation in real time through social media channels such as twitter, facebook etc. A virtual exhibition hall will be constructed under a separate tab. Exhibitors and sponsors will have access to multi-feature virtual booths to showcase their work.

The live program will be archived online for posterity.


Temple University, Tokyo, Japan

Digital Cities: Communities and Connectivity in the 21st Century
Cities are large human settlements with a high concentration of people and often the center of a nations’ activities. Today the fastest growing megalopoli in the word are mostly located in Asia, a hub for tremendous innovation in the technological sector. Trying to integrate adequate urban development with a solid communication technology infrastructure is challenging. Despite fast advances in the digital sphere, disparity is visible non only compared to rural areas, but also in terms of the the connectivity and access of city dwellers to information systems.

In this segment, Temple University Japan will bring together social scientists, academics, journalists, academics, media makers, activists, to discuss developing proposals and success projects that integrate citizen engagement, policies, operations, logistics, technology and data in order to create a developed digital infrastructure efficiently serves citizens.

How do you develop interactive systems and urban informatics that improve the the quality of life those living in cities? How to develop a smart city? It seems to be about needs and sometimes about demands. Often it's been about natural disasters or outside threats that that forced governments to develop networks and projects that promote faster delivery of information.

Participants in this dialogue will discuss digital experiments that have been or are in the process of being implemented and evaluate their success and failures. Where is the future taking us?

Young India Fellowship, Ashoka University, Sonepat, India

World's Largest Democracy in the Age of Social Media
As media evolved in the 18th Century, over 200 years it has formed and shaped the perception of citizens across nations. Traditionally termed as the fourth pillar of democracy, today media has the anchoring effect of forming public opinion – be it through newspaper, television, cinema, the internet or more recently, through social media.

As media strives to be the mirror which reflects the truth and realities of our time, it comes to question who is the authority which gets to decide what reality is, or whose version of reality is the higher or more urgent. As the units of media turn increasingly institutionalized, corporate ownership and commercial pressures begin to influence media content. The information capital starts being used as a tool for propaganda as against being an instrument to create a more informed citizenry.

Through this session at Ashoka University, New Delhi, we will attempt to unravel to what extent social media has played a role in the making and breaking of Indian elections. With a focus on the Indian Elections of 2014, we will try to answer why Twitter outrages have gained such mainstream media coverage, and broader questions about how the avenues of social media have made it a conducive environment for people with similar views to congregate and build a singular narrative of social information. The primary concern to be raised is - will this advent of an alternate, revolutionary forum of media make the society more or less democratic.

Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK

Migration and Coexistence: Media and Empathy in the 21st Century
The media are often accused of stereotyping 'the Other' and fuelling nationalism and hatred. As millions of people around the world are being displaced or face conflict, humanitarian crises and natural disasters, and as many societies are facing complex challenges of multiculturalism and coexistence, the media - old and new - can also be powerful facilitators of empathy and intercultural understanding.

In this segment of the Media for Change conference, Bournemouth University will bring together journalists, academics, media makers, policy makers, artists and activists to debate current trends in the reporting of global current affairs; to curate examples of best practice; and to showcase innovative modes of storytelling that cross borders, bridge divides, inform, educate and engage audiences.

We invite creative, academic and journalistic input and contributions from both established and emerging experts and practitioners. Our emphasis is on storytelling that combines converged or cutting edge techniques with the most fundamental principles of human communication: sharing experiences, preserving and processing memories, articulating hopes and dreams, underlining our common humanity. This is an opportunity to migrate ideas via media across international borders to promote empathy. Participants in this dialogue will be actively embodying the ethos we aim to celebrate.

University of Miami, Coral Gables, USA

Food Stories
The world is worried about the prospect of feeding 7 billion people sustainably in the near future. While food media has become standard fare on television and news media, the coverage has not yet focused on the interconnectedness of questions surrounding human rights, sustainability, health, innovations and cultural preservation embedded in providing food for populations. Sessions at the University of Miami will focus on this interconnectedness and innovative digital media strategies to bring the stories of food and sustainability to audiences in impactful ways.

The program will include filmmakers, thinkers and activists who will showcase their work and discuss media strategies and impact of their work.

SENAC, São Paulo, Brazil

Digital Grassroots
In recent years Brazil has seen a flurry of street level activism demanding changes in fundamental areas of national life and public social policy. Digital media played a significant role in the organization and execution of these major events, evidencing the effectiveness of direct one-to-many and peer communication strategies bypassing the mainstream media. Protesters created virtual networks using smart phones and alternative audiovisual materials to inform peers and the public in real time about happenings out in the streets. The mainstream media picked up this alternative coverage as live sources amplifying the voice from the streets. The sessions at Senac Lapa Scipião in São Paulo will highlight how groups and individuals have made use of the digital media able to reach the public and advance their causes.




Digital Cities-Welcome

Irene Herrera

PRESENTATION: Crowd Translation Project Helps Tell China Story

Dr. Masato Kajimoto
Anne Kruger
In this sharing session, Dr. Masato Kajimoto and Ms. Anne Kruger from the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC), the University of Hong Kong, will discuss their experiment to crowd-translate social media posts that have been censored in mainland China into English in an effort to tell China’s story to the wider world.

The Weiboscope in English project was organized to coincide with the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square student protest of 1989.

The team and their students have collaborated with Meedan, an organization that builds digital tools for global journalism and translation, and used their software Bridge to group-translate some of the censored Chinese Sina Weibo posts that are monitored through another social media data-archiving project called Weiboscope at JMSC.

The translated posts were publicly distributed through Facebook and Twitter; dozens of Western journalists, editors and China-watchers have followed the two accounts, despite the experimental nature of the pilot project that lasted only for two weeks.

The team is now preparing to make it a Capstone project for the graduate-level journalism students in early 2017. The Weiboscope in English project was recently mentioned in a presentation at the Online News Association’s 2016 Conference in Denver as well.

PRESENTATION: Accelerating the Uptake of Digital City Applications through Cloud Computing

Panagiotis Tsarchopoulos
Cloud computing facilitates the uptake of digital city applications as it disengages City Authorities from any resource constraints, technical or financial and allows for high-quality services to the citizens. This talk will present the experiences gained from the STORM CLOUDS project which provides a methodology for the successful migration of applications to the cloud along with an open cloud platform and a portfolio of cloud-ready digital city applications.

PRESENTATION: SAFECAST - Global Open and Connected

Azby Brown
What does it take to build a vibrant and effective global community of citizen scientists devoted to environmental monitoring?  This talk will discuss both the technical and human aspects of the SAFECAST project, established immediately following the start of the nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011 to provide independent and credible measurements of radiation levels in Japan and around the world. Now considered a model for crowdsourced, open, citizen-based data collection and dissemination, the SAFECAST project evolved in an agile, ad-hoc fashion, and has put innovative hardware and software tools in the hands of volunteers worldwide.

KEYNOTE: Digital Cities and Civic Engagement

Sree Sreenivasan
One Month @NYCgov: Thoughts from NYC's new Chief Digital OfficerSree Sreenivasan, @sree, who just started as NYC's CDO, shares what he has learned so far in his work with the world's greatest city (with apologies to Tokyo, where he was born!). He will discuss thoughts around startups, the sharing economy and the gig economy and how he does digital strategy around public-facing technology for a city with 8.5 million residents, 4.5 million commuters, 55 million visitors and 300,000 employees.

PANEL: Cities, Sensors, Games and Data Localization

Eric Gordon
Keiko Nishimura
KEIKO NISHIMURA argues that users of location-aware technology in Japan, through interacting within a mobile public space, experience an ambient sociality where sense of alienation and estrangement of the urban environment is mediated, in places other than their home or work. Unlike conventional mobile social media that connects "friends" in distance, locative media like Nintendo's Street Pass enables users to interact with proximate strangers. It also encourages urban dwellers to participate in the commonly shared popular cultural narratives. I argue especially urban commuter trains in Tokyo affords particularly dense participation in such mobile public space, fostering a transient sociality, which I call sociality of surechigai (passing by). 

SCREENING: At the Edge of the Present directed by Roman Gerodimos

Dr Roman Gerodimos
A short film directed by Roman Gerodimos and narrated by Sam Booth about urban coexistence.


Dr. Karen Fowler-Watt

KEYNOTE INTERVIEW: A Conversation with Jake Wallis Simons

Jake Wallis Simons
Dr. Anna Feigenbaum
Jake Wallis Simons is an award-winning journalist and author. He is the Associate Global Editor of Daily Mail Online and has covered international stories from Latin America to the Middle East. He has covered the terrorist attacks in France, as well as the migrant crisis in Greece. His multimedia reportage of his journey through the West Bank (Meet the Settlers, won the European Newspapers award.

SHOWCASE: Multimedia Vignettes

Dr Roman Gerodimos
 Interview with Ivan Sigal (Global Voices)

Zina Sabbagh Sackur on teaching refugees

Syrians in Salzburg (Rafael Diaz Ceballos and students at the Salzburg Academy)

Aftershock Nepal (Naomi Mihara, Patrick Ward, Sven Wolters, Chindu Sreedharan)

ROUNDTABLE 1: Migration and crises: engaging audiences, facilitating empathy

Dr Roman Gerodimos
Dr. Edward Lawrence
Patrick Ward
MODERATOR: Dr Roman Gerodimos (Principal Lecturer in Global Current Affairs, Bournemouth University)

Dr Sue Sudbury (Senior Lecturer in Media Production, Bournemouth University)

Dr Brad Gyori (Senior Lecturer in Digital Storytelling, Bournemouth University)

Joe Nersessian (Press Association)

Edward Lawrence (Freelance journalist / BBC, ITN)

Patrick Ward (Freelance journalist / Bournemouth University)

PRESENTATION: The Brexit referendum campaign: Migration & Media

Dr. Daniel Jackson

SCREENING - SUNÚ - Spanish with English subtitles

Teresa Camou
Seen through the eyes of small, midsize and large Mexican maize producers, SUNÚ knits together different stories from a threatened rural world. It journeys deep into the heart of a country where people realize their determination to stay free, to work the land and cultivate their seeds, to be true to their cultures and forms of spirituality, all in a modern world that both needs them and despises them. SUNÚ reveals how maize and everything it gives life to could be lost forever, and shares a generous tapestry of simple, heartfelt messages for the farmers of the world and the city dwellers who could lose the capability to make important choices unless they act soon.

(Description taken from )

Concluding Reflections


DEBATE: What Can Media Change? Perspectives on the Digital Grassroots in Brazil.

Ivone Rocha
Flavia Martinelli
Paulo Castilho
Laura Caprigilione
Moderated by Ivone Rocha, this debate will feature veterans in the digital communication Flavia Martinelli, Paulo Castilho and Laura Caprigilione. They will discuss various aspects of activism in Brazil over the last several years and the role of digital media in grassroots movements.

NOTE: This session will be in Portuguese.

SCREENING - Liberty Square: Power, History & Race in Miami directed by Moses Shumow

Dr. Moses Shumow

SCREENING - Food Chains directed by Sanjay Rawal

Sanjay Rawal
In this exposé, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.

There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farmworkers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved – all within the borders of the United States.

Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets. Fast food is big, but supermarkets are bigger – earning $4 trillion globally. They have tremendous power over the agricultural system. Over the past 3 decades they have drained revenue from their supply chain leaving farmworkers in poverty and forced to work under subhuman conditions. Yet many take no responsibility for this.

The narrative of the film focuses on an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida – the Coalition of Immokalee Workers or CIW – who are revolutionizing farm labor. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed – to ensure a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane, transparent food chain.

Food Chains premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival and screened subsequently at the Tribeca Film Festival and Guadalajara Film Festival. Food Chains will be released nationwide November 21st. The film’s Executive Producers include Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser. (Description Taken From


Rebekah Chung

KEYNOTE: Breaking the Chains-how we inspired change within multi-billion dollar food conglomerates

Sanjay Rawal


James Jiler

CONVERSATION - James Jiler and Anita Franchetti

James Jiler
Miami based Urban Greenworks' executive director James Jiler and Cerasee Farm manager Anita Franchetti join host Rebekah Chung to talk about strategies to address the issue of urban food deserts, containing health crises and providing meaningful employment in inner cities.

VIDEO - Sarah Khan

Dr. Sarah K. Khan

VIRTUAL PANEL Media, Food and Globalization

Dr. Krishnendu Ray
Teresa Camou
Sanjeev Chatterjee
While the media celebrates democratization of taste in major cities around the world where a culture of international cuisines has taken root, we rarely hear about the broader implications of this aspect of globalization. This virtual panel discussion will discuss food, livelihood, liveliness of cities and the lost opportunities for storytellers of the 21st century.