18 May 2016

Today, Nessa Childers, MEP launched upcoming conference ‘newsocracy - safeguarding journalism and exploring owner influence’. The all-day conference will take place in the Radisson Blu, Dublin 8 on Friday 3rd June, and stems from two pieces of research undertaken by Nessa Childers in partnership with the Institute For Future Media and Journalism, Dublin City University (FUJO/DCU).


Nessa Childers is a familiar face in the world of politics and has always had a keen interest in working ways of the media and it’s battle through the expansion of technology and the world wide web. Speaking about the conference, Nessa said, “This conference asks the question who owns the news? Most people enter journalism because they are energised and excited about news. But we need to ask if the traditional notions of democratic accountability and journalistic independence still apply. I’ve had an interest in the whole issue of media ownership since I was first elected to the European Parliament in 2009 – when we had a vote in the parliament about Berlusconi’s control of the media in Italy. This is my second conference about media, but in this one we are also looking in detail at social media as that is where most people under the age of 35 get their news - we ask is this a worry or is it a liberation?”.


The first piece of research examines the relationship between large media shareholders and media content through the coverage of four major news stories in Ireland between the years 2012 to 2015 – and the second piece of research looks at how social media affects different news organisations differently, through a series of interviews with these organisations to find out about their experiences. From this research the conference will question the concept of media diversity and ownership in both online and traditional print media - and explore the implications for traditional notions of democratic accountability and journalistic independence.


Discussion will be lead by a host of exceptional speakers from the media industry including; Renate Schroeder, Director European Federation of Journalists; Gemma O’Doherty, Investigative Journalist; Dr. Jane Suiter, Director of the Institute for Future Media and Journalism, DCU; Niamh Sweeney, Head of Public Policy, Facebook Ireland; Christine Bohan, Deputy Editor for TheJournal.ie and David Cochrane, Social Media Editor at The Irsh Times; to name a few.


In anticipation of the upcoming conference, Jane Suiter, DCU and conference speaker said, “We are delighted to work with Nessa and The European Parliament to further understand not only plurality but the impact social media has on different news organisations and the varied ways in which they have to adapt to an increasingly competitive environment”.


The conference is being held in partnership with the Group of Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D), the Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FUJO), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). For more information on the conference or to reserve a place, please visit http://nessachilders.ie/