Snapchat, Storytelling and Press Freedom – MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin 2016!


Bernhard Pörksen talks about the power of storytelling.

New business models in the world of media, the future of film, media policy and press freedom – #MCB16 was marked by diverse topics and offered numerous interesting and exciting programme content during its two full days. Here is a review of this year's highlights.

The media congress took place for its third consecutive year in parallel with re:publica at STATION Berlin on 2 & 3 May. #MCB16 participants were offered a total of 74 session on three stages and the "Media Cube". Discussion and talks addressed issues in media policy, current trends, business models and media strategies and each stage was curated by the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg and re:publica respectively. The rapid changes in the media landscape was reflected in the MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin's choice of diverse keynote speaker during the two event days. School student Joshua Arntzen joined via Skype to explain Snapchat to adults, while Professor Barbara van Schewick gave a talk on net neutrality. Further speakers included Edward Snowden, EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger, musician Friedrich Lichtenstein and journalist Carline Mohr.

Edward Snowden via Skype at #MCB16.

One of the major highlights this year was the talk held by Edward Snowden and Luciano Floridi. Many participants came to hear the known whistleblower, who took part in the MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin via live-stream from Moscow. In his talk, he was critical of the German government for refusing to offer him asylum and appealed to them to stand up for privacy rights.

Huge numbers of participants also attended the Snapchat for adults talk "Snapchat für Erwachsene" by Joshua Arntzen. Although he was unable to attend in person, he was digitally present. His video was followed by a live Skype session for Q&As with the audience. Snapchat was a popluar topic in several other sessions, including Sascha Lobo's re:publica talk. Franziska Broice explained how organisations, like the EU parliament, have begun using the app and Kixa Nebraska provided a hands-on workshop on how to use the social network. 

 Franziska Broich talks about how organisations can use Snapchat.

Berhard Pörksen's session on the power of storytelling ("Macht des Storytelling") was also well attended. He talked about the "magic of telling stories" and used several good examples of how storytelling can be used and implemented. It was followed by Johannes Korten's talk "Das Netz ist ein guter Ort, wenn wir es gemeinsam zu einem machen", which supplemented Bernhard Pörksen's content. Last year, Korten started a donation campaign using the hashtag #einBuchfuerKai after author Kai-Eric Fitzner fell into a coma. His wife needed financial help so she started a Facebook campaign for readers to buy Fitzner's book. The campaign was able to raise 13 000 Euro. Juxtaposed to our re:publica topic on #Hatespeech, this talk was able to show off a different perspective from the digital world.

#MCB16 also focused heavily on press freedoms throughout the world. Vivienne Chow used her session to explain how freedom of speech rights have changed in Honk Kong since the territory was reunited with mainland China. Panellists Erkan Saka, Alissa Wahid, Rafida Bonya Ahmed and Golnaz Esfandiari used their session to report on their personal experiences of governments and other power entities suppressing their freedom of speech and expression.

But that's not nearly all. For all of you who couldn't make it to MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin or couldn't attend all talks, use this link to get to the #MCB16 video playlist. Enjoy!

Press reviews:

"At this year's re:publica, two speakers caused a visitor rush to the stages – despite only being there via live stream. The first was Edward Snowden, who exposed a global surveillance network. The other, a 10th grader named Joshi who joined via Skype from his room in Hamburg-Altona." Spiegel Online

"Visitor numbers show that Snapchat is no longer a fringe phenomenon. Sitting, squatting, standing tightly bunch together, hundreds of people amassed in Stage 6 of the STATION Berlin to hear Franziska Broich. With her talk “Let's snap it! How organisations can use Snapchat” the journalist came to explain the new social network to re:publica pioneers and suggest ways to best the app." t3n

"The whistleblower is usually eloquent and polite when talking in public. However, at the MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin, the parallel event to re:publica, he was surprisingly candid about his disappointment and frustration at still being in Russia." ZEIT ONLINE

"Through MEDIA CONVENTION and re:publica, Berlin hosts two conferences which are of international importance on the topics of media and digitisation." rbb

Photo credit: MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin by Uwe Völkner / Ulf Büschleb / Uwe Völkner