What 21st-century skills are needed by urban journalists nowadays? How can you use urban storytelling as a tool to create impact? Which urban stories successfully created change on a policy level? This programme highlights important urban stories while at the same time looking into skills you need to share these city stories with a broad audience. Also, we give you a sneak peek at what to expect more this week during the Urban Stories Festival!
Today, 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 70 percent by 2050. Urbanisation is a fact, making cities worldwide an even more relevant topic to talk about. What does urban journalism look like today and how can we make it function as a tool to address and solve urban issues?
The Urban Journalism Academy
Rome-based journalist Simone d’Antonio covers innovation, sustainability and urban issues. His stories appeared on Citiscope, Citylab and Guardian Cities. From a piece on how Turin is converting from a dead industrial area into an innovation hub, to an article that shines a light on how metropolitan cities are born in Italy – Simone is an experienced journalist always on the lookout for development stories. He is involved with the Urban Journalism Academy a pioneering and innovative initiative to train journalists and media professionals who are already interested or involved in urban development with reference to social and economic issues facing cities in the 21st Century.
Gregory Scruggs is senior correspondent for independent journalism platform Citiscope and a specialist when it comes to covering urban issues worldwide. He is specialised in cities and culture in the Americas and previously lived and worked in Brazil. He speaks several languages and experiences the world as his home and cities as his biggest love.
De Groene Amsterdammer
Saskia Naafs graduated in urban sociology and now works as a journalist with a focus on tourism, gentrification and urban development. In the last few years, she wrote several series of in-depth articles for De Groene Amsterdammer and the Amsterdam-based newspaper Parool. She was also part of De Vinexmensen, a project focusing on the current status of newly build neighbourhoods in the suburbs and the question: how can we design the future of these areas?
The Future of Cities
Filmmaker Oscar Boyson has made quite an impression with his short documentary The Future Of Cities (2016) in which he looks at how different cities are approaching the future in a sustainable way – focusing on issues of technology, transportation, health and history. The project is a conversation starter first, a video second. ‘I’m more of an organizer of data and information than a guy telling you how it is’, he says. He envisions himself as a curator of voices and perspectives, not an issuer of dogma. He hopes this project is the first chapter of an ongoing conversation. When it comes to outfitting cities for their future residents, ‘it’s crucial to consider who we’re making them for, and who we’re changing them with’, Oscar adds. ‘The best thing about cities, and the internet, is that they connect people.’ Oscar wants to keep telling urban stories and building on these ideas. Knowledge is power!
Janine Bakker and Monique Nolte believe that documentaries can have real impact when the audience not only watches, but also likes, shares and participates. That’s why they created THE CASE – an innovative multi-channel documentary platform where filmmakers share stories through all possible channels. Their goal is to connect the community to every individual, investor, politician, organisation or company that wants to make a change on a specific topic. The start of their idea was Monique’s documentary Het Beste voor Kees, which tells the story of 44-year old autistic Kees and his parents. The documentary caused quite a stir on social media, resulting in a Facebook page with over 46.500 followers, where you can read the still ongoing exchange of letters between Kees and documentary maker. How can documentaries be crucial instruments in educational plans and in structural behaviour as policy and legislation?