Data Analytics and Media Literacy in Focus at Open Space Gathering Conference in Belgrade

BELGRADE, 21 October 2022 – Over 30 media professionals from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia came together at the Open Space Gathering conference in Belgrade to discuss why data analytics and media literacy matter with experts from Google Turkiye, Pikasa, Blue Rose Research, World 50, University of Osijek and the Baltic Center for Media Excellence from Latvia.

The two-day event focused on the importance of understanding data analytics and its role in the planning of media content production, gamification of media literacy, and cognitive aspects of mis/disinformation.

The conference was opened by Deputy Assistant Secretary overseeing policy towards the countries of the Western Balkans and the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Gabriel Escobar, and Internews President and CEO, Jeanne Bourgault.

Bourgault emphasized the role of Internews in supporting the independent media outlets in the region by addressing both the supply and demand side for high-quality information and exploring gamification as a method for enhancing media literacy skills of citizens.

In his opening remarks, Escobar said that achieving a greater degree of freedom of the media still presents a challenge for the countries in the Western Balkans, and support for free and independent media is still necessary for the further development of the region.

The conference participants agreed that data analytics is an integral part in understanding the needs of the audience, building trust with the audience, and creating a more sustainable media business. They also recognized that a more holistic approach to teaching media literacy is needed to counter the narratives coming from authoritarian regimes more effectively. In addition to the discussion, two media literacy games, Spinokio and Media Jungle, were presented to the audience.

The conference was organized within the frames of the Cultivating Local Independent Media in the Balkans (CLIMB) project implemented by Internews, in co-operation with Pikasa, a data analytics company that provides a platform to media outlets to support the editorial decision-making processes.