Award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker Janette Ballard will lead a free workshop about the news, media and social media this coming Saturday.

Ballard, who is a leading expert on media literacy, will spend two hours discussing the media – in all its forms – and people’s relationship to it.

The workshop is part of the GenZ project being led by the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning Foundation (3CL) and supported by Times of Malta and the University of Malta.

Aimed at people born in 1995 or later, the GenZ project seeks to stimulate younger media consumers and producers to think about who makes up the media, what role it plays in their lives and whether media should be regulated.

Anyone who qualifies as a member of ‘Generation Z’ can submit their views on these issues and other related ones through the GenZ website. Contributions can take the form of blog posts, video, audio, infographics, imagery, cartoons or any other type of mixed media.

The two best submissions will win their authors a one-week internship with the BBC and Guardian in the UK. Contributions will be accepted until the end of February.

Ballard spent 15 years with the BBC, working as a director and producer on shows such as Panorama. She helped the BBC’s fact-checking Service ‘Reality Check’ go global and went on to launch all of the BBC’s audience-facing media/news literacy programmes. They include Young Reporter (UK) and Beyond Fake News (Kenya, Nigeria, India, Brazil, Serbia).

“Media, news and digital literacy are not magic wands, but part of a set of tools available to us to manage the baffling media landscape of today, where the line has blurred between content consumer and producer,” Ballard said.

“The ‘traditional media’, as we knew it, is constantly under pressure to change and adapt to the needs of the people formerly known as the audience, if it wishes to remain relevant. Particularly if it wishes to operate as a public good.”

Two-hour workshop

Ballard’s two-hour interactive and practical workshop is designed to get participants to think, explore and discuss the digital world and their relationship to it.

Participants can expect to leave the workshop with some practical tools to help verify and assess information and a better understanding of the media, social media and the ethical questions they present users with, among other things.

"Misinformation and attempts to manipulate old and new media outlets are not going away. Janette's workshop is a taster for the need to invest in media and digital literacies at all levels of society,” said 3CL director Alex Grech.

“Although the GenZ project is aimed at younger people, Saturday's workshop is also open to those interested in media freedoms, irrespective of the platforms they use to secure news."

The workshop will be held at 10am at the Valletta Design Cluster on Saturday, January 15. Register to attend online. Registration is free and on a first-come, first-served basis. COVID-19 regulations will be observed.

Contribute to the GenZ project and be in a chance to win a one-week internship at the BBC or Guardian.  

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