re:view – MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin: A Look Into The Crystal Ball

What challenges does the shift in media carry with it? How do media makers deal with the rapid technological developments in their daily working lives? For the fourth year in a row now, the MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin took place in cooperation with re:publica and offered media makers a platform for exchanging ideas.

Algorithms were one of the main thematic focuses of the conference, as they structure our online world on platforms such as Google or Facebook. We are confronted with them on a daily basis, they significantly influence our perception and, with it, our opinion formation. Prof. Dr. Frank Pasquale took on the topic, opening the #MCB17 and its media-political focus with his keynote in which he discussed algorithms from a critical perspective. He sees media regulatory authorities as being especially obligated to monitor digital platforms: “We need much stronger regulations to understand what’s really going on”. Serbian researchers Vladan Joler and Djordje Krivokapic from ShareLab showed one way of deciphering algorithms and their functions, offering an insight into the complex machinery involved.

With German federal elections coming up this year, the topic of fake news provided plenty of conversation material at this year’s MCB and was discussed in numerous panels. Many of the talks at the MEDIA CONVENTION also highlighted the political dimension of the digital shift. They covered new data protection policies and regulations, because with big data comes "big responsibility”. 

Current trends and new tools were also discussed at the #MCB17. Claas Weinmann from the “Bild” newspaper offered impressive insights into his work as a war correspondent. In the discussion he presented how he had used Snapchat to report from Mosul (Iraq) and highlighted the challenges one faces when using the app for reporting. In the same discussion, and in stark contrast to Weinmann, there were the MJUNIK vloggers who presented their “follow me around” format, which viewers of the German TV channel RTL2 will know, and which takes viewers along for the ride in the very pink everyday lives of the Munich bloggers’ flat share.

Besides panel discussions and talks, there was plenty of space and time for media makers to present the newest fruits of their labour. For example, Monday’s “Meet the Teams” saw the crew behind the series “jerks.” stop by and talk about the differences in the production of public broadcasting and video on demand formats, and how they were able to integrate them in the series. Besides that, they were also able to announce completely real, “un-fake” news about the show: the new season starts shooting in autumn.

Two sides crystallised out of the events at the #MCB17 in regards to the advancing digitalisation: On the one side, there are an abundance of new possibilities for the media sector. On the other, one cannot forget that this multifaceted spectrum also needs to be controlled. Media representatives must always keep an eye on topics such as data protection and the falsification of opinion.

Of course, these weren’t the only panel discussions, talks, meet-ups and workshops at the MCB. You can find all the topics, including VR/AR/MRhere. Video clips can be found in the respective sessions, in the archive or on YouTube

by Marielle Klein (FF

Photo credit: re:publica/Jan Zappner(CC BY-SA 2.0)