The search for answers begins!

 

Next Stop Potsdamer PLatz #RoadtripBerlin

 

WELCOME Europeans. This slogan welcomed us when we arrived on Friday September 1st in the European Academy Berlin in Grunewald.

WE, that is a trinational group of a Czechs, German and Polish academics.

The summer academy began in the only right way: with snacks to break the ice. Then we had an extensive getting to know each other round and astonishingly enough after 1 hour we knew the names of all 19 people present at the seminar.

The Friday was completed by collecting our expectations and a trip to the nearby supermarket for some crucial seminar supplies (no details).

 

On Saturday, a brainstorming in form of a silent discussion helped us to prepare our minds for controversial topics such as:

The trade-off between civil liberties and security, the freedom of speech and its limits, the meaning of being European, the EU after crisis, the differentiation between private and public life in the digital age.

In an interactive workshop Arthur Molt from treffpunkteuropa.de gave us some input on interviewing even the most difficult personalities.

This came in handy for our city research tour after lunch.

 

To find an answer to the question of

How does the media form opinions on past and current events in Europe?

we explored some historical places and exhibitions in Berlin. At Checkpoint Charlie and the Topography of terror we conducted interviews with tourists from all over the world.

 

 

Some of the astonishing findings were:

  • The new media are the mostly used source of information today. Online newspapers, webpages and social media keep the digital generation informed. Especially Facebook seems to become a news medium instead of just being a connection to friends. The comment section allows for an interactive exchange process where opinions are formed.
  • Which media is used depends as much on the availability of the medium in a spoken language as on demographics and interest.
  • Emotional bonds are crucial for remembering information. A good example are the impressive pictures combined with biographical input on the information walls at Checkpoint Charlie. This enables the visitor to put him/herself into the depicted persons position.
  • In order to form an opinion people still rely on background information in text-form.
Pictures remain. Selfies are a must in our digital age

Completely exhausted yet enlightened we spent a lovely evening with food and drinks in Kreuzberg (no details).

The evaluation of the arduous field work was done on Sunday morning followed by a short presentation for our fellow scientists. As special guest Olga Chladkovà senior producer of the ARD German TV, Studio Brussels gave us feedback as well as interesting insights into the press culture of the European institutions.


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