Novel Perspectives in The New Normal

This year, the Adenauer Media Leaders Academy conference came face-to-face with journalism industry experts and fellows for the first time post-pandemic.

Scholars and alumni were in for a tropical treat as the annual Adenauer Media Leaders Academy (AMLA) conference took the stage in the picturesque province of Bali in Indonesia last 13–16 September 2022.

With this event, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Media Programme Asia — a German foundation that supports the training of journalists toward a free, ethical, and responsible press — followed through with one of its missions to strengthen the dialogue between media and politics, as well as monitor and highlight current media trends in the region.

The AMLA 2022 marked the first face-to-face conference after two years of meeting online during the pandemic. Using the Komaneka At Bisma hotel’s thirdfloor meeting room as the main discussion ground, the event centered around the theme Perspectives after the Pandemic: Challenges for the Media in a New Normal.

Media experts and fellows from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, and the Philippines talked about journalism in the post-pandemic era throughout the two-day conference. The networking event of the Adenauer fellowship also gave participants the chance to catch up with old cohorts and socialize with new colleagues in person.

Day 1

Participants and speakers at the AMLA 2022 had an early, rousing start to the morning via a welcome spiel by KAS Media Programme Asia director Ansgar Graw. His warm opening remarks were followed by Indonesia and Timor-Leste country office head Dr Denis Suarsana who expressed excitement that the conference happened in Bali, notably “the most beautiful place in the world”, according to him.

The first talk of the event, What’s Next for Journalism?, was kickstarted by Ateneo De Manila University’s
Asian Center for Journalism executive director Luz Rimban. Concise and straight to the point, she explained the future of journalism in the age of disinformation and the digital landscape, as well as stressed the importance of revisiting journalism standards and practices.

Next on the podium was Singapore-based radio broadcaster and VanMedia Group CEO Glenn van Zutphen. His engaging presentation titled Business Journalism: How to Become an International Journalist discussed how being clear, concise, and bold are keys to becoming an effective global storyteller. Zutphen also touched on the significance of considering the audience’s needs, interests, pain points, and sensitivities when it comes to reporting news that matter to them.

The final speaker of the day was ABS-CBN senior multi-platform journalist Jacque Manabat. Her talk TikTalk: Social Media Hacks for the Modern Journalists riveted participants and her fellow speakers alike, as she shared how she harnesses the power and influence of TikTok as a news presenter. Manabat started using the platform as an experiment in 2021 and has now grown to be the most followed media personality in Southeast Asia at the short-form video app.

Day 2

AMLA 2022’s second leg started with Dr Vinod K Jose presenting ways to overcome challenges and tips to stand out in the new age of media. He currently serves as the executive editor of India-based politics and culture magazine, The Caravan. In Shahzeb Ahmed Hashim’s Journalism as the Second Draft, the IBA Pakistan’s Center for Excellence in Journalism lecturer talked about how journalism is becoming the “second draft of history”, the cons of free social media, and why these mediums are democratizing content.

TIME Magazine Person of the Year 2018 and National Geographic photographer-at-large Shahidul Alam served as the last AMLA speaker for the year. His talk, Journalism Experience, was conducted via Zoom where he told stories about his decades-long work as a renowned Bangladeshi photojournalist who bravely traversed through national disasters. He also answered questions from visual journalism graduate participants about his creative process and photo composition, to name a few.

Connecting Together

Wedged between the scheduled AMLA talks were networking sessions that aimed to bring Adenauer fellows to bond with each other in a meaningful, memorable way.

KAS Media Programme Asia project manager Lisa Wlaschek conducted the first session on Day 1. It was called Past-Pandemic-Future, where attendees participated in a getting to know each other professionally within five minutes, speed-dating style.

On Day 2, the networking session, A Booster-Shot for Journalism, was led by Hashim. He tasked participants to report on climate change using three story elements such as recording a podcast episode.

Both days at the AMLA ended with a half-hourlong open forum that was facilitated by the KAS Media Programme Asia team, Graw and Wlaschek. While this year’s networking event was a success, open questions, event feedback, and other remarks were highly encouraged, as the participant responses are crucial to make future conferences better.

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ArtIQulate is a publication associated with the Adenauer Fellowship, a scholarship programme by the Media Programme Asia, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Ltd.
About the author

Ara Luna

Ara Luna is a lifestyle and travel editor in Manila who is currently completing her master’s degree in journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University under the KAS Media Programme. Her work appears in Scoot in-flight magazine; Singapore Airlines’ member-exclusive digital magazine, PRIORITY; and Cebu Pacific Airlines’ online publication, Discover with Smile.

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