Notes from the IJF 2023: A journalism for the people

Published on April, 25 2023

The 17th International Journalism Festival just ended, and the European Press Prize had the possibility to play a bigger role in it than in any other year of its history. We were there for an official event, announcing the 2023 Shortlist, and we had the chance to experience, once again, what happens when journalism, with all its journalists, meets the people.

Here are a few thoughts, collected in bullet points, maybe the blueprint for a manifesto for “A journalism for the people”:

  1. Proximity: Being near your audience is everything, and that is what the IJF is there for, we feel. In a world that is hyperconnected and yet made of separate islands floating in the e-space, making our presence tangible is crucial. We need to be seen, in flesh and bones and, sometimes, tired eyes, stressed faces, so that understanding can happen and a conversation can start. Social media are, or were, great, but it is time to sit at a table with our audience.
  2. Openness: In many countries, journalists are a special category that lives in a space in between, talking to the powerful and to the citizen. Sometimes this role can lead to the wrong assumption that journalists are like oracles that report the word of divinities. This all has to end, because democracies are made by the people, and any power is given, not taken. This festival showed the human side of journalism and provided a safe space for conversations on press freedom and democracy.
  3. Impact: People want to see the effect of journalism on their daily lives, that is, the impact great journalism has on what they care for. In Perugia, among the audience, were not only media professionals, but also locals, happy, worried, or curious about what a specific topic means for their nation, or even their city.
  4. Inclusivity and diversity: To make readers more interested, represent them better in your newsrooms. This might be a simple rule that, if followed, might attract more people to quality news and make journalism stronger. At the IJF, we attended the most diverse panels and workshops and felt that journalism, interpreted in this way, is more than the sum of its parts.
  5. Resilience: Fake news discredits good journalism, casting a shadow of distrust on the whole category. Journalists need to fight back, taking the stage and talking honestly about their profession, a job that has always been in jeopardy and yet, never becomes useless or outdated. This is because democracies need journalists, and journalists can show their audiences that they are there for them.

What we do, at the Prize, is support journalists everywhere in the world. This is why we were delighted to be able to participate in the International Journalism Festival, involving our community and, we hope, contributing to shaping this new journalism, a journalism made for those who can make things change: the people.

Thanks to the IJF organisation, to our Members, our Partners, and above all to our Community and to Vereniging Veronica for having powered our Shortlist Announcement event. See you next year!

Our Shortlist Announcement

In Perugia we announced our 2023 Shortlist, 30 projects that we believe represent the best European journalism of the year, divided into Distinguished Reporting, Investigative Reporting, Innovation, Public Discourse, the new category of Migration Journalism and a Special Award for Ukraine Reporting.

An important thank you goes to our PrepCom members, who read through all the entries we received and selected those you can explore today here. And, among them, a special thank you goes to Cristian Lupșa, our PrepCom Chair and host at the event, for helping us present our finalists with the enthusiasm they deserve.