On Thursday, February 3, 2022, a conference entitled Youth in the Media Mirror was held in Belgrade. On the conference were presented results from the research Youth in the Media Mirror 2021 (from the page 79 is Research Summary on English). On the conference were held panel discussions as well were held on the topic of Youth in the mainstream media; Youth in youth media; Youth and digital media; Youth, media and political participation.
In the introductory part of the conference, the Secretary General of the KOMS, Miljana Pejić, and the President of the Management Board of the KOMS, Uroš Savić Kain, addressed. It was pointed out that the number of announcements about young people during the year is important, but that it does not say much – because it is important to observe the context in which young people are reported. “It is extremely important whether these topics about young people are important to them,” said Miljana Pejić, adding: “We all bear responsibility for the media image of young people, and I hope that our personal and professional examples will show in which directions it it can be more objective and better and in line with what is important to young people. “
Presentation of the findings of the research Youth in the Media Mirror 2021.
The next panel presents the results of the research. This panel was attended by Ivan Subotić, researcher and FakeNews Tragac and coordinator for KOMS membership, Milja Zdravković. Ivan explained the way the research was conducted, ie he explained that the basis of the research is a quantitative-qualitative analysis of 9 mainstream media, as well as an analysis of 8 youth portals and an analysis of YouTube channels run by girls. Then Milja Zdravković presented some of the key results of the research.
- The number of contents about young people is twice as high as last year, primarily due to more detailed reporting on the black chronicle and the topic of youth vaccination.
- On one news item about activism, there are 13 news items from the black chronicle.
- Cultural content for young people and youth activism is very rarely reported.
- Young people are portrayed in a positive context in every sixth text or article. Negative context is three times more common.
- If young people are portrayed in a negative connotation, they are most often presented as violent, immoral and promiscuous.
- Youth safety is again the most common topic (289 posts in 14 days) – reporting on crime and crimes.
- Three quarters of the content is dedicated to the local, of which Belgrade is the most represented.
- When media content points to a problem, 19% of the content points to a concrete solution.
- There are certain elements on youth portals that are not present in the mainstream media – illustrations, infographics, communication with young people, openness to young people’s views in the form of confessions or polls.
- The analyzed portals (except one) dealt with the topic of activism; there are a large number of texts that affirm activist work and the work of citizens’ associations.
- Of the 50 most popular YouTube channels, 10 are edited by girls, the first channel is in 12th place.
- The thematic framework of the analyzed contents shows that they are the most represented – experiments and challenges, hidden cameras and jokes, confessions, fashion and cosmetics, as well as travel.
- When it comes to social topics, such videos are recorded in the form of dialogue or confession.
- Non-value-neutral videos are aimed at empowerment, self-confidence, understanding, tolerance, learning and etiquette
Milja Zdravković pointed out one important problem: “I would like to point out the problem we noticed, and that is that the media, when they come to events organized by youth associations, often come to the event, pick up some statements at the beginning and leave. That is why often this reporting on events does not focus on the topic of events and young people, but on some topics that have nothing to do with the event itself.”
Panel: Youth in the mainstream media
On this panel was discussed about the way the mainstream media reports on young people, and Stefan Janjić, editor-in-chief of Fake News Tragac, Filip Lukić, journalist, and Lana Nikolić, a youth activist and journalist, spoke on this topic. On this occasion, the more frequent negative connotation that is used when reporting on young people was pointed out. Lana Nikolić pointed out: “Young people who have exceptional results, young people who have achieved something exceptional, are often called to speak in the media. It seems to me that this elitist approach should disappear, that only young people who have an extraordinary result should be heard. We should not send the message “you just have to work hard for us to appreciate you”. Personally, I have always tried to convey the message “it is important that you are here and that you do what you are happy in and we will still love you.” It was pointed out that the role of civil society is very important because it provides the infrastructure that young people need in order to get some topics of importance to young people in sight. The panel concluded with the recommendations made by the participants. “This is our society, young people belong to this society and young people have, that is, we have the right to participate in all processes, to be an active part of it, to ask ourselves, to say NO and not to agree to things we do not want to do,” he concluded. is Filip Lukić.
Panel: Youth in Youth Media
At the panel dedicated to youth media, two representatives of these media spoke – Andjelija Stanimirovic, editor of YouthVibes and Anja Mrkobrada, editor of the Mingle portal. They spoke from their experience about the content that was placed on the youth media they edit. It was pointed out that it is important that, when young people are written and told stories, that is, they are the actors, and not just the objects in the story. “Participation of young people in that process so that they say what is not clear to them and what scares them – the most important thing in the whole process,” said Andjelija. Anya added: “I think that the media space that young people can get so that their voice is actually heard and that they know that they belong to society, that they are an equal part of it, is very important.”
When asked about the role of the media in relation to education and information on the topic of mental health, it was pointed out that the positive thing is that the topic of mental health is more present and that it was more legitimized in the media in the previous period than before. It was concluded that the media can help young people feel bad or negative, but also have the potential to create a safer, safer environment by reporting clearly without conflicting and confusing information, pointing to examples of good practice, practical guidelines, pointing to addresses which young people can turn to. From all this, it was concluded that the media can certainly have a dual role.
In the end, they stated what in their opinion makes a good youth media. “A space where young people can critically address topics that interest them,” said Andjelija. Anja believes that a good youth media is one that “reports on social reality in a language adapted to young people“.
Panel: Youth and digital media
As the research Youth in the Media Mirror in 2021 included the gender perspective of YouTube channels in Serbia, that is, it analyzed channels run by young girls, the introductory words of the panel were dedicated to this. Dušan Vuković (Duxa), Nemanja Arsić (Cone) and Milica Leštarić (KovalskA) spoke at the panel.
The panelists talked about current trends on various platforms – from YouTube to TikTok and Instagram Reels. Nemanja said that there are a lot of trends where girls are more represented and that lately, female content creators are opting more for a platform where trends are in favor of girls. They also talked about their experience of launching their YouTube channels, the obstacles and challenges they faced, but also the advantages of launching a YouTube channel at the time compared to today’s situation.
Panel: Youth and political participation
The last panel was dedicated to the topic of political participation of young people, which was discussed by Nikola Jović, from the Faculty of Political Sciences, and Tamara Urošević, journalist. At the beginning of the panel, Tamara wanted to clarify what we should look at as political participation. “We need to deconstruct what that means apolitically and what politics and political participation of young people are.” We always look at the fact that we should take to the streets to protest or go to the polls, to follow what is happening there, how parties and politicians are addressing us. Politics and political act is something else and much more than that – if you had a slightly worse education system at your faculty at the time of the pandemic, and you want an additional seventh term and you get organized and succeed – that it is political participation.”
From his experience, Nikola Jović told what are the topics that are attractive to young people, considering that he has done a lot of research in his work, and pointed out that these are topics such as education, employment, housing, nepotism and the like. He said in the context of the 100-euro measure for young people: “From the aspect of political communication, it is a strategy that you may or may not like from an economic and political point of view, but it will have some positive and negative effects – even more get angry.”
At the end of the conference, it was announced the monitoring of the election campaign that KOMS will conduct in the coming period was officially announced. Both the presidential and parliamentary election campaigns will be monitored. It is planned to monitor who addresses young people, on which topics, through which communication channels and in which way. On a weekly basis, we will publish cross-sections of monitoring results.
You can watch the recording of the whole conference here: Conference Youth in the Media Mirror.
Download the research here (Research Summary on English on page 79).
This research was prepared by the National Youth Council of Serbia in cooperation with the DW Academy, the Institute for Media and Diversity, the Local Press Association and Novi Magazin. The research was created within the project DW Akademie Young Media – Media for and with young people, supported by the Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Germany and DW Akademie and the project MLADI: Media literacy alliance and digital importance, supported by the EU Delegation to Serbia .