As technology changes, News Decoder is evolving while we maintain our mission of nurturing global awareness and cross-border collaborations through journalism.

A space creature watches the news from Earth

A space creature waits for the latest news updates from Earth. 

How will artificial intelligence affect journalism? If the social media companies change the way news is shared, will that make it more difficult for news organisations to reach audiences?

For our November fundraising campaign we decided to explore how contemporary technological changes will affect the future of journalism.

Our mission is to equip young people with the skills and resources to be responsible media consumer-producers and effective global citizens and we do it through the lens of journalism. So these questions are particularly pertinent to an organisation like ours.

We need to continually adapt to trends and innovations in the media landscape and wider society to ensure that resources and services we provide young people and educators are relevant.

Three new projects beginning in late 2023 and early 2024 illustrate some of the ways we are evolving as an organisation and how we are exploring new innovations to keep up with the pace of change.

Harnessing AI for media literacy

News Decoder’s core work is founded on the principle that developing basic journalism skills – gathering and assessing the quality of information – is one of the most effective ways to develop media literacy, critical thinking and effective communication skills.

Our schools programme provides a unique opportunity for students to learn directly from professional journalists.

A new project, in collaboration with Swedish nonprofit Voice4You, is exploring how technology can provide a similar, virtual experience with the potential for mass scaling. Mobile Stories is an innovative online tool that empowers students to develop multimedia stories that incorporate original reporting for school, community or global audiences, with minimal input from educators. The self-guided tool contains cutting-edge AI technology that provides guidance tailored to individual users on source verification, fact-checking and journalistic ethics.

News Decoder is working with a seven-partner consortium to develop an English language version that can be used by students across Europe and worldwide. You can read more about the ProMS project here.

Boosting podcasting across Europe

News Decoder’s other mission is to foster cross-border collaboration and one way we are doing that is through an exciting, pan-European project called WePod.

As media consumption habits change in response to digitisation and technological changes, podcasting is one new media format that has seen a rapid and sustained worldwide growth over the last decade. The podcast market in Europe is sizeable and growing, but faces challenges around multilingualism, distribution and monetisation.

WePod aims to transform the European podcasting space by creating a collaborative framework for the production, distribution, promotion and monetisation of journalistic podcasts. 

This innovative project will develop a cross-border methodology for creating and co-producing podcasts in multiple languages and establish a European journalistic podcast hub, while also offering current and future podcast-makers training, tools, research, networking and models for monetisation. You can read more about the WePod project here.

Amplifying students’ voices in the climate crisis

News Decoder embraces the idea that problems must be looked at through a global perspective and no problem exemplifies that more than climate change.

Although the climate crisis is a high priority for teachers and an issue of primary concern for many young people, climate change education has yet to be incorporated in a systematic way in school curricula.

Last year News Decoder collaborated with the Climate Academy at the European School of Brussels II on a multi-faceted climate change education project called “The Writing’s on the Wall”. News Decoder will continue its collaboration with the Climate Academy on a two-year climate change education project titled Empowering Youth through Environmental Storytelling (EYES) and focused on building educators’ skills and knowledge to amplify student voices using multiple forms of media.

The project will focus on empowering young people with in-depth climate change knowledge, a solutions mindset and agency to act. The goal is to help young people hone their voices as communicators and advocates and deepen their intercultural awareness while developing transversal skills they will need for future careers.

At the same time, it will provide educators with innovative teaching resources alongside flexible and diverse opportunities to learn, study, exchange, share experiences and best practices with their peers and feel part of a climate change education community.

The ultimate goal is to provide a flexible model for climate change education that can be scaled up and replicated elsewhere.

Helping our community stay informed and secure

New innovations and technological advances, such as the rise of AI, inevitably elicit concerns around honesty and plagiarism, as well as more general issues around cyber security and online safety. Our priority is to ensure that all members of the News Decoder community, and especially our young people, have a safe and productive online experience when using our tools, services and resources.

Whether it’s supporting the podcasters of the future, contributing to the development of innovative media literacy tools, helping to make climate change education scalable or simply stepping up our internal mechanisms to keep our users safe online, News Decoder strives to provide the best services for young people and educators, equipping them with skills and knowledge for now and in the future.

You can help News Decoder work towards a future that is bright, fact-based and media literate by supporting our campaign.

tlacey 1

Thea Lacey is News Decoder's Director of Development. She has 15 years of experience managing fundraising and programmes for mostly humanitarian and development NGOs, both small and large, including five years based in West and Central Africa. She holds an undergraduate degree in Politics from the University of Edinburgh and a postgraduate degree in International Development from SOAS University of London.

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