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Time To Talk Debate Series 3: Contemporary news media and fractured bonds of trust


Date: 13 November 2014
Time: 18:30

Speakers: Sevda Alankuş, Umut Alphan, Esra Arsan, Pınar Dağ
Moderator: Murat Çelikkan

Contemporary news media and fractured bonds of trust

At 18:30 EET on the 13th November 2014, Depo will be hosting a debate about public trust in the news, entitled Contemporary news media and fractured bonds of trust.

This debate will focus on issues of trust and dependability in media, as well as on the role of news outlets in the propagation of lack of trust within society, both on interpersonal and institutional levels.

The speakers will talk about the dynamics, which have shaped the current approaches of the Turkish media and of the urgency to review the ethics of journalism and the system of media patronage, which currently exists.

The speakers and the main points they want to discuss are:

Sevda Alankuş

“Distrust of the media and a split in the public sphere”

Sevda Alankuş will look at the proliferation of the Turkish media, contemplate the low levels of trust associated with said media and look at how they create a divided public sphere, often split between two simplified poles. This polarisation of the public sphere and its political consequences raises the question of ethics within journalism and leads Sevda to contemplate the search for a new journalism, a new ethics, a new public sphere and, subsequently, a new democracy.

About Sevda:

She completed her master’s and Ph.D degrees at Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Sciences. Whereafter she continued her academic research in England and Italy, studying abroad from 1988 through to 1990. She has worked at Ege University’s Faculty of Communications, for Ankara University, at the Eastern Mediterranean University and Izmir’s University of Economics. Currently she is the acting dean of Kadir Has University’s Faculty of Communications. Since 2000, she has co-ordinated and consulted projects within the framework of the Independent Communication Network project (bianet), involved with improving journalism. Her research and publications focus on topics such as the representation of women and minorities in media, local and alternative media and “peace journalism. She has edited and compiled books, such as, Human Rights Journalism, Female-orientated Journalism and Child-based Journalism.

Umut Alphan

“Newspapers and patronage”

What triggered the breakdown in the relationship between Turkish readers and their print media, when did the trust that readers used to have for their media start to fracture and is it any longer possible to repair the damage done? How does the problem of patronage in media relate to this breakdown of trust and what impact does it have on how media is produced and consumed: how are newspapers seen by their patrons and how do newspaper subsequently tend to perceive their readers?

About Umut:

Born in 1977 in İzmir, Umut has now been a journalist for nearly twenty years. Seventeen years of his career were spent working for the daily publicationMilliyet and for 12 years he was the director of an editorial office. Umut’s education was, however, originally in a slightly different field and he left university as a law student, before striking out into journalism.

Esra Arsan

“A crisis of trust in the media after Gezi”

Esra Arsan will speak of the incompatible reporting of the Gezi Park protests: on the one hand, of the media narratives, and, on the other hand, of the conflicting realities of the streets. Esra will also look at the 17th December processes and the status of Turkish media reporting and “trust” in the aftermath of both the Gezi Park protests and the events of winter 2013/14. Esra will particularly seek to focus on the the role of the media in crises of trust, looking at how it behaves towards the state and the public and asking, whether there is really a public demand for the truth and what it is that the Turkish media presently supplies.

About Esra:

Born in 1966 in Istanbul, Arsan graduated from Marmara University’s School of Journalism and Public Relations in 1987 and began her career in journalism in 1985. In 1994, she went to the USA, where she obtained a certificate in American Studies from the University of Central Florida. Returning to Turkey, she worked as a media consultant and freelance journalist for various foundations and organisations. Arsan started her academic career, as a teaching assistant in the Communications Faculty of Istanbul’s Bilgi University. In 1999, she obtained an M.A. degree in film & T.V. studies from Marmara University’s Institute of Fine Arts, with her thesis film consisting of a documentary entitled The Death of a Journalist: Metin Goktepe. As a recipients of the Reuters Foundation journalism fellowship, awarded each year to a limited number of journalists, she spent the 2001-2002 academic year at Oxford University’s Green College, where she prepared a research paper entitled The Representation of the “Other” in Turkish News Media: Islamists and Kurds. In 2006, she obtained her Ph.D in journalism studies from Marmara University’s Institute of Social Sciences, with a doctoral dissertation entitled, EU Journalism and Creation of the European Public Sphere: The Cases of Greece and Hungary. Esra Arsan is currently an associate professor of journalism at Istanbul’s Bilgi University’s Institute of Social Sciences. Arsan has also published three books: The EU and Journalism, Media Watch and Media and Power: Hegemony, Status Quo, Resistance.

Pınar Dağ

“How can we restore trust in the media?”

Pınar Dağ will speak about how those who work in the media manipulate data, how we must make it possible to be able to confirm the authenticity of that data and the importance of the clarification and validation of all information,which is used in the media. She will focus attention on the Soma disaster,which resulted in the deaths of 301 miners and how confused the reporting of this event became, making it difficult to distinguish the real facts about what was happening and to give the story the gravity that it deserved. Pinar will alsospeak about recent developments and how the Turkish media, especially thedigital media sector, has been adapting to modern technology, with the increasing ability to post news stories on social media almost as soon as theyoccur. She will look at how this speed of information actually damages people’s news reading habits, making them less likely to question the quality of the data and she will draw attention to how we must improve this in order to be able toregain our trust in media sources, through both investigative and datajournalism.

About Pinar Dağ:

Pinar Dağ is an economics graduate who studied journalism at the London School of Journalism. Since 2005, she has reported both as an independent and attached journalist. She has taught research and data journalism at various institutions in the UK, the USA and Turkey and carries out research in the field of business data for an institution based in San Francisco. In addition, Pınar Dağ is the co-founder of Dağ Medya, an online newspaper which provides datajournalism content in Turkish. She also spent over two years researching the field of data journalism and, during the 2013-2014 academic year, Pinar taught a course in data journalism training at Kadir Has University‘s New Media Department. Pinar continues to be active in various faculties of communicationwithin and without Turkey and she is currently leading a team of 20 volunteersin the production of a Turkish translation of an open source data journalismhandbook. Pinar is also still furthering her own education and pursuing anonline course in the field of data science at the John Hopkins University.

Thursday’s moderator will be Murat Çelikkan:

Murat Çelikkan spent thirty years working as a journalist. He started his career writing for the Demokrat and eventually ending up working as a reporter, editor, managing editor, columnist and chief editor in various media outlets. Most recently he worked for Sabah, where he made the decision to step back from active journalism. Even while active as a journalist, Çelikkan spent time as the director of several human rights organisations and NGOs and this is the role he has now moved onto, working currently as the director of Hafıza Merkezi [Truth, Justice and Memory Centre].


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