Global Media Forum 2021: DW's international and interdisciplinary conference | DW's international conference: Global Media Forum. | DW | 22.07.2021
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Global Media Forum 2021: DW's international and interdisciplinary conference

The DW Global Media Forum 2021 explored ways to address disruptions with innovation. In the aftermath of an extraordinary year, we continue to meet challenges head-on with digital solutions and mutual exchange.

GMF 2021

The 14th DW Global Media Forum took place as a hybrid event on June 14 and 15, 2021 and was brought to our audience free of charge to discuss this year’s topic: Disruption and Innovation.

Watch the conference recordings on our YouTube channel.

The 14th Global Media Forum brought together media professionals and decision-makers from politics, civil society, culture, business and science from around the world to meet, discuss and explore solutions.

Adapting to ever-changing realities has become the norm across most industries — including the media. Whether it's a global pandemic or the arrival of artificial intelligence, no one can hide from wide-ranging change. But what trends do journalists have to keep up with today? Which innovations are going to affect their work in the coming years? And what kind of disruptions will alter the way the media operate?

The challenge and potential of disruptive technology

Digitalization has caused a rapid and dynamic shift in media, society, business and politics worldwide. Radical innovations are fundamentally changing established consumer markets and user habits and are rewriting the rules of the game for entire global industries.

Streaming services, digital photography and virtual reality applications demonstrate how revolutionary ideas and smart niche solutions have already successfully replaced previously established services. At the same time, disruptive innovations offer great opportunities to invigorate dormant potentials and broaden horizons. The question is: what comes next?

Democracy hanging in the balance

Disruptive developments also take place in politics, with adversaries of democracy questioning its very foundations and subjecting pluralism to an unprecedented stress test around the globe.

What challenges do such cataclysmic changes pose to the media and politics, business and society — and what untapped potentials are there to benefit from? How can we seize the opportunities created by such crises? Is it a question of flexibility, or one of finding a balance between innovation and tradition?

Here’s some food for thought, and a taste of what was discussed at the conference:

Diving in: Technology, social media, political communication and more

The DW Global Media Forum 2021 sought ways to help us understand the challenges of disruptive innovations while discovering opportunities to influence these rapid developments, applying our individual areas of expertise and harnessing the innovative power of our own curiosity. These are some of the topics we discussed with you.

  • Looking into the future – innovations and trends from AI to VR

Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are important trends in the era of digital transformation. How can media organizations use them creatively? What do futurologists have to say about this? What new skillsets and competencies will journalists and media professionals have to acquire down the line?

  • Representation matters - Diversifying the newsroom

What contributions can media professionals make to overcome division and exclusion of certain groups of people? How can diversity be implemented in media companies? And how does everyone stand to benefit from a much more inclusive work environment in media organizations?

  • Mission Impossible? – political communication in the era of disruption

How do political processes change as a result of the use of digital media by political actors? Are the rules of democracy changing for the better or are they being reversed? When politicians use platforms provided by intermediaries, who really stands to profit? Do social media channels drive division and radicalization forward by focusing on their own economic incentives?

  • Conspiracy theories and fake news – how media can regain trust

We are no longer simply consumers of information – using digital tools, we all now have the power each to set our own agenda and participate in public debate. Journalists have lost their role as gatekeepers – have they also lost the people’s trust?

A platform to seek solutions — together
The DW Global Media Forum offers a unique interdisciplinary platform for media professionals as well as decision-makers from politics, civil society, culture, education, business and science from all over the world to get together and to learn from each other as part of an intercultural exchange.

Thank you to all our 2021 speakers for their invaluable insights and also to everyone who signed up and took part. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! And we already look forward to getting together again at the World Conference Center in Bonn in 2022 for the next edition of the DW Global Media Forum.

Watch the conference recordings on our YouTube channel.


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