Quality Journalism Webinar Series

In this series, we address the development of journalism amid political, social, and technological developments in the world.

September 22, 2022

In collaboration with the International Press Institute (IPI), founded at Columbia University in 1950, Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul has been organizing online panel series discussing a range of issues related to media and journalism. In this series, we address the development of journalism amid political, social, and technological developments in the world, as well as press freedom violations, the ongoing business model crisis, and the future of journalism. 

Combating Disinformation

Journalism is undergoing major changes. Digitalization of the profession is unleashing innovative journalism practices on the one hand, enabling new forms of communication and expanding the global reach. On the other hand, disinformation, commonly referred to as “fake news,” is on the rise. Many information systems have become more polarized and public trust in traditional journalism has plummeted. As governments, civil society and journalists adopt a variety of strategies to address these issues, there is a growing debate about how to combat disinformation while maintaining an open and democratic system. This webinar will focus on truth-seeking in the increasingly digitalising media environment, legal means to combat mis- and dis-information, and the role and future of fact-checking.

Reporting in Conflict Zones

The sixth webinar of the series touched upon the difficulties of correspondence in conflict zones through first-hand experience of distinguished journalists. The conversations included personal anecdotes and stories from the field. The panelists agreed that a journalist must look for different truths and position themselves at the forefront of events so that they may convey those different truths to the public accordingly. They elaborated on their recent experiences with conflict zones including Ukraine, Syria, and Afghanistan, how they prepared before their visits and the importance of having or making connections. They also gave advice to young journalists.

You can watch the event here.

Online Harassment

The panel on March 9, 2022, marking International Women's Day, shed light on the online harassment of women journalists and mechanisms to protect the physical and emotional safety of the targeted journalists. 

Online harassment and violence imperil journalists across the world. Online attacks, abuse, violence, and bullying especially directed at women journalists have significantly increased in the past few years. A cross-country report issued by UNESCO and the International Center for Journalists in 2020 reveals that three out of four women respondents (73 percent) had experienced online violence, and one in five women reported that they experienced physical attacks stemming from the initial online harassment. Many press freedom organizations like IPI recognize the severity of this threat to the safety of journalists and implement programs to help newsrooms protect their staff.

You can watch the event here.


Coinciding with the publication of the Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association’s hate speech survey report, the webinar started with a detailed explanation of concepts like hate speech and what causes it. The discussants then addressed the relationship between the government and media and emphasized the importance of neutral voices. Conversations also touched upon the responsibilities of media groups and mainstream outlets when it comes to hate speech and representation of minorities in such outlets.

You can watch the event here.

Funding Independent Journalism

This webinar shed light on international funding and its impact on independent journalism. Independent journalists not only have a difficult time receiving funding, but they also have to compete against the opposition of repressive political environments. The panel’s primary focus was on Turkey and the Philippines. The panelists shared their insights and compared how independent journalism could be enhanced with international funding for operations, especially within the context of authoritarian regimes.

The event was moderated by Onur Sazak, Turkey-based Project Coordinator of IPI, who welcomed presenters Sheila S. Coronel, director of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism and the Stabile Professor of Professional Practice in Investigative Journalism at Columbia University; Kaya Heyse, News Coordinator at Medyascope; and Barbara Trionfi, Executive Director of IPI.

You can watch the event here.

Digital Media Conundrum

The purpose of this event was to address fake news, digital echo chambers, and the impact of disinformation on fundamental rights and freedoms. As the sharing of knowledge has grown and reached broader audiences, the unintended consequence of the spread of misinformation and disinformation has also developed. This issue now raises the question of how can society contain disinformation without undermining the ability of knowledge to spread?

The event was moderated by Emre Kizilkaya, esteemed journalist and Vice President of the National Committee of IPI, who welcomed presenters Professor Tirşe Erbaysal Filibeli of Bahçeşehir University and Professor Todd Gitlin of Columbia Journalism School.

You can watch the event here.

Threats and Opportunities

On World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd, the webinar on “Quality Journalism: Threats and Opportunities,” featured Scott Griffen, Deputy Director, IPI; Emre Kızılkaya, Turkey National Committee Vice Chair, Senior Researcher, IPI; Faruk Bildirici, Journalist and Media Ombudsman; Minez Bayülgen, Editor, Kapsül News; and İpek Cem Taha, Director, Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul. The panel discussed a range of issues, including the development of journalism amid political, social, and technological developments in the world, press freedom violations, the ongoing business model crisis, the status of Turkey’s independent media, and the future of journalism and the threats to its integrity and opportunities for its growth.

You can watch the event here.