International Journalism Festival 2024: The Future of Journalism

What We Learned In Perugia

In the heart of the ancient city of Perugia, surrounded by the verdant hills of Umbria, an event that unites the international journalistic community took place. The International Journalism Festival of Perugia, a springboard for bold ideas, revolutionary innovations, and profound discussions about the future of journalism, attracts thousands of enlightened minds from every corner of the globe each year.

A Cornerstone Event for Journalists

International Journalism Festival
International Journalism Festival 2024 © Bartolomeo Ross IJF24

The International Journalism Festival, an annual gathering held in Perugia (Umbria) since 2006, has become a cornerstone event in the world of journalism. Taking place each April, this five-day extravaganza draws journalists, scholars, students, media professionals, and enthusiasts alike, converging to explore a myriad of topics discussed across numerous panels and sessions. From dawn till dusk, the city buzzed with activity as attendees, adorned with speakers’ tags, journalists wielding cameras, and curious onlookers clutching leaflets, meandered through the labyrinthine alleys and bustling restaurants, enveloping the town in an electrifying and bustling atmosphere.

Catalyst for Change

But what makes this festival so special? It’s more than just an exhibition of journalistic skills. It’s a catalyst for change and a point of connection among journalists, aspiring journalists, and communication agencies. From pioneers of multimedia storytelling to activists for press freedom, everyone finds a place here to express their ideas, share their stories, and build bridges toward a brighter future for journalism.

My participation in these conferences not only allowed me to expand my knowledge and skills in the field of journalism but also facilitated the creation of new connections and collaborations with professionals and future leaders in the industry. In an increasingly interconnected and dynamic world, these connections are crucial for my success and professional growth as a young journalist, preparing me to face the challenges and seize the opportunities that today’s media landscape offers.

Here are some of the festival’s highlights:

Social Media

For journalists, social media has never been more difficult, yet audience connection has never been simpler. Three seasoned journalists discussed how social media is evolving and what it could mean for journalism in the years to come. The tech news site Platformer was founded by Zoe Schiffer and Casey Newton after Schiffer quit Vox Media. Schiffer stated that journalists are increasingly aware that their interests do not align with those of large platforms.

“We work for our subscribers at Platformer. For many years, we developed our audiences on platforms and concentrated on scalability. Then the ground gave way beneath our feet.”

Zoe Schiffer, Cofounder of Platformer

Prior to Elon Musk’s takeover, Joanna Geary oversaw Twitter’s news division. She currently works for Bloomberg and stated she anticipated more platform consolidation and adjustments. However, she also exhorted journalists to explore new things and make an effort to establish themselves in these arenas. She stated, “As journalists, we must be present in our communities.”

DW journalist Johanna Rudiger discussed her profession. She has a sizable following on Instagram and TikTok. “It’s simple to gain popularity with your opinions, but people value objectivity and that’s how you earn their trust,” the speaker stated.

“The majority of young people use Instagram and TikTok to acquire their news. It follows that being on these platforms is vital for us as journalists. Videos have a greater probability of becoming viral the more newsworthy they are. These videos call for a different kind of narrative and interpretation of the meaning of the content for the audience’s everyday lives.”

Johanna Rudiger, DW journalist

Investigative Reporting

Investigative reporting ought to get to the people who are interested in it. Senior editors from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, ProPublica, and AP talked on how to better tailor their work to the audiences that most need it. ProPublica’s Tracy Weber outlined their methodology for this extensive probe of the mistreatment of dairy farm laborers in the Midwest of the United States. “We realized that the people who were affected by our findings needed to hear about them,” the speaker stated.

Weber talked about the ProPublica Local Network, an initiative that has allowed them to collaborate with over 70 local newsrooms across the United States. “They receive assistance from our lawyers and collaborate with one of our editors. The Idaho legislature approved $2 billion for schools to replace and repair aging facilities as a result of one of those probes,” remarked Weber.

War in Gaza: Journalists Speak Out

“It is extremely sad to see more conferences about AI rather than what is happening in Gaza”.

This is how the first panel started about Israel’s war on Gaza, highlighting the necessity to spread the word and to receive help from the international community.

In the final quarter of 2023, the deadliest war in Gaza erupted, and to this day, Palestinians continue to lose their homes, family members, and even their hope for a ceasefire. Journalism, one of the toughest and deadliest professions, has faced an unprecedented death toll that rises with each passing day. At the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, several speakers chose to amplify their voices and shed light on the dire situation in Gaza.

Youmna Elsayed, Al Jazeera correspondent in Gaza

The conferences, predominantly held between Sala dei Notari and Palazzo dei Priori, zeroed in on the heart-wrenching reality in Gaza and the West Bank. Among the speakers was Youmna Elsayed, Al Jazeera correspondent in Gaza, who, during the panel “Covering Gaza, Against All The Odds,” expressed her disillusionment with the international community. Instead of supporting Palestinians and striving to assist them, she noted, the world seems to side with Israel and its claim to “self-defense.”

Elsayed shared her own experience of fleeing Gaza out of fear for her children’s lives, faced with the agonizing choice between being a journalist and a mother. She underscored the privilege she had in even making that choice, contrasting it with the harsh reality for many Palestinians who lack such options.

They wake up to the sound of airstrikes, witness their homes being destroyed, and mourn the loss of their children, with no means to seek refuge in safer havens.

Youmna Elsayed

Challenges Faced by Local Journalists in Gaza

Throughout the discussions, speakers emphasized the urgent need to end this genocide, highlighting that Palestinians are perishing either under airstrikes or succumbing to heart attacks brought on by extreme fear.

Another panel, titled “Gaza. We Needed You: Where Were You?” featured representatives from the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate, Committee to Protect Journalists, Agency France-Presse, and Al Jazeera, who spoke about the challenges faced by local journalists in Gaza and the lack of international solidarity toward them.

Shuruq As’ad, spokesperson for the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate, implored the audience to disseminate the footage and reports from journalists in Gaza, emphasizing the daily risks they face and the dire living conditions they endure. Often instructed by the Israel Defense Force to relocate to supposedly safer areas, these journalists find themselves displaced, with no shelter, food, or water for themselves and their families. As’ad stressed the importance of considering these overlooked details, which affect not only journalists but also the residents of Gaza on a daily basis.

Motaz Azaiza

Another panel, titled “Motaz Azaiza: Gaza Through the Local Lens,” moderated by Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of the Committee to Protect Journalists, showcased photographs and videos captured by Gazan photojournalist Motaz Azaiza. Instead of pursuing his dream of capturing wildlife for National Geographic, Azaiza found himself in Gaza documenting scenes of death and destruction, determined to reveal the harsh realities of his homeland to the world. As his mental health began to suffer and the realization dawned that international support favored Israel over Gaza, Azaiza made the difficult decision to leave Gaza and take his advocacy beyond its borders. He began attending international conferences, including one at the White House, where he continues to showcase his imagery, calling for global awareness.

Unbiased Journalism

The conferences hosted at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia served as invaluable platforms for journalists to deepen their understanding of pressing issues shaping the field. The panels focusing on Gaza raised crucial awareness about the ongoing deadly conflict, prompting reflection on the urgent need for a peaceful resolution and an immediate ceasefire. The festival served as a poignant reminder of the vital role of unbiased journalism in our world, and it remained a beacon of inspiration where knowledge and ambition perpetually flourished.

Annalucia Scotto Di Clemente

Contributing Editor

My name is Annalucia, and I'm a communication and creative writing student at John Cabot University. I'm studying to become a journalist with the dream of opening my own editorial office that can train all aspiring journalists and give voice and importance to every single person who wants to. Currently, I am vice president of "The Matthew," the online and print newspaper of my university. Furthermore, I am a writer for "The Matthew," "Live in Italy Magazine," and "Italics Magazine." I enjoy writing and telling stories and experiences of all kinds, especially personal stories. Every time I write a story, I imagine there's a reader in front of me to fully engage them in my emotions. Writing is one of the most powerful communication tools, and I can't wait to communicate with all of you.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Build your authentic life in Italy! Live in Italy Magazine is an experiential lifestyle news site dedicated to anyone who has or will make Italy their home away from home. Read stories from expats and Italians. Named the Best Italy Magazine by Feedspot!

We feature in-depth articles and interviews covering:

  • Expat Life
  • Food & Wine
  • Travel
  • Lifestyle
  • Design, Art, & Culture
  • Real Estate, Hotels/Resorts & Long-Term Rentals

We are committed to creating great content. Please consider becoming a Sponsor by donating on Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Our Contributors:

Lisa Morales, Editor-in-Chief (Miami)
Christine Cutler, Travel Editor (St. Petersburg, FL)
Lorenzo Diamantini, Food and Wine Editor (Gubbio)
Adriana Suarez, Top 8 Editor (Miami)
Bel Woodhouse, Contributing Editor (Cozumel, Mexico)
Giulia Marchetti, Contributing Editor (Viterbo)
Angie Kordic, Visual Arts Contributing Editor (Stockholm, Sweden)
Feuza Reis, Breaking News Contributor (Miami)
Patrizia Vigolo, Contributing Wine Editor (Vicenza)
Natalia Bell. Food Contributor (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Emma Prentice (Ferrara/UK), Contributor
Justin Patulli (Ottawa, Canada), Contributing Editor
Annalucia Scotto Di Clemente (Rome), Contributing Editor
Sandra Diaz-Velasco (Miami), Interior Design & Architecture Contributor
Carrie Convilli (Venice), Veneto Events Correspondent

Al Esper Graphic Design: Digital Edition Art Director (Tennessee)
SQLHardhat: Aaron Morales, Website Design and SEO (Miami)
Visual Popcorn: John Craven, Video Editor (Miami)
Colls Fine Art Photography: Armando Colls, Contributing Photographer (Miami)
Sabrina Negro, Translator (Piemonte)
Giulia Ferro, Subtitler EN/IT (San Michele all’Adige)


Submit Your Press Release: lisa @

Guest Contributors:

Guest Contributor applicants should have a good understanding of WordPress. Email links to recent articles along with your social media handles to: lisa @