Diversity of perspectives at a glance: This is what the app from the award-winning German start-up "The Buzzard" offers. Now pupils in Saxony can use the app.
Leipzig, 24 August 2020. Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig and the European Institute for Journalism and Communication Research (EIJC) are cooperating with the start-up The Buzzard UG at the beginning of the 2020/2021 school year and are launching a project to strengthen media skills in Saxon schools.
"The brutalization of language, dissemination of disinformation, but also the often one-sided media consumption among young people were decisive for us to become active as a project sponsor and to finance this pilot project", says Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Media Foundation. "EIJC and its scientific director Prof. Dr. Michael Haller are the perfect partners for the content-related work with Buzzard", continues Seeger, who is also the Executive Director of the research institute.
The project starts on 31 August with the beginning of the new school year. The project is based on an app developed by The Buzzard, which is made available free of charge to all participating pupils and teachers of secondary schools in Saxony. As part of the project, pupils should learn to deal independently with and discuss the opinions of those who think differently. They get to know positions outside their filter bubble and are encouraged to question them critically: Who is behind a message? And who writes about a certain topic and why? This is exactly what the Buzzard app, with its diverse view of individual topics and its critical source survey, offers a suitable basis: In the app, information on the origin of a message is carefully prepared and classified. In this way, students learn strategies, how to critically reflect on sources and assess their reliability. There is an additional opportunity for teachers to make lessons interactive and digital and to continuously discuss current topics.
EIJC will intensively support three pilot schools in implementing the project. The teachers at the pilot schools receive active support in implementing the app in their lessons. You also have the opportunity to actively shape the project, give feedback and post your own debates online via direct contact with the Buzzard editorial team. The project partners will also evaluate the project together.
Media Foundation of the Sparkasse Leipzig
In democratic societes the media is often called the "fourth estate". They inform their users about social, political, economic or cultural events and help shape opinion. In order to fulfill these tasks, the media must be free and independent in their reporting. In 1999, Sparkasse Leipzig founded the Media Foundation, aware of the outstanding role that media plays in educating people and participating in society. In addition to supporting training and further education for media professionals, Media Foundation awards various prizes such as the "Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media". In addition to the EIJC, the projects largely initiated by the foundation include the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF).
The European Institute for Journalism and Communication Research (EIJC)
The EIJC goes back to the "Institute for Practical Journalism and Communication Research" (IPJ), founded in 2003 as a joint project of the University of Leipzig and Media Foundation of the Sparkasse Leipzig with the support of the Sparkasse Insurance Saxony. Its scientific director is Professor Michael Haller. The research focus of the EIJC includes media information structures and communication processes under questions of democracy theory. With theory-driven empirical studies and practice-oriented projects, media skills and quality in journalism are to be promoted. (www.eijc.de)
The Buzzard UG
The start-up The Buzzard UG, which moved its headquarters from Leipzig to Berlin in 2020, relies on a variety of perspectives. Various articles from different media are curated, journalistically classified and summarized in an app every day. This is intended to give users the opportunity to get to know different perspectives on individual political and social issues. The project is financed exclusively through membership fees. The pilot project in Saxony is also intended to make a contribution to getting young people enthusiastic about the diversity of information. (www.buzzard.org)