1 April 2020

Online student conference organized by AAB College students, in collaboration with the students of the University of Tirana.

Prishtina-Tirana, April 13, 2020

The social distancing and isolation that has occurred as a result of the pandemic has hit all sectors of society in the world. Human health, transport, and the economy are definitely the hardest hit areas, along with almost all other areas of life. But the only sector that was not hit by the same intensity is communication. Thanks to technology, the internet and various communication channels, the flow of communication has increased more than ever before. Information that increases curiosity comes from around the world, spreads around the world, arouses interest around the world, mostly in real time. The coronavirus pandemic more than ever confirmed the transformation of the world into a global village (McLuhan, 1964) online.

In this period of isolation, communication through technology was seen as more useful than ever before. Politics sees the growing need to address the public on social distancing awareness campaigns. If we say that we are dealing with an information society and a communication society (Wolton, 2009), perhaps this finding is already outdated. Daily communication is no longer the privilege of the elites where information flows from top to bottom in the form of a waterfall (Deutsch, 1964). Horizontal communication between the public in the virtual space during this period has completely transformed the Habermasian concept of public space. This time information is circulated from citizen to citizen, through social networks, and even from the bottom up. The most consistent finding is that of the networked society (Castells, 2009), because this is now more vulnerable and more verifiable than ever before during this time of isolation. And so, we have an online “democracy” more pronounced than ever before. But democracy in Kosovo has made sure to provide citizens in times of isolation with a melodrama that they have followed through television screens, proving that television remains a key factor in everyday human life (Silverstone, 2003), where the individual has a daily videoculture (Buckingham, 2009), while social networks have given meaning to everyday life and human life (Couldry, 2012), even more so now in a time of pandemic isolation.

The fear of being infected and the emotion generated by the daily increase in the number of those who do not survive the pandemic has driven citizens to express their views online on how to deal with the common danger. There was no lack of messages of solidarity, strategic actions and communications to enhance the image and reputation of the individual, organization, department, or state in times of pandemic. In spite of internal debates, the government in Tirana, by sending a medical team to the most currently hit province of the world (Lombardy), provided extensive international media coverage of the poor state’s solidarity with the wealthiest Italian province.

But, the internet is also an ocean of information and a great opportunity for fraud perversity (Wolton, 2009). Even in these circumstances, hate speech towards political opponents, internal and external propaganda, discussions and fake news on deadly enemy issues, lack of solidarity, debates on measures to tackle the virus, and so on was not found lacking. So on the one hand we have the inertia of the past for discussing issues in society, while on the other hand we have an increased civic engagement online for public affairs. All this is happening at a time of limited movement, transforming the form of education, transforming the routine of daily life; communication technology seems more useful than ever before.

The purpose of this conference is to bring together the students of AAB College in Prishtina and those of the University of Tirana (Department of Journalism and Communication) to jointly discuss on an online platform the specifics of communication today in times of global isolation. For this reason, students of investigative journalism, public relations, public diplomacy, intercultural communications are invited to attend this online student conference, focusing on the following topics and more:

Transforming traditional communication

Political marketing of parties during the Covid-19 pandemic

Social networks in everyday life

Online updates during the time of Covid-19

Technology as the only communication opportunity at a time of social distancing

Media education: media consumption at a time of media bombing and fear of a pandemic

Communication platforms as a mediating channel in times of pandemic isolation

Agenda setting during the Covid-19 pandemic

Citizen’s public online space during the Covid-19 pandemic 

Propaganda and fake news online during a time of social threat

Specifics of media reporting during the time of quarantine

TV debates and pseudo-debates about social developments

Who talks about coronavirus?

Analysts (deep connoisseurs) or opinionists on our television (who discusses what)?

Television in everyday life

TV as a narcissistic mirror of politicians

Social networks as a virtual public space

Online hate speech, cases and examples

When televisions conceal information

Using technologies and online games in isolation

Soft power in times of global health crisis

Image of Kosovo: international media coverage of domestic developments in times of pandemics

The image of Albania in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic

The specifics of the reporter’s work during a time of infection risk

Journalists’ work during a time of limited circulation

Reporting emergencies in times of pandemics

The dramatization of reporting in times of collective fear

Verifying news in times of crisis

Media exposure as a possibility of political PR in times of crisis

The news during the time of the pandemic

Media sensation during the time of the pandemic


Submission of papers: by April 9 

Submitting replies: April 11 

Online conference: April 13 (Monday), 2:00 pm. 

Duration of a referrer: 6-8 minutes 

Email: [email protected]

Participants will receive further instructions via email.