Jona Holderle: “The vision is to get interconnected”

Interview by Petre Flueraşu, member of ASJC Romania

*Jona Holderle is one of the founders of YouthMedia.eu, one of the biggest European platforms for young media makers

Jona Holderle in Berlin

Jona Holderle in Berlin

Petre: So, we are talking about youthmedia.eu. How this did idea start? Did it start before the European Youth Press or did it derive from it?

Jona Holderle: The idea is as old as the Youth Press. So in the process of founding an European Youth Press, there was also the idea of having a network with it and to exchange media from different countries, texts, and pictures especially. We managed to do this first on a German base, then on an international base for pictures, and now we are trying to expand to a whole community for young journalists.

P: Are you satisfied today with how things are going, are you satisfied with the point where you are today comparing to what you wanted in the beginning?

J.H: I think you always could have done more, but I am quite satisfied with what we have now, and we have a lot of plans to expand it, so it’s not finished, and I think it will never be finished.

P: You told me about Germany, about Sweden… Are there any eastern European countries involved in the project? I mean, is there more enthusiasm in Western Europe than in Eastern Europe for this kind of projects?

J.H: No, the enthusiasm is the same. We have 4 more countries that wanted to start a platform – Poland, Romania, France and Spain, but none of the countries made it so far, because it’s a lot of work to do in order to start something new. You have to build up something new. But there is no difference between Eastern and Western, even though with exchanging media there are some different attitudes on creative comments licenses.

P: Can you explain the concept behind youthphotos.eu for the people who are not familiar with it?

J.H: So, Youthphotos doesn’t exist any more, because it is Youthmedia now, but you can upload media, and you can view it online, and you can discuss it, like it, and you can download it. And while downloading it, a special part of the downloading tells you where and how you can use it, for non-commercial use, or only by telling the name of the photographer and so on… And when you upload media, you can choose the creative license you want for that media.

P: So, is this applicable to text as well? Or just pictures?

J.H: With texts it’s a little bit more difficult because of the language aspects. But with texts it is also possible. Of course, it is more difficult if you publish your text in the professional media, because most of the time you are not allowed to publish it anywhere else. But usually people contact the editor or journalists directly about these matters.

P: We are talking here ( in Berlin) in the conference  about freedom of press. I think that it’s obvious that there are problems with the freedom of press in Eastern Europe… How do you think this problem can be solved? Can Youthmedia or EYP play a part in solving this problem?

J.H: I think it can’t be solved that easy, but I think there are 2 ways. One is to know how it works in different countries, because from my experiences, in many countries, young journalists and young people do not really know that there is a problem with non-free media, so most people would say ok, it’s quite normal I can’t publish something against the government. So it’s quite important to get the exchange between journalists. It’s quite nice to now if your problems are common problems or if they are problems in all the countries.

P: Can you summarize the vision of Youthmedia in a few words?

J.H: The vision is to get interconnected and to learn from each other, in every different phase of your journalistic career. That can be by exchanging media, but also exchanging knowledge, exchanging points of view.

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