This year, the largest regional conference, the Weekend Media Festival, once again revived the premises of the old Tobacco Factory in Rovinj and celebrated life and togetherness under the slogan “Živio život”. This regional event brings together numerous experts from the world of media and communications and presents the latest trends, knowledge and successful practices from the industry.
“This year, the festival exceeded all expectations! What’s the secret? The secret is in the great program, interesting lecturers, and informal socializing in a pleasant environment. Everyone here feels good and inspired and, of course, some networking happens too. It is an ideal combination: a long weekend in September and an inspired gathering of colleagues from all over the region,” said Tomo Ricov, director of the Weekend Media Festival, after yet another great Weekend marked by a series of inspiring lectures and speakers.
How addicted are we to smartphones?
An excellent answer to this question was given by the internationally recognized German psychologist Manfred Spitzer, who gave a lecture entitled “Smartphone Epidemic: A Threat to Health, Education and Society”. He pointed out that sometimes we are not aware of the negative impact that smartphones can have on our lives and health and explained how excessive use of smartphones can affect our thinking and impair creativity, while certain content can cause feelings of depression, frustration, and anger.
The importance of state branding
Those attending this year’s Weekend had the opportunity to enjoy a lecture by Božo Skoko, a leading Croatian expert on national branding and a member of the board of Millenium promocija—the leading marketing communication agency in Croatia. In his lecture entitled “States as Communicators: From Danish Hygge to K-pop”, Skoko shared his extensive knowledge and experiences while inspiring us with a story about how South Korea became in, and the USA out. Skoko is also about to release a new book on the subject: “Strategic Communication of States”.
Cyber war—between truth and lies
5G tracking chips implanted in vaccines, flat-earth, and “drone” birds were just some of the many theories discussed in this one-on-one discussion entitled “21st Century Conspiracy Theories—The Cyber War Between Truth and lies”. The role of moderator was taken by Neven Kepeski, director of Media Bar, while the star of the panel was Velimir Grgić, journalist, screenwriter, director, producer and author of the book “21st Century Conspiracy Theories”—which taught us not to take the information we see on social networks at face value.
The panel “Activate change!” gathered activists from across the region: Jelena Veljača (Spasi me), MP Sandra Benčić (We Can!), Vesna Blašković (SOS Zagreb), and Asja Krsmanović (Nisam tražila). Moderator Nevena Rendeli, director of Prime Time Communications, fit perfectly into this circle of powerful women. Inspirational stories underlined the importance of social change and concluded that the biggest enemies of activism are disinformation, the lack of responsibility, and the special interests of certain groups on free speech.
Events of the future
The future of the events was discussed on the panel “Events of the future—have live interactions come to an end?”, featuring Berislav Marszalek, director and founder of the most successful regional event platform Entrio.hr; and Boris Kovaček, executive director and producer of the Weekend Media Festival. With the challenging experience of organizing this year’s Weekend, they brought the audience closer to virtual and hybrid events as ideal solutions to a pandemic that at one point completely shut down festivals and live events.
The home office revolution
“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger—doing business in challenging times” is the name of the panel in which Hrvoje Josip Balen, board member of Algebra; Ante Grbeša, director of FlixBus CEE South region; Boris Vujčić, governor of the Croatian National Bank; and Tomislav Rosandić, director of Dalekovod; pointed out that the so-called “home office” business pattern, which had been present before, now marked a revolution in professional development. Productivity and talent retention have been the main priority of business leaders, and now they must face the challenge of adapting to new business models.
We need to invest in young people!
At the one-on-one panel, “A nation with young people like this… !”, questions on the impact of politics on youth were asked by Damir Jugo, dean of Edward Bernays University College, and answered by Boris Jokić, director of the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb. They also analyzed the results of a research study which revealed that almost 50 percent of young people have a clear plan and desire to leave the country. They emphasized that more attention should be paid to this sensitive group who will one day become advocates for, and implementers of, positive changes in society.
We believe that all participants at this year’s Weekend have made new friendships, gathered new knowledge and, most importantly, created memories that they will cherish until the new, 15th edition of the Weekend.