Syria war, branded journalism and courage: the main Twitter topics and influencers at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy

Today is the last day of the International Journalism Festival in Perugia. Despite its financial turmoils, Twitter is still holding onto its primary role as the social media for journalism: more than 44k tweets cite either #IJF16, #IJF or the official account @journalismfest.

A network analysis of the most cited users and hashtags helps us to reconstruct the stories which attracted the most attention on the social network.

The undisputed protagonist is the Middle Eastern conflict, depicted by the valuable and original perspective of the Arab world, such as @Raqqa_SL, the Twitter account of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group of activists who tell the world about the Islamic State’s atrocities from within its fortress, and Iyad El-Baghdadi, a stateless journalist and witness of the Arab Spring, expelled by the Emirates.

Davide Dormino‘s artwork Anything to Say, exhibited in the center of the city, is dedicated to courage: three ebony sculptures picturing Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning stand on their feet on top of three chairs. Next to them an empty chair is available for those who want to take a selfie with these champions of free speech. We can also spot Lirio Abbate, a famous Italian journalist who fights Mafia, not randomly close to this area.

Many international journalists attended this edition: they can be found in the lower left corner of the graph. Mark Little, Storyful founder and current Twitter Vicepresident of Media for Europe and Africa, Peter Greste, from Al Jazeera English, and’s Andy Carvin, are among those who stand out.

The branded journalism field is dominated by the team of the Italian energy company ENI, sponsor of the event, who tells us about the real time crisis management that was set up last year to respond to an investigative report by a popular Italian TV show. It was an important case for those who are into social media marketing and corporate storytelling. We also told the story here.

A final mention goes to the Italian Twitter account of Doctors Without Borders, the literature sharing project @casalettori, The European Union Representatives in Italy @europainitalia and Gazebo’s live streaming of the event on

ijf16 festival giornalismo perugia twitter

Network analysis delle conversazioni su #IJF16. La grandezza dei nodi dipende dal numero di utenti che li citano, i legami tra i nodi rappresentano le citazioni.

Network analysis of #IJF16 conversations on Twitter. The nodes’ size depends on the number of their citations, the links represent the citations.

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