Why is it important to share stories that address current social and economic issues that cities face in the twenty-first century? What is the specialty of a contemporary urban journalist and what is the secret to creating innovative and urgent stories? WeLoveBrussels promotes city storytelling and we gladly give floor to local bloggers, digital activists and all citizens who want to share their story about the city. At the same time, we want to explore the questions of citizen journalism, press freedom, big data, digital storytelling tools and investigative urban journalism. For our readers who are interested in the topic, we share some of the key questions that will be discussed at the upcoming urban journalism festival in Amsterdam and we hope that similar type of events will be soon organized in Brussels.

Urban Stories Festival (USF) in Amsterdam focuses on the most important stories that city accommodates and is meant for media professionals, students, digital nomads, city lovers and everyone interested in the field of city journalism. During this four-day festival participants will look at urban journalism as a tool to address urban issues, provide a stage for innovative city stories and explore how digital developments help create new ways of storytelling. To find out more about the festival and its program, visit the following link.

What are the stories that urban journalists should focus on? It could be locals creating bottom-up movements to raise awareness about sustainable living in cities, community leaders challenging they ways we design our neighborhoods or urban planners offering new views on how to live in our pressured cities. The trick is to make the routine news of everyday a bit more fun and engaging; and the deep and dead serious, attractive and, yet, still believable. Often, a whole new type of platforms emerge – communities of makers, journalists, coders and designers that work together on building the future of journalism. Think: new tools and products, innovation methods, news games, mobile interactives and virtual reality stories.

What 21st-century skills are needed by urban journalists nowadays? How can we use urban storytelling as a tool to create impact? Today, 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 70 percent by 2050. Urbanisation is a fact, making cities worldwide an even more relevant topic to talk about.

Selected case studies that will be presented at the Urban Stories Festival:

Citiscope

Gregory Scruggs is senior correspondent for independent journalism platform Citiscope and a specialist when it comes to covering urban issues worldwide. He is specialised in cities and culture in the Americas and previously lived and worked in Brazil. He speaks several languages and experiences the world as his home and cities as his biggest love.

The Future of Cities

Filmmaker Oscar Boyson has made quite an impression with his short documentary The Future Of Cities (2016) in which he looks at how different cities are approaching the future in a sustainable way – focusing on issues of technology, transportation, health and history. The project is a conversation starter first, a video second. Oscar wants to keep telling urban stories and building on these ideas. Knowledge is power!

The Urban Journalism Academy

Rome-based journalist Simone d’Antonio covers innovation, sustainability and urban issues. His stories appeared on Citiscope, Citylab and Guardian Cities. From a piece on how Turin is converting from a dead industrial area into an innovation hub, to an article that shines a light on how metropolitan cities are born in Italy – Simone is an experienced journalist always on the lookout for development stories. He is involved with the Urban Journalism Academy a pioneering and innovative initiative to train journalists and media professionals who are already interested or involved in urban development with reference to social and economic issues facing cities in the 21stCentury.