In the second half of March, a conference on journalism and media in digital environments, organized by Google and the Financial Times, took place in London. The two organizations presented their views on the future of media and global markets.

 News in the Digital Age - Google and Financial Times Conference 

Britain has definitely changed since the last time I was there, which was before Brexit. According to our compatriot, who has lived near London for 8 years, grocery prices have risen by an average of 2.5 pounds per product. The streets of the city were not dangerous, so that one felt threatened, but the tension of the unknown could be read in the faces of the people.

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Meanwhile, there were three parallel strikes taking place: by railway workers, teachers, and medical workers. London underground stations were closed off with wrought-iron gates and locked with padlocks, adding an additional two hours to the daily commute for the population. Despite these inconveniences, the city continued to function with its own dynamics. The creative district of Soho had specialized streets, each impressing with handcrafted musical instruments, book publishing, record pressing, and gallery art. Times had changed, and this was definitely felt.

London - Downtown

The conference venue was located in one of the central skyscrapers in the heart of London. With the striking transport workers and the lack of regular transportation, I decided to take a stroll and soak up some of the authentic atmosphere. The best way to feel this is to arrive at a place first and leave last. In this way, a busy and overcrowded city can show you its more pleasant side.

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In the central part, the architecture surpasses by several decades the buildings in the outskirts and the visual dissonance is noticeable. Sofia also has the potential to achieve similar development in the next 40-50 years and even surpass it, due to the lesser conservatism in our country.

London - Downtown

At the opening of the conference, Mat Cooke, director of Google News, presented a beta version of a software product focused on making it easier for journalists to create high-quality and reliable materials and publications. The interesting thing was the attitude towards artificial intelligence. Many of the speakers early on noted that they do not see artificial intelligence as a threat, but rather as a set of digital tools designed to simplify user experiences and automate processes.

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There is also Bulgarian presence in the British headquarters of the Financial Times. Two of our compatriots, together with an international team of engineers, are developing a software tool for predicting changes in user interest, positioning advertising, and using Google AdSense methods to search for and find information.

 News in the Digital Age - Google and Financial Times Conference

The editors-in-chief of The Irish Times have shared their interest in reaching readers and media consumers in Eastern Europe. One of the speakers I had the opportunity to talk to in an informal setting is Isabel Sonnenfeld. Originally from Germany, she heads the European division of Google News, and her career began as an employee of Twitter in 2011 when the company came to Europe.

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Darik is listened to outside of Bulgaria, and watched on around the world. Now, even more professionals from other foreign media have learned about our 30 years of independent presence in previous analog and current and future digital ecosystems.

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