Barachini in Messina “interviewed” by young people from Sicily and Calabria inaugurates the GDS Academy: ask questions, be protagonists


By John

«Artificial Intelligence will be part of our future and will probably improve many processes. On the topic of creativity and information, there is attention to the development of the mechanism which certainly requires a safe ecosystem, with human control and responsibility, ensuring that it cannot replace people’s work”. This was declared by the undersecretary of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Information and Publishing Alberto Barachini, protagonist in Messina of the inaugural event of the GDS Academy, the cycle of interactive multimedia activities promoted by Società Editrice Sud for the world of education. In fact, the media literacy path conducted by the Group is consolidated through its two newspapers, Gazzetta del Sud, with the Noi Magazine insert, and il Giornale di Sicilia, with the GDScuola insert, in the wake of the commitment to the young generations of the Bonino Pulejo Foundation, non-profit organization reference shareholder of the Ses.
“Quality information, between new media and artificial intelligence” was the theme of the debate, held in the Ses auditorium packed with young people, and introduced by the president and editorial director of Ses Lino Morgante, during which Barachini spoke with students of Sicilian and Calabrian schools and the University of Messina who spoke in person and remotely.

Morgante: legislative equality in the information sector
«Today the challenge of quality information has become as vital as it is difficult – said President Morgante when introducing the event – After social media and fake news, the time has come for artificial intelligence: these are issues that are particularly close to our hearts because the SES Group has as its absolute majority shareholder the Bonino Pulejo Foundation, a non-profit organisation, which for 52 years has dedicated time and resources to the education of young people, from schools to universities. Our newspapers, Gazzetta del Sud and Giornale di Sicilia, the Group’s websites, TV and radios also serve this purpose, information but also training. We want to continue in this mission of ours, with the help of our readers, advertisers, to whom we extend our thanks, as well as to the DIE, which guarantees adequate support for businesses like ours.”
«Information – continued the president – is free when the budgets are in order. At the same time, in order to look to the future with more serenity, we hope that we continue along the path of defending copyright, against piracy of any kind, which violates intellectual property, and that we move towards a reform of the Law on ‘publishing that puts all the information actors on an equal legislative footing, in times when we are fighting with predatory complaints and the excessive power of the internet giants who drain most of the advertising resources.’

Also welcoming the undersecretary were the board member of the Bonino Pulejo Foundation Margherita Leto, the vice-president of Ses Giuseppe Ilacqua, the managing director of the Gazzetta del Sud Alessandro Notarstefano, with the editorial secretary Daniela Cacciola, together with colleagues from the editorial offices (paper newspaper, website, TV and radio) and with Giacinto Pipitone, member of the Cdr of the Giornale di Sicilia directed by Marco Romano.

Artificial intelligence to be “humanized”
Many detailed questions were posed by students to Barachini during the long debate moderated by the deputy editor of Gazzetta del Sud Natalia La Rosa, responsible for the GDS Academy and the Noi Magazine insert, in which the topics of quality information seen by young minds but animated by a consolidated interest. From the right to information and freedom of thought and expression enshrined in the Constitution and reported in the Statute of Student Councils, to the reliability of news linked to access to sources, to the processing of data between responsibility and ethical implications. There are recurring fears about a “replacement” of AI with respect to human beings and about an individual and general intellectual flattening resulting from too easy access to content, from school to the world of information.

«You are the generation of artificial intelligence – stated Barachini, a professional journalist with long experience at Mediaset and in his second legislature as a senator – Be creative, never homologated, what makes the difference in the world of communication is originality», he underlined by speaking to young people “eye to eye”, with a direct, captivating language, returning the attention received, struck by the enthusiasm and that uncontainable desire to “remain human” which makes cultural growth even supported by technological innovation special. And at the end of the meeting, a big collective embrace, with souvenir photos inside the auditorium and in the forecourt of the company centre, animated by voices and smiles for such an important guest, who knew how to listen to them. An intense dialogue, punctuated by pertinent and reasoned questions, the result of a profound reflection conducted in recent weeks together with teachers and managers as an integral part of the path of awareness and participation of the “Gazzetta del Sud in scuola con Noi Magazine” project, within the of which the Academy developed, making young people protagonists.

#CrescereConLeNews, the Department’s hashtag
And great attention is given to dialogue with young people, as demonstrated by the initiative launched on the occasion of the Messina event on the social networks of the Department for Information and Publishing with the hashtag #CrescereConLeNews, aimed at stimulating young people reasoning and production of content on the topic.

The importance of young people’s participation, including voting
During the event, which was attended by the Calabrian and Messina student councils, the young people from the School of Excellence of the University of Messina and the editorial staff of UniversoMe, the student newspaper of the Peloritano University which interviewed the undersecretary on the sidelines, space for reflection on the importance of student representation in the inter-institutional debate of the tutor of the Provincial Council of Messina Emilia Pace and on the relationship between the exercise of the right to vote and information. An intense moment, in the sign of democratic participation cultivated right from the school desks, with the testimony entrusted to Chiara, a student of the Liceo Borrelli of Santa Severina, in the province of Crotone, present in Messina together with 50 classmates, together with the teachers , as part of the PCTO path with Ses. The student read the article published in the Noi Magazine insert in front of the audience in the auditorium, starting from the student elections, the first important opportunity for the right to vote, and underlining the value of good information in order to exercise it. A testimony so significant that it deserves compliments and a handshake from Barachini.

Newspapers in the classroom: simplifications in financial law
The undersecretary confirmed during the event the important simplifications envisaged in the financial system for institutions that access government reimbursements on subscriptions to newspapers, periodicals and scientific journals: «Italy is among the countries in Europe where fewer books, newspapers and and magazines. Young people read less and less: if we can arouse interest and, with the measures included in the budget law, facilitate schools’ access to newspapers and magazines, it is a good start to try to reverse this process.” As soon as they are launched, the new rules will become operational for the next round of tenders. However, the procedure relating to the notices released last July is currently underway: the deadline for schools to request reimbursements from the Publishing Department will expire on 16 January 2024, for purchases made in 2023 relating to subscriptions for newspapers, magazines and periodicals, according to the different provisions of the two notices (one for all schools and one reserved for lower secondary schools).

Schools and authorities: broad sharing
There was a rich parterre of authorities present at the inauguration of the GDS Academy in the auditorium, confirming the interest in young people and the institutional sharing on the Ses project, sponsored by the Order of Journalists of Sicily with the support of the regional school offices of Sicily and Calabria.

Present were the prefect of Messina Cosima Di Stani and the mayor of the Metropolitan City Federico
Basile with the Councilor for Education Pietro Currò, who, on the sidelines of the inauguration, in expressing appreciation for the Gazzetta del Sud initiative, underlined how «artificial intelligence must be observed and studied very carefully as it it can produce positive effects but also irreversible damage. For this reason it is necessary for governments to activate strict methodologies and controls in the field of publishing and information.”
Also participating were the vicar of the Police Headquarters Antonio Borelli and the spokesperson Salvatore Gulizia, Lieutenant Colonel Francesco Falcone, commander of the Provincial Operations Department of the Carabinieri, Eng. Claudio Di Blasi, deputy provincial commander of the Fire Brigade, lieutenant colonel Giuseppe Genovesi, head of the public information section of the Command of the Aosta Mechanized Brigade, colonel Girolamo Franchetti, commander of the Economic and Financial Police Unit of the Guardia di Finanza, the captain of corvette Domenico Russo of the Marisuplog command, the commissioner of the Municipal Police Lino La Rosa, Dr. Vito Primerano, delegate of the director of the regional school office for Calabria Antonella Iunti, the communication manager of the provincial school office of Messina Lucia Allegra, representing the director of USP Stello Vadalà, prof. Giovanni Cupaiuolo, vice president of the Peloritana Academy of Pericolanti – Unime School of Excellence.

Also speaking were the commissioner of Corecom Sicily Aldo Mantineo, representing the president Andrea Peria Giaconia, Attilio Borda Bossana, deputy regional vice-president of Assostampa with the provincial secretary Sergio Magazzù, and Gianluca Carbone coordinator of the student newspaper UniversoMe.
The support given to the event by Undersecretary Barachini’s spokesperson, the journalist Veronica Marino, was invaluable and heartfelt.

The provincial student councils of Calabria also intervened, coordinated by the teacher Franca Falduto with the new president of the Vibo council Filippo Daffinà.
Great participation, in the presence and in connection with the Sicilian and Calabrian schools: present with the teachers were the Maurolico Galilei, La Farina Basile, Archimede, Antonello, Jaci, Verona Trento, Collegio Sant’Ignazio, Borrelli di Santa Severina (KR) high schools, Brutium of Cosenza and Perri Pitagora of Crotone, directed by Giovanna De Francesco, Caterina Celesti, Laura Cappuccio, Laura Tringali, Maria Rosaria Sgrò, Simonetta Di Prima, Maria Musché, Antonietta Ferrazzo, Rosita Paradiso and Natascia Sansone. Also present were the Messina comprehensive schools Pajno Gravitelli, Santa Margherita, Mazzini and Manzoni Dina and Clarenza directed by Domizia Arrigo, Fulvia Ferlito, Nicola Labate and Concetta Quattrocchi and the Ic Cassiodoro Don Bosco of Reggio directed by Eva Raffaella Maria Nicolò.