The tenth anniversary festival of elDiario.es kicked off in Valencia with a discussion moderated by elDiario.es deputy director Maria Ramirez on journalism (no matter what). On the esplanade of the Plaza del Ayuntamiento de Valencia, with hundreds of visitors, a discussion took place in which Ignacio Escolar, director of elDiario.es; Katherine Viner, editor of The Guardian; Maurizio Molinari, director of La Repubblica, and Maria O’Donnell, director and announcer of Urbana Play FM.
Ignacio Escolar greeted those who attended the tenth anniversary celebration, demanding information outside the M30 in Madrid. Journalist Maria Ramirez, the newspaper’s deputy director, recalls 2012 as a year of layoffs, losses and “disorientation” in the media sector. However, a decade after the birth of elDiario.es, the main novelty for its director Ignacio Escolar was “reader engagement”. “This reliance on readers greatly affects the way information is produced,” says Escolar.
Argentine journalist Maria O’Donnell, director of radio station Urbana Play FM, described the tremendous speed of technological change and denounced the “temptation of demagogy”. “No matter what, he [en referencia al lema de elDiario.es] the point is that this type of more classical journalistic endeavor has to be defended in a more difficult jungle,” O’Donnell warned.
For his part, La Repubblica director Maurizio Molinari also speculated (only three days before an Italian election that could see the far right take power) about the “rise of populism,” movements “very aggressive and dangerous to democracy.” . “Now we have a more complex and aggressive environment with more fear,” he added. “Digital information means responsibility, every piece of information must be of very high quality,” adds Molinari.
The Guardian director Katherine Viner has defended investigative journalism, the role of women in media management, and the presence of journalists and professionals on the ground in wartime settings such as the war in Ukraine. “We have to say what we know and what we don’t know, and be very open when we’re wrong,” Viner said. “We have to be extremely frank with our readers,” says the director of The Guardian.
Another focus of the round table was the membership fee business model. “If you do not pay for information, you are not a client, you are a product,” explained Ignacio Escolar. “Journalism that readers don’t pay for is paid for by someone else, and in many cases against the interests of readers,” he stressed. The director of La Repubblica mentioned the new role of readers in the subscription model: “Digital information allows more and more people to be part of the news cycle because they can interact and talk with us.”
The model is not simple. Ignacio Escolar explained that when elDiario.es exposed the Cristina Cifuentes master’s degree scandal, 10,000 new members joined in the victory. On the other hand, when he discovered violations with the master’s degree of the then socialist minister Carmen Monton (who also resigned after the investigations of this newspaper), there were 25 victims among the partners. Nothing serious, but a sample of the complex dynamics between partners and readers and the newspaper.
“We, journalists, have to explain ourselves to our readers and the community of partners who support us, explaining how it works so that people trust the media,” says Escolar, who recalls that elDiario.es has no debt and is owned by journalists. founded it. “We are independent because half of our income depends on our readers,” he added.
See the full conversation here:
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