#22 International Journalism Festival 2009

Blogs, the “Daily Me”. Sergio Romano about new and old journalism

What an impressive scenery! Sergio Romano, one of Italy’s intellectuals of the present, author, historian, journalist, making his points on “Journalism: Powers and Responsibilities”. Where? At the Teatro Pavona, a prestigious place for a prestigious man. What will remain? Sergio Romano, 79 years old, remembering the quality of good old journalism? Or presenting answers for the future? Maximilian Kall has listened to his speech and taken some notes.

Crisis, yes and no!
“In the world there is a growing demand of information, analysis, opinion. This is not a crisis of journalism.”

“Inevitably the first to suffer from the economical crisis is the media.”

“Some of the newspapers severely hit by the crisis were formerly for decades owned by families. Owners were editors at the same time. La Repubblica, Corriere della Sera, La Stampa, Le Monde … We see that the New York Times runs the risk of becoming Mexican, 30 percent is owned by a Mexican holding already.”

“Journalism has changed. Newspapers tend to be elite publications, rather than mass media. They have to re-consider and re-structure their positions.”

Hope for print!
“In 2008 the ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung’, the sunday edition of the known German daily ‘FAZ’, has considerably increased its circulaton to 341.000 copies – five percent increase. It is an excellent example for a niche newspaper – a niche audience, top-level readers, able to pay the price the newspaper demands. This shows: There is a way out of the crisis of the printed press.”

“The Times has been founded in the 18th century and in the 19th century became Europe’s most important newspaper. It had 50.000 copies at that time. Don’t tell me circulation is everything! Espacially today it is no indicator for the importance of media anymore.”

Blogs, the “Daily Me”
“People think, they can create their own newspapers. Newspapers, that are richer than the ones we buy at the newsstand. It’s a ‘Daily Me’.”

“Blogs are not the answer for the search for better journalism. There are about 100 million blogs around the world. They are a place where scandals and scoops are being published nowadays. They are ways to express spleen, for example against the banks in the financial crisis.”

“Looking from the most favourable angle blogs are citizen journalism. They might turn into a school for good news. But this is unfortunately not often the way they are used.”

“The rejection of politics is transported in blogs. Ongoing control of politics is fair. It is needed. But in this respect I am more afraid of blogs than hopeful.”

Still fashionable: criteria for good journalism
Quoting John Lloyd, the editor of the Financial Times and speaker at the Journalism Festival, Sergio Romano said: “The need to check and balance the facts is still fashionable.”

“Newspapers are the agenda of the every-day-discussion amongst the citizens.”

And quoting Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Newspapers are the morning prayer of the secular man.”

On future journalism
Addressing the probably hundred youngsters in the audience: “Each of you will have to decide whether you focus on TV, on Radio, on printed or online media. But the principles of our profession don’t change: Conveying the facts, checking the facts, providing information in an unbiased and clear way.”

Posted in | 02.04.2009

By: Maximilian Kall

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