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Blogs and/or digital journalism under debate at IE University
14/03/2011 - General
The blogosphere phenomenon, the current status of digital journalism and emerging trends in web 2.0 were just some of the issues addressed during a workshop focused on the theme of "Bloggers and/or digital journalists", organized by IE School of Communication. The event brought together opinion leaders, professionals from the field of journalism, members of faculty and students from IE School of Communication to debate related issues at the Segovia campus.
Participants included Borja Echevarría (Soitu.es), Ignacio Cardero (el confidencial.com), Daniel Martín (laestrelladigital.es), Manuel Bonachela (eleconomista.es), Ignacio Esteban (EFE-Multimedia), Natalia Martín (blog-RTVE), Pedro Cifuentes and Óscar Crespo (IE School of Communication). The inaugural session, "Journalism in times of conflict", was led by Javier Farjé (BBC World Service Trust) and moderated by Samuel Martín Barbero, dean of IE School of Communication.
The question was raised of whether Blogs constitute a threat or an opportunity for journalists. The proliferation of bloggers – there are an estimated 49 million blogs on the Internet- and digital journalism are challenging what has been the reserve of traditional journalism for centuries, and now maintained mainly by the “old guard” made up of veteran journalists reluctant to use new communication tools. The dean of IE School of Communication, Samuel Martín-Barbero believes that “journalists are now faced with an identity crisis with the surge of this cybernetic phenomenon”.
Ignacio Esteban, from EFE, feels that credibility marks the fundamental difference between the two mediums and highlighted the fact that “confidence, veracity, rigor and contrasting sources are the hallmarks of his profession. He added that the challenge now facing EFE does not consist of embracing the use of the so-called “citizen’s journalism”, but rather of ensuring that professionals in the field of journalism know how to use these new tools. Borja Echevarría, associate director of Soitu.es, believes it is possible to combine journalistic rigor with internet philosophy, i.e. immediate coverage, and makes no distinction between paper and digital journalists. Echeverría says that traditional Spanish media is not yet fully prepared to integrate new technologies into journalism and that they have to change to meet new needs. “The problem with blogs is not a question of the medium, but rather one of veracity and credibility. People who demonize the world of blogs are making a big mistake”.
RTVE blogger Natalia Martín defended citizen’s journalism “because it is a way of feeling reality”. Javier Farjé, a BBC journalist, replied that democratizing journalism could have negative effects for both the public and professionals, while Ignacio Cardero from el confidencial.com stated that “citizens are not journalists, and blogs cannot be compared with an online newspaper”.
All the experts agreed that journalism has taken a new direction from which there is no turning back. Journalism on the web is moving forward at a vertiginous pace, providing communication students with magnificent opportunities to give rein to their entrepreneurial spirit and all their talent in a profession that still has a great future.