Since no one has seen it tomorrow, it is difficult to make predictions about it. Therefore, the best way to prepare the future is to give everything to the present and, as far as possible, to help create it, without the past serving as more help and guidance, which is certainly not little, to avoid incurring in past mistakes. After all, the future does not exist; it will exist, without it being possible to foresee it even by the haruspices. As in the famous verses that Shakespeare puts in the mouth of General Banquo addressing Macbeth: "If you can see in the seeds of time / and say which grain will germinate and which will not, / then talk to me." However, one day will come and only then will you see how it is and what face the new dawned creature presents to the world.
In any case, as it does not escape anyone, it is a matter of our greatest interest and concern. Not surprisingly, as Woody Allen appreciated, not without a flashback, "this is where I will spend the rest of my life." In any case, we must agree with the great philosopher of history that was the British Arnold Toynbee that the future of society depends, without exaggeration or ambiguity, on the answer given to this question: "Are we well informed? ".
As a great theorist of the cyclic development of civilizations, Toynbee understood that the future of humanity is contingent on how to face the challenges that arise. Taking this principle to the field of media and THE WORLD that comes, the future will depend on how they meet the information needs of the current society. To this end, and many more, when a newspaper celebrates its thirtieth anniversary and must look up to the future but still looking sideways at the rearview mirror so as not to disregard the lessons of the past , the best way to guarantee tomorrow is, indeed, work boldly to help create it.
In moments not easy for anyone, we must try to get the best of all of us to face a crossroads that, as in the story of Alice in Wonderland , forces us to run a lot to at least stay in the same place . That is why, with the same pioneering spirit of THE WORLD in that uncertain 1989 in which some did not give a hard time for the newspaper, we are preparing to continue making a great way to walk from the confidence and hope claiming, like Goethe , "Light more light". Without journalism deserving of that name there is no quality democracy, since it is based on truly well-informed citizens and this goes through finding out why things are going on, for what sustains the iceberg of the news.
The press did not die with the radio or this one with the television nor this one in turn with the internet , but the three stood on their feet - if you want with that architecture of Gaudí that miraculously keeps the Holy Family of Barcelona upright - with the addition that journalism took over the radio, made a site on television and has done it again on the Internet. Of course, as in the case of miscegenation, everyone has ended up receiving mutual influences and many may think that the primitive spirit of journalism has been wasted as a result of the powerful cathode rays of a television that makes information a spectacle. The instantaneity of the news began with television and the Internet is the apotheosis of the instantaneous ... Internet, as a continuous stream of water in which some news evicts others, makes that of Heraclitus a reality that nobody bathes in the same river . In this sense, the task of hierarchy of the news and the explanation of the things that are happening are fundamental.
As we try to do every day in EL MUNDO, it is time for journalism to gain speed, recover lost time and serve to channel the Amazonian flow of misinformation that proliferates on the Internet. The risk of working in real time and the risks of live. This forces us to have a temper, like the surgeon that operates and cannot be mistaken, and criteria to not publish news without contrasting with the exemption that there has been someone somewhere who has published it. Neither rigor mortis nor everything is useful for the casserole .
The new information habits of the citizen have caused a radical transformation of the companies that, in turn, must affirm their reliability regardless of the format and their professionals for whom the fundamental thing will be to have things to say and know how to communicate them. Key aspect: to be reference headers that are a guarantee of the information they emit, that you can trust (some have called it the Martini effect, wherever you are and when you are there you can count on it). For this, it is essential that journalism preserve its soul and its quality.
When everyone sees everything and knows everything, journalism provides the keys to understanding. We must claim the role of the press as an actor able to get to the bottom and explain what is happening. For example, contributing to the unmasking of lies and false news - an oxymoron, or is it news or is false - used with prodigality in political events of the caliber of Donald Trump's election victory in the United States, Brexit in the United Kingdom or in Procés Catalonia, where the media are exposed to lies and claims that have no relation to reality.
If one of the functions of the press is to be a counterweight to power, the media must do so until the end against those who build the so-called "alternative events" and accuse them of enemies of the people for denouncing the dishonesty of these impostors. Unfortunately, society does not always show that degree of demand and does not reward the extent that one would expect from the investigating media. "When a fact begins to resemble what you think is true, it becomes very difficult for anyone to notice the difference between facts that are true and episodes that are not," as noted by Katharine Viner , editor in chief of The Guardian to Explain how technology alters the truth. He understands that social networks have eaten the news, threaten the viability of journalism based on the public interest and have contributed to an era in which opinions are replacing the facts. Diagnosed the dangers, it is convenient to remedy them with the appropriate therapies to affirm that the first obligation of journalism is with the truth and with the revelation of what you want to keep hidden from the citizen, when they are matters of your greatest interest and convenience.
In this purpose, one of the great risks is the excess of information or information that is not well contextualized. This causes the harmful effect of the misinformation of citizens who, apparently, are informed of everything, but who are not aware of anything. Generally, citizens have to decide on things that the majority do not understand or, something more serious, that does not interest them, discarding their responsibility and submitting to a "voluntary servitude." There has never been as much information available as now.
From the internet to digital media, an amount of data that is difficult to manage is generated, forcing some habits to be rethought if the brain is not wanted to explode in the face of this information. There is a bottleneck between the information that is produced and our ability to assimilate it, so that, if knowledge is power, the information itself is not . It's like the detritus that a gold digger needs to screen to find the nuggets. There lies precisely the essence of one of the oldest trades in the world: that of telling news.
In order to make the media economically viable, so that they fulfill the function entrusted with guarantee, the great challenge of journalism is to make possible a business model that makes it profitable and protects the independence of its contents without falling into vulgarity and in elementality If the Internet opened up an immense world of possibilities with no more frontier than the language, but introduced the written press into a labyrinthine world, the truth is that the big headers -sularly EL MUNDO, leader in Spain with more than 20 million unique users - they have done, giving many stumbles - why not admit it? -, a monumental adaptation effort, as well as a change of mentality, content, language and design without having lost journalism its soul and its essence , although the threats are constant.
Like Plato, he believed that he would persuade Dionysus , the tyrant of Syracuse, and, after several trips to the Greek colony, he ended up seduced by him, the media succumbed to a sort of seduction of the digital Syracuse: set the goal to maximize the number of its electronic users, even at the cost of allowing them free access. The increase in unique users has not produced an appreciable increase in advertising revenue. But, as he rightly said, Steve Jobs in a meeting with New York Times executives: "I was not the one who gave readers free access to newspapers without being asked for their credit card details." Producing quality information costs money, because it requires having a good staff of professionals and moving some to distant places.
That mistake made in the transition to the digital age has had a high cost and the challenge of the moment is to design a business model that takes advantage of the new technologies, based on quality content whose credibility will derive from the brand of the medium. The new business model will require charging for quality and, in some cases, specialized information.
It is encouraging what happened in other countries regarding the payment for content, although the unit of account, if they allow me the expression, is not already the complete newspaper, but the article or individual news, as it has happened in music, where the Fans download songs, not full albums. But the essential thing will be that whoever charges for that access to the article or news is the means that produces it, not a mere "aggregator" that, without respecting the intellectual property rights, disseminates it and obtains advertising revenue until it accounts for 80% of global advertising, as with Google and Facebook . Only the predominance of revenue from users will increase the independence and credibility of the media.
In any case, the future of journalism is in the hands of journalists themselves, if they know how to play their tricks with talent; if they do not, they will only enjoy a small, but sad privilege: to attend their own (and perhaps discreet) burial in the front row. But, since no one is an island - the death of any means of communication diminishes us - it is not convenient to forget the verses of John Donne : "Therefore, never ask who the bells are ringing for: they double for you."
With the renewed spirit of 30 years ago, we know that, when he abandons himself from the duty of journalism, corruption, abuse and impunity is facilitated until the thicket of that fog that falls so low that it makes the ground invisible itself, forcing to walk to You tempt not to run into any more impudity. What reason was Gracian when he apostrophe: "Man without news, world in the dark"! Light to THE WORLD.
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