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Francisco J. Rodriguez, editor: “I advocate for media literacy of citizens and journalists” Francisco J. Rodriguez, editor: “I advocate for media literacy of citizens and journalists”

Francisco J. Rodriguez, editor: “I advocate for media literacy of citizens and journalists”

The head of ‘El Llobregat’ shares his views on the problems and concerns of today’s journalism
OpinióZPortada IzquierdaZResto 7 April, 2019 user1 0
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Inici » Historic » Francisco J. Rodriguez, editor: “I advocate for media literacy of citizens and journalists”

Francisco Javier Rodríguez Baena (1989) is a promising example of local journalism and already a true veteran in media. He has a degree in History from the University of Barcelona and in communication from Pompeu Fabra. This young man has worked as the editor of local newspapers El Llobregat and Línia. Apart from that, he has advocated in many cases the relevance of quality newspaper of proximity. Born and raised in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Rodríguez knows the Baix Llobregat like the back of his hand and proves that over and over again in his pieces. Without a doubt, he is an example for successful local news-casting

  • In recent years our national media has been accused repeatedly of losing their journalistic independence. Do you agree?

Actually, if we are honest this has not just been an issue of the past few years. Our publications have always had this connection with power, which sometimes has caused them to be followers of what the governments say. For instance, especially, lately with the Catalan conflict we have seen media side clearly with the national government and on the other hand, others that sided with the Catalan government. Sadly neither one of them contrasts information. But, again, I do not believe this is any news. It is a threat that has always existed and has to be treated with caution.

  • Are we talking about a Spanish issue?

Let’s call it a south-European issue. Nevertheless, I do believe in general, the relationship between journalists and the power always has the risk of losing the critical perspective necessary for this profession. I agree though, it is true that in the south of Europe these cases tend to occur more than in the Anglo-Saxon countries.

  • Has your role as the head of El Llobregat ever forced you to put the business model before the journalistic practice?

Being a free publication, in El Llobregat, we depend on institutional and private advertising. Therefore, yes, it is true that many times this limits you. Anyway, I believe that a balance between publicity and content can be maintained. For example, sometimes you can wink at an advertiser and create content that appeals to them – always without losing the journalistic vision. In the end, they are limitations that you have to know how to handle. Advertising is a necessity; we live on the ads and we can not turn our backs on them.

  • El Llobregat is a free newspaper, however many think that people should pay for media, in order to ensure journalistic quality. What do you think?

Good information has to be paid for. A journalist could not maintain quality if he did it as a hobby. Our model is institutional advertising and merchants. I believe that we can offer a good product without having to charge the readers. It is a balance after all. Without a doubt, the information is always paid for, but our payment is through other means, as in advertising, for instance.

  • In the United States, local newspapers have enormous relevance. What is the case in Spain?

In the case of Spain, it goes by zones. There are areas of Catalonia with a very strong local press, such as La Fura in the Penedes. In the Baix Llobregat, however, this does not quite materialize. I guess because we have not had a bourgeoisie interested in promoting this type of publications. What is certain is that in Catalonia, the major media has always tended to report better in the region than the local press.

  • Why is the local press important?

Easy, because I believe that it is the information that affects you the most. It might be more useful to know that the local council of your town has raised the LVT than to read a chronicle about Donald Trump. It is also the information that you find in the corner of your house. We are talking about crime, events, and news that normally don’t appear in the major news but do have a value to our neighbors.

  • How is social media affecting conventional media?

Twitter, for example, is the best and worst invention at the same time. In the first 5 minutes of an event it is wonderful, because you can get a photo of a citizen and, sometimes, you even get two lines of information. But then comes the real work of a journalist, because after these 5 minutes everything else is ‘garbage’. Twitter, or facebook or any other social network, has to serve us journalists as an alert but we shall never forget that information that comes to us must be given a journalistic treatment and we must know how to treat it further, contrast it and so on.

  • Precisely social networks feed the phenomenon of fake news, what is your take on this?

It is a dangerous reality because we are seeing that with fake news campaigns we can even influence electoral scales. Personally, I advocate that readers learn to sort the wheat from the chaff, to know what information is truthful. It’s an effort that we all have to do, not just journalists. That’s why I strongly advocate media literacy.

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