Video - Rosalía Lloret at TEDx Transmedia 2012 - ‘About Gurus and Media: Can We Still Be Positive?’


Rosalía Lloret is Chief Digital Officer at PRISA News (publisher of El País, AS, Cinco Días and leading magazines such as Cinemania and Rolling Stone) and member of its Executive Board since September 2011. Previously, she was CDO and member of the Board of Unidad Editorial, publisher of El Mundo.

At TEDx Transmedia, Rosalía argued that traditional Big Media organisations still have a fundamental role to play in the new media environment.

'Instead of talking about newspapers dying, we should be talking about journalists dying.' Wired editor David Rowan on risks journalists take worldwide at TEDx Transmedia

David Rowan’s DAREtoINFORM talk from TEDx Transmedia 2010 still has powerful resonance today, particularly in the context of the Leveson Inquiry into British press standards and just three months after the death of journalist Marie Colvin in Syria. 

The death of Colvin, a veteran foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times, was reported worldwide and, like her own investigative journalism, brought the state of Syria under global spotlight. She died on February 22 when Syrian artillery fire hit the building she was staying in during the Siege of Homs.

This talk by the editor of the UK edition of Wired highlights just how many journalists around the world go out on a limb to expose the truth and are killed or jailed daily for daring to ask difficult questions of Governments, politicians, police, corporations and criminals.

But, Rowan adds, the further tragedy of this situation is that most of these deaths go unreported; rather than talking about newspapers dying, we should be talking about journalists dying, he says.

Rowan cites the case of Mexican journalist, Lydia Cacho, who was abducted by police, sexually assaulted and threatened with death after exposing a child prostitution ring in Cancun. She only survived because her boyfriend and work colleagues informed Amnesty International.

He also plays a video of the six-year-old daughter of Yemeni journalist Abdulkarim El-Khawani, which gained enough international attention to put pressure on the Government to release him from prison. El-Khawani’s newspaper had been shut down, he’d been tortured, faced death threats and been jailed, after exposing corruption in the oil industry involving Government officials. 

Rowan lists many more places - including Honduras, Nigeria, Russia, Pakistan, Rwanda, Belarus, Iran and Turkey - where journalists, in the course of doing their duty and holding authorities to account, are jailed or murdered in cold-blood, their cases left unreported and uninvestigated. 

He calls on people to harness the powers of social media and the Internet to share these stories, inform others of what’s happening and enable the news to travel further than the reach of the local newspaper or radio station. He argues that using social media to amplify these stories is a way the public at large can protect and support journalists doing brave work and prevent them being invisible, anonymous and too easily wiped out.

This remains a vital issue in a time of press cutbacks, where newspaper and broadcast business models are changing and investigative and foreign journalism is increasingly difficult to fund because reporting via social and digital media, though immensely powerful, is harder to monetise. 

Rowan’s talk begs questions about what we want from journalists (something Leveson has drawn international attention to); what kinds of journalism should be supported and invested in and what can be done beyond just sharing and spreading this news?

What do you think? How can digital and social media platforms be used to support journalists who aren’t cynically link-baiting or chasing traffic but attempting to expose the truth? Once awareness is raised, how can there be a link from media knowledge into real world action to make change?


Follow David Rowan on Twitter @iRowan