In Spain, ‘Little Black Book’ of Journalism Shows Profession in Crisis

    by Valentina Giménez
    October 17, 2011
    Author Bernardo Diaz Nosty @Pablo Vazquez/APM

    Pressure from the publishing industry has weakened the watchdog
    role of journalists, turning them into lapdogs at the service of
    corporations and politicians and unable to serve their readers.

    "We're experiencing a paradigm shift, with a new generation that seeks to build a global society based on transparency, interaction and rebuilding society." -Bernardo Diaz Nosty


    That’s one of the conclusions of Bernardo
    Diaz Nosty
    , journalism professor at the University of Malaga.

    Diaz Nosty, also a journalist, is the author of “Libro
    Negro del Periodismo en España”
    (the “Black Book of Spanish
    Journalism”), an in-depth analysis of the current media situation
    in that country, now also common to other parts of the world.


    The book, co-published by Madrid’s
    press association
    and the UNESCO
    Chair of Communications
    at the University of Malaga, also
    addresses the detrimental relationship between political power and
    media organizations.

    Its publication comes at a time when many European countries are
    grappling with similar issues, from the proposal to regulate
    in the United Kingdom after the phone-tapping scandal
    to a similar “black
    about government-run media in Italy.

    Here are excerpts from the interview IJNet conducted with Diaz

    IJNet: Why publish a “black book” of
    Spanish journalism?

    Bernardo Diaz Nosty: The concept of “black
    book” refers to denouncing a situation, more than just presenting
    the reality of a story … And that reality is more global than
    local. It is a crisis of the values of democracy, a degradation of

    IJNet: What is the current state of journalism
    in Spain?

    BDN: In general, Spanish journalism has a long
    tradition and its major newspapers are very good, but excessive
    pressure from the industry has weakened (the media’s) role as the
    watchdogs of democracy; they became an extension of those powers,
    instead of [serving] readers and viewers …

    IJNet: What problems does the journalism
    profession face today?

    BDN: The replacement of well-paid,
    experienced professionals by young people fresh out of college, who
    earn no more than $1,500 or $2,000 a month. And also, hiring many
    interns, fellows …

    IJNet: How does this affect the relationship
    between media and the government?

    BDN: Every government … forms alliances with
    the media. Our system has many public stations associated with the
    government because of the information they publish, and those stations
    have no credibility. The close relationship of the media industry,
    political power, which moves many millions of euros a year, has built
    a vast system dependent on the government at the national, regional
    and municipal level.

    IJNet: How does this fit into the debate that
    exists worldwide on the future of journalism and new media?

    BDN: We’re undergoing an irreversible
    transition to a new media landscape. The technological skills of
    these new audiences, the “digital natives,” are crucial. In
    addition, we’re experiencing a paradigm shift, with a new generation
    that seeks to build a global society based on transparency,
    interaction and rebuilding society.

    IJNet: You write about an “academic bubble”
    in the book. What do you mean?

    BDN: I refer to the 75,000 journalism graduates
    in Spain, to which you need to add thousands graduating with degrees
    in communication, advertising, etc.

    The market and the industry cannot absorb them. But as long as
    there is such a large supply of graduates, companies will take
    advantage of the situation and pay miserable wages. This deteriorates
    journalists’ social prestige and independence.

    IJNet: How can Spain’s journalism overcome
    this situation?

    BDN: Just as it happened in France, the United
    Kingdom or the United States: regaining credibility, getting close to
    society, gaining independence, respecting an increasingly demanding
    public, going back to journalism.

    Valentina Giménez is an Uruguayan
    journalist and writer for IJNet. She is a senior journalism student
    at Universidad Católica del Uruguay and works for the weekly
    national newspaper Búsqueda covering politics.


    The post originally appeared on the The International Journalists’ Network’s site, IJNet.org. IJNet helps professional, citizen and aspiring journalists find training, improve their skills and make connections. IJNet
    is produced by the International Center for Journalists in seven
    languages — Arabic, Chinese, English, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and
    Spanish — with a global team of professional editors. Subscribe to IJNet’s free, weekly newsletter. You can also follow IJNet on Twitter or like IJNet on Facebook.

    Tagged: bernardo diaz nosty digital natives ijnet journalism in spain journalism students little black book spain

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