To diagnose the profession and provide solutions. This has been the purpose with which Professor Ignacio Bel has coordinated the book Recuperemos el periodismo: ideas for regenerating the journalistic profession, which compiles the perspectives of 17 journalists and academics, such as José Antonio Zarzalejos (El Confidencial), Lucía Méndez (El Mundo) and Bieito Rubido (El Debate), among others.
The book analyses the deepest problems of the profession. Bel, a former director of IESE, says that journalism is in “a very acute crisis due to economic, professional and ethical factors”. Regarding the former, he highlights the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, which marked a turning point in the profession. One of the major examples set out in the book that highlight the seriousness is, according to Bel, “the comparison of newspaper circulation from those years to the present day”.
The fall in advertising, low salaries, the “massive” dismissal of journalists and the loss of talent are some of the problems that are analysed in depth in the publication, which is presented as a plea for journalistic ethics. In the opinion of the coordinator, who is also the author of the book La ética informativa, “ethics are lacking in many cases. For example, we seem to have returned to the party press, and this is a serious problem. There is a lack of criticism of the powers that be”. For this reason, in view of the “very critical situation” which, in his opinion, journalism is suffering, he proposes “to regenerate it ethically and professionally”.
A “constructive” rather than “apocalyptic” outlook
Although the professional picture that emerges in the book has shades of grey, the author argues that it is not intended to be “apocalyptic”. With a “constructive” intention, the coordinator says that “I contacted journalists who were specialists in the areas in which I detected a problem and asked them for their different points of view”. The main novelty of the book, he says, is that “it is written by people – journalists and teachers – who work in journalism on a daily basis and know this world well. The aim is not to describe the situation, but to do it from the inside and to make proposals for improvement. “The result is a set of approaches, problems and solutions for the profession,” Bel explains.
Bel admits that he is “tremendously optimistic” and argues that “any proposal is necessary to improve our profession. We have a very important role to play, if we know how to be independent and restore ourselves to the classic principles of journalism.
The book, which has a foreword signed by Professor Javier Fernández del Moral, is fundamentally aimed “at journalists and communication professionals so that we can reflect and think about very important aspects that are currently in question or in very bad shape”. The book is available in bookshops from today.