Today I participated as a panellist during an international event ‘’News In The Digital Age’’, organized by the ECR party. Below a few points that were expressed for the 1200 participants.
Ø From the beginning I want to draw attention to two components when we talk about the media. Creating media content (news, reports) is the most important - that exploded as a number of readers at the end of March 2020. The second element is media business, how to monetize a press. A successful media includes both elements.
Ø The crisis is hitting the media business hard. This was the case in 2008 with the financial crisis. We are currently feeling the pandemic crisis and preparing for a major economic crisis.
Ø Journalism adapted quickly. We set up EURACTIV only online and in 1999 we were pioneers.
Ø But we kept innovating all the time. Not only technology brings innovation, but also the way it operates.
Ø The brand will continue to be the strong point in the media business.
Ø Strengthening transnational partnerships at the level of the EU press becomes a necessity in terms of content, but also in terms of business.
Ø We work with journalists, and the human factor is crucial. The automated systems will not be able to replace quality journalists, but will help them in their work.
Recommendations for the future
Ø The European Union has the capacity to anticipate the crisis of 2021, be it pandemic, economic or societal. A joint project between the European structure and the Member States is still needed to give citizens security.
Ø An alliance between institutions (European and national), civil society and business is needed - Media is part of the process.
Ø The media sector is essential for democracy. It has lost one-third of its journalists since 2008, and – apart from public broadcasting – more are at risk.
Ø The role of national and European institutions in supporting the independent press is strategic, not only tactic.
Ø What we wish from Europe is firstly re-balancing the ecosystem and secondly speeding up transformation, which is called ‘capacity building’ and focuses on skills and innovation.
Ø Innovation is necessary, but difficult to finance. Start-ups can bring the new elements to streamline media production and diversify activities.
Ø New concrete EU programs give more support to media transformation. Based on the same idea as the Erasmus program launched in the 80's by the EU. Not only for journalists, but also for the entire media ecosystem. As was Erasmus for teachers and the development of educational capacity.
Dan LUCA / Brussels