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March 7, 2015
DEBATE: New media a threat to traditional journalism, or a chance to improve?

(L-R): Lee Martin (Head of Sports of Getty Images), , Jerome Cazadieu (Editor-in-chief of L'Equipe digital), Benoit Lallement (Editor-in-chief of L'Equipe Omnisport), Pier-Angelo Molinaro (Gazetta dello Sport) and AFP’s Vincent Amalvy (Photo: Carlo Pozzoni)
by Marta Aparicio (Spain) and Timothy Olobulu (Kenya), AIPS Young Reporters
PARIS, March 7, 2015 - The growth of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a number of other social media sites has been tremendous over the last decade. Even more with the changing technology and the preference of using social media to send and receive news updates, digital media has been in rapid growth. This is seen as posing danger to traditional media like newspapers and magazines, who now face the reality of extinction.

This was the biggest point of discussion in the morning session of the final day of the 78th AIPS Congress at the French Olympic Headquarters in Paris, a talk moderated by AIPS President Gianni Merlo with AFP’s Vincent Amalvy, Pier-Angelo Molinaro (Gazetta dello Sport), Jerome Cazadieu (Editor-in-chief of L'Equipe digital), Benoit Lallement (Editor-in-chief of L'Equipe Omnisport) and Lee Martin (Head of Sports of Getty Images) making up the panel.

L’Equipe’s Benoit Lallament admits that the growth of digital media has indeed started to show, adding that the grave results are already manifesting down on them.

“We are losing out in terms of sales on the street and we are losing out in advertising. That’s why we decided to reorganize the newsroom and look for alternatives. We moved from small articles to a division-based structure that would allow us to do something different other than what travels on social and digital media,” he said.

However, AIPS President Gianni Merlo insisted that instead of looking at new media as potential ‘killers’ to traditional media, journalists should look at ways of blending the two together.

“We were not killed by the new technology. We need it and we can survive and work with it, but we have to learn how to use it,” Merlo said, addressing the numerous international journalists gathered for the debate.

Jerome Cazadieu, Editor-in-chief of L'Equipe digital said the company had to organize training programs for their journalists to enable them to embrace the digital migration and to work across the new divides in media. He explained:

“With the main objective of forming more complete media professionals for the new digital era, L’Equipe promotes some different courses to teach their writers how to write better in media platforms” he said.

“Looking for new and attractive ideas is the main concern of traditional and digital media in all four corners of the globe. L’Equipe has found a way to keep the eyes of the users open introducing more digital content into the print side,” Cazadieu added.

In the case of an agency like Getty Images, Head of Sports explained that improving is always an obligation for journalists: “We have to be open-minded to learn new business and media models”. Lee Martin, Head of Sports of Getty Images said.

AFP’s Vincent Amalvy urged journalists to be ready to handle more work with the new media wave sweeping in saying:

“We need to change the words and the style in every platform and we have to know how to do it. Sometimes it might be difficult for one journalist to do a story for a newspaper, radio and digital media all by himself.”

Pier-Angelo Molinaro from Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport added; “It is a great challenge producing the same kind of story in different forms and this is what modern journalist needs to have.”

L’Equipe’s Cazadieu says the company has looked into other ways of generating income with the decline in hard copy sales, pointing out they have opened up a subscription digital media platform where people have to pay to get access to certain articles.

“We really have to find alternatives because if we keep thinking of the same strategies, we can be pushed out of business,” Cazadieu a
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