23 June 2015
Gabriel Mabille is a student at the EFJ School of Journalism in Levallois-Perret, France, and the GEN Summit 2015 blogger in Barcelona. Read his experience of the third and final afternoon at the Summit:
All good things must come to an end and today was the final day of the GEN Summit. At lunchtime, near the GEN expo entrance, there was a masterclass taking place organised by Storyful: Mark Little, Founder and Director of Innovation, Adam Thomas, Chief Product Officer and Colm Curneen, Director of Business Development. Storyful is a revolutionary social news company. It combines "proprietary technology and expert journalism into a human algorithm" and offers the opportunity "to verify and deliver the contents that the social web has to offer". Storyful is the world’s first social media newsroom with headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.
The second lunch festivity was located in the GEN expo area: GEN's general assembly. The election of the 2015-2017 GEN president, Peter Bale, was officially announced following Ricardo Kirschbaum's presidency. New Board Members were also elected during the assembly.
The afternoon session in Sala Teatre began with Ulrike Huemer, Vienna’s Chief Information Officer in charge of Vienna’s Digital Agenda, announcing that the GEN Summit 2016 would be taking place in Vienna. Don't forget to save the date from 15-17 June 2016!
And then we were into the final session of the GEN Summit 2015 in Barcelona: a mix of candour, humility and humour from key figures in the industry. Peter Bale, CEO at the Center for Public Integrity, the new GEN President; Mark Little, Founder and Director of Editorial Innovation at Storyful, Maria Ramirez, Deputy Editor and Co-Founder of El Espanol and Madhav Chinnappa, Head of Strategic Relations, News and Publishers at Google, disclosed their personal biggest mistakes in their professional career and what, in their opinion, we could learn from them. The audience responded very positively, laughing a lot at the anecdotes. Mark Little moved the crowd by admitting that on some occasions failures can be quite catastrophic and difficult to cope with. Sometimes there is damage when you have to take the tough decision to fire people. Peter Bale mentioned the difficulties about misreading and misjudging culture within press companies.
The tone and the message of the rest of the lectures on the final afternoon were much more about strategy and perspectives for newsrooms. They dealt with opportunities to breach the gap between IT companies, startups and news companies.
Lou Ferrera, Vice President and Managing Editor at the Associated Press and Geir Terje Ruud, consultant, discussed the latest trends and methods at the Associated Press: robot journalism ! Through a series of algorithms, the AP team is able to create an automated journalism that is efficient. It can transform the business industry and, contrary to what most people think, it would not destroy jobs but allow the newsroom to gain time, be more efficient and even the opportunity to send journalists out to do investigations. Currently, automated news can be used for sports results, elections or weather forecasts.
The presentation focused on podcasts, giving new perspectives on a format that is often neglected by the profession. Dani Chivvis, Producer for Serial and Chicago Public Media, Siobhan McHugh, Editor at the Radio Doc Review, Francesco Baschieri, CEO of Spreaker and Mark Rock, CEO and founder of the Adio Corporation, transmitted their enthusiam about podcasts to the audience during this lecture. The various audio samples allowed everyone in Sala Teatre to realise the multiple possibilites offered by this media and its creativity. As it has been said during many GEN Summit presentations : ‘Content is king’. The same rule applies for podcasts. Clammr, a recent application launched online, could help podcasts to go viral and be shared more easily on the social networks.
Christophe Deloire, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders, debated with Michael Bolden, Editorial Director of the Knight Foundation, Maria-Teresa Ronderos, Director of Programme on Independent Journalism at the Open Society Foundation and with Miguel Castro, Strategic Partnerships, Communications at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, about the unsuspected relationships between foundations and journalism’s funding. All of them presented their mission, their latest projects and their hopes for the future collaborations between news companies and foundations. Its a sustainable business model and a powerful tool to empower journalists in places where freedom of the press and human rights are not always a reality.
The last presentation was focused on examples of successful local news entities. Marie Gilot, Media Innovation Associate at the Knight Foundation, organised the joint discussion. Tarek Atia, publisher, presented his printed local newspaper Mantiqti in Cairo, Egypt.
Julie Costes, Director of paid-for digital services at Le Parisien, talked about her latest project: a mobile application, distributing local news and information to cities surrounding Paris.
Jim Brady, CEO and Founder of Billy Penn, talked about his online platform (designed also for mobiles) with a small team of journalists covering news in the city of Philadelphia. The business model seems to be the toughest topic for local news businesses.
The audience was a little more scattered in the afternoon for the final presentations. Matt Kelly, a talented journalist who announced all the sessions (always brilliantly, forcefully, with the right words for every situation) concluded the GEN Summit in Spanish, making the first couple of rows explode with laughter.
The GEN Summit 2015 ended with the tremendous efforts of all participants and of the GEN Team, especially Evangeline de Bourgoing, Director of Programmes at GEN, who was behind the Editors Lab and the Startups For News ceremonies that concluded the day. Impressive trophies – huge cups and beautiful medals – were given to the winners who I am sure will be part of the future of innovation in journalism.
Bertrand Pecquerie, CEO of Global Editors Network, concluded the GEN summit 2015 by repeating the annoucement about next year's Summit in Vienna. He also mentionned his desire to expand the Startup For News programme in the coming years.
In this final blogpost, I want to take the opportunity to thank the entire GEN team. It was such an honour to be part of an amazingly professional, humane and unbelievable journalistic experience.