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Borja Bergareche: “Fake news is a problem of the distribution of news by algorithms rather than the quality of information.”

“We have to differentiate between fake news and disinformation,” warned Borja Bergareche, Vocento’s digital innovation director, during his speech at the Proa Observatory, held at Degussa’s headquarters. Bergareche spoke about ‘Profitable journalism in the era of fake news and Silicon Valley platforms’, clarifying exactly what we mean when we talk about fake news, explaining what the new income lines of media sector are, and defending journalism as an industry, because “we have to be profitable day to day.”

In the era of fake news, the value of information and credibility has taken on a new dimension. In this sense, Bergareche acknowledged that “the debate has been oriented, in an interesting way, towards questioning the work carried out in the newsrooms.” He asked for several clarifications in this regard. On the one hand, he defended that “we are not dealing with a problem of production quality; fake news is, above all, a problem of accelerated and indiscriminate algorithmic distribution of human stupidity on platforms such as Facebook or Google,” he said, “the terms have been confused a lot.”

On the other hand, he demanded to proceed to a terminological clarification: “before certain situations, we must speak of disinformation, for example, in the context of the election of Donald Trump; fake news would be, being rigorous, false news spread by media, and it is true that certain media outlets do it; on another level it would be the hoaxes, which are the urban legends of all life.” Faced with this confusion of public opinion about the media, Bergareche has valued the newsrooms of the traditional media, claiming that they are “in themselves a process of verification of information with 150 years of history.”

Print isn’t dead.”

In relation to Vocento and the print media situation, he claimed the importance it still has despite the digital boom. “Print is not dead, it accounts for two thirds of our income. From there, the challenge for the media is enormous, and focuses mainly on optimizing the traditional business and the diversification and generation of new income.”

Along these lines, Bergareche wanted to highlight three main revenue streams that have been gaining prominence in recent years in the main media in general and in Vocento in particular.  He highlighted the branded content in the advertising field, the commitment to payment models, and the diversification of the business. The promoted content is gaining weight in the media, and “very creative things are being done that really add value.”

On the other hand, he acknowledged the progress made by the major media in terms of the paid digital subscription model, a path that Vocento has been determined to follow for some time now, as he explained, and one of the major trends in the industry at a global level. “It’s been three years since we made the strategic decision to lead the cultural change involved in paying for digital content: implementation is slow and requires even more training in big data and customer marketing, but the bet is unequivocal, now we must work to justify it to our most loyal readers.”

Alternative revenue streams for the media

Finally, with regard to these new sources of income, he highlighted business diversification and the development of new digital businesses. He explained Vocento’s commitment to new themes such as music and gastronomy, as evidenced by the purchase of Madrid Fusion, and also to new profitable digital businesses, such as infoempleo and pisos.com in the area of classifieds, Oferplan in e-commerce or Local Digital Kit in the area of digital services.

Finally, as a teacher and publisher, Bergareche has vindicated the importance of journalism as an industry in the face of “excess fascination” with entrepreneurship models. “We are a key part of a business, social and labor ecosystem, with more than 20 newsrooms and a staff of more than 2,700 people, of which almost 1,200 are journalists, the same number as the New York Times,” he said. “Entrepreneurship brings innovation and dynamism to that ecosystem, and in Spain very interesting entrepreneurial media have emerged, there is room for everyone, but we need large groups to ensure the industrial dimension,” he defended. “In addition, we have an obligation to be profitable every day,” he said.

In this context, and in a country where there are dozens of journalism faculties, he was optimistic about the question from one of the attendees: “The journalism students of today have the responsibility to aspire to create a part of tomorrow’s journalism, and almost anything is possible, but knowing that an important part of tomorrow’s journalism will be the journalism of a lifetime.”

Borja Bergareche, head of innovation projects at Vocento

Borja Bergareche is director of Digital Innovation at Vocento, the most widely distributed daily press group in Spain. He has led the creation of the new Vocento Media Lab and is responsible for driving the company’s digital transformation strategy and innovation projects. A lawyer and journalist, he has been the deputy digital director, London correspondent and the Senior International Editor of the newspaper ABC, and has also written for El Correo (Bilbao), El País and La Nación (Buenos Aires).

At the international level, he is a member of the Advisory Council for Europe of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York, and in 2011 he published “Wikileaks Confidential”, reflecting on the implications of leaks for the press and international diplomacy. In the past he has worked as an advisor for international and constitutional affairs in the European Parliament and the European Commission.

In the academic field, he is a journalism professor at La Universidad CEU San Pablo in Madrid and teaches classes for ABC/Complutense´s master’s degree in Journalism. He has a degree in Law from the University of Deusto (Bilbao) and a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University (New York), with a Fulbright scholarship.

Proa Observatories

The Proa Observatories are stable discussion forums with the participation of prominent executives, politicians and professionals. They are born with the vocation of being a laboratory of ideas where a genuine dialogue is fostered to debate current business issues, as well as corporate reputation, brand and public affairs as important elements for the improvement of companies.

Among the personalities who have participated in these meetings are economist Manuel Conthe; former Minister of Public Administration Jordi Sevilla; former Minister of Education, Culture and Sport José Ignacio Wert; writer and priest Pablo D´Ors; the Director of External Communication of Deloitte, Antonio Belmonte; the Director of Communication and Institutional Relations of El Corte Inglés, José Luis González-Besada, the High Commissioner for the Spanish Brand, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, the writer and journalist Pilar Urbano, and the Director General of Information and Publication Control S.A. Publications. (OJD), Manuel Sala, among others.

Borja Bergareche, Chief Innovation Officer at Vocento, will participate in the next PROA Comunicación Observatory.

Friday, October 26th, a new edition of the Observatorios de PROA Comunicación will be held at Degussa’s headquarters. Borja Bergareche, Chief Innovation Officer at Vocento, will take part in the presentation: ‘Profitable journalism in the era of fake news and Silicon Valley platforms’.

In the era of fake news, the value of information and credibility has acquired a new dimension. The media, in their aim to adapt to the challenges presented by the digital environment, have to look for other formulas to make their contents profitable. Innovation is no longer an option, but an obligation.

Borja Bergareche has led the creation of the new Vocento Media Lab and is responsible for driving the company’s digital transformation strategy and innovation projects. A lawyer and journalist, he has been the deputy digital director, London correspondent and the Senior International Editor of the newspaper ABC, and has also written for El Correo (Bilbao), El País and La Nación (Buenos Aires).

At the international level, he is a member of the Advisory Council for Europe of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in New York, and in 2011 he published “Wikileaks Confidential”, reflecting on the implications of leaks for the press and international diplomacy. In the past he has worked as an advisor for international and constitutional affairs in the European Parliament and the European Commission.

In the academic field, he is a journalism professor at La Universidad CEU San Pablo in Madrid and teaches classes for ABC/Complutense´s master’s degree in Journalism. He has a degree in Law from the University of Deusto (Bilbao) and a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University (New York), with a Fulbright scholarship.

Pilar Urbano at the Proa Observatory: “In the Nóos Case, the ethics of the Royal Household and the impartiality of Justice are under suspicion, only the judge is saved”

“Having the last word does not mean having the truth,” said Pilar Urbano, presenting her book ‘La Pieza 25’, key to understanding the ins and outs of the ‘Nóos case’, but with a certain irony she recommended “not reading the last three pages to avoid falling in melancholy. These are the pages dedicated to the sentence of the magistrates of the Audiencia of Palma, which acquits Infanta Cristina. Urbano started his lecture on ‘State Plot to Save the Infanta’, the central axis of his last book, at the Proa Observatory of Communication, held at Degussa’s headquarters.

For almost an hour, he explored the details of how the work was conceived and how he obtained the enormous amount of information with which he wrote the book. Thus, he said that he spoke with the judges who investigate or have investigated the most mediatic cases of recent years, but in private. None wanted to publish anything, “until I meet with Judge Castro”, José Castro, instructor of the ‘Nóos case’. He acknowledged that he had the aim of addressing him when the case was closed “and he felt free to speak”. After a hundred hours of conversation with the instructor, another 40 hours were added to the anti-corruption prosecutor of Palma, Pedro Horrach and those who were with the UDEF police (Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit) who carried out the searches, tributary agents, defenders , prosecutors, private attorneys and the State. An investigation to which he dedicated three years.

Pilar Urbano was narrating, before an expectant audience and surprised in many moments, how the operation to save Cristina de Borbón is “a plot that originates in the Headquarters of the State” and has its origin in a meeting called by King Juan Carlos in Zarzuela, attended by the then Head of the House of the King, Rafael Spottorno; the President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy; the Minister of Justice, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón; the State Attorney General, Eduardo Torres-Dulce, “and a very important sixth person that I will not name, and who was only a hearing witness”. Hence, according to Urbano, the slogan that “in no way the Infanta can sit as imputed”.

Who carried out the “dirty work”, in the words of the veteran journalist, was the prosecutor Horrach: “I believe that it does it by hierarchical obedience, because it is something that the Fiscal Statute establishes: it fulfills orders that must keep secret”. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand this radical change, from accuser to champion defender, in a person who “has been a mastiff, a relentless persecutor of corruption until that moment”. She revealed that she has the “five pages” in which Horrach writes the ‘operation to save the Infanta’, “whose first point was ‘to shut up Zarzuela and the Government’ …”. “I showed them to Horrach and he recognized that, in effect, that strategic road map to save the Infanta had been written by him on his computer.”

Urbano points to the year 2012 as the turning point in the case. At that time, he explains, Manos Limpias asks for the imputation of Cristina de Borbón, but the judge says he has no reasonable grounds to do so. A short time later, he begins to receive boxes of documents, invoices, emails from the defender of Diego Torres, the former partner of Iñaki Urdangarin. From there, a battery of records is practiced and statements are received from more than three hundred witnesses, and Judge Castro finds between 14 and 20 elements to impute to the Infanta, and warns the accusers of the Prosecutor Horrach and the lawyer of the State in the Balearic Community, Mariángeles Berrocal. The prosecutor opposes, after ‘consultation trip’ to Madrid.

The case becomes, following the narrative of Pilar Urbano, in a kind of thriller in which, in addition to officials of the Ministry of Justice and the Tax Agency or ’emissaries’ of the King’s trust, CNI agents intervene “well corbatados “, hackers that supposedly make disappear the answers of Cristina de Borbón to the mails of her husband …

The speaker also made it very clear that Iñaki Urdangarin had not been received nor would he have obtained so much money from public institutions, nor such substantial counselor positions in private companies, without using the title of his wife, and therefore his membership of the Royal Household. “If Urdangarin pulled the trigger, the smoking revolver was her,” she said, after mentioning the entire sequence of irregularities committed both in the Nóos Institute and the Aizoon company. The explanation that the author of ‘The piece 25’ has for an Infanta of Spain to accept this is “love, she is very, very much in love; he has a very strong self-esteem and she gives him what he wants: a play-station of economic power “.

The acquittal of the Infanta in the case is, for Urbano, “the miracle of Santa Samantha Romero (the magistrate of the Provincial Court of the Balearic Islands who presided over the court that judged the ‘Nóos case’), since, in her opinion, the Infanta entered accused and was acquitted without having dismantled “not a single charge”. As a result, they have also freed Ana Tejeiro, the wife of Diego Torres, “that she left traces,” according to the summary. And all this, seasoned with invitations to prevaricate Judge Castro on the part of the prosecutor Horrach (recorded by the latter!), Or to meet secretly with the defender Miguel Roca, whom Judge Castro did not agree to. “The ethics of the Royal Household and the impartiality of justice are under suspicion, in the Nóos Case. Only the judge is saved, “concluded the speaker.

The Proa Observatories are stable discussion forums that include the participation of prominent executives, politicians and professionals. They are born with the vocation to be a laboratory of ideas where a genuine dialogue is encouraged to discuss current business issues, as well as corporate reputation, brand and public issues as important elements for the improvement of companies.

Among the personalities that have participated in these meetings include the economist Manuel Conthe; the former Minister of Public Administration Jordi Sevilla; the former Minister of Education, Culture and Sport José Ignacio Wert; the writer and priest Pablo D’Ors; the Director of External Communication of Deloitte, Antonio Belmonte; the Director of Communication and Institutional Relations of El Corte Inglés, José Luis González-Besada, and the High Commissioner for the Spain Brand, Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros, among others.

Ben Kendall highlights the importance of corporate storytelling at the Proa Communication Observatories

Last Thursday, April 26, a new edition of the Observatorio Proa de la Comunicación was held, which was presented by Ben Kendall (CEO of Warren Films): ‘The storytelling in corporate management’. “Storytelling is prevailing in the business environment in response to the fact that we live in the economy of attention and meaning. That is, we have created a world that constantly emits messages that we can not assume in its entirety. We only stay with those who bring meaning to our lives. Therefore, get the attention of our interlocutors is a treasure to conquer by those who want to get their messages and proposals of value, “he said. Read more

Pilar Urbano will participate in the Proa Observatory of Communication: “State plot to save the Infanta.”

Next Thursday, May 24 at 9:00 a.m. in the Degussa headquarters (c / Velazquez 2), a new edition of the Proa Observatory of Communication will be held. On this occasion, Pilar Urbano will intervene with her dissertation: ‘State Plot to Save the Infanta’, the core of her latest book, ‘La pieza 25’. Read more