Ex-director of El Mundo David Jiménez said that “the future of journalism is to be ethical, moral, rigorous and high quality” during an observatory held at Proa Comunicación on Wednesday, March 4. After making a quick review of his professional career, from his entrance in El Mundo as a scholarship holder to his controversial arrival to management after working as a correspondent for almost two decades in Southeast Asia, he defended that “journalism is always going to be necessary, because people need to know the things that affect them”.
A statement that the former editor of El Mundo “during 366 covers” considered more important today than ever because of the return of authoritarianism and the increase in the degree of manipulation. “The lie is winning and we need journalism to make the truth win again,” he added. But in order for the media, the support of journalism, to survive they need to “reinforce their brand, bet on quality and independence and then create a subscription system,” given that for years “they cannot survive on advertising. As a way of financing them, he also expressed his doubts about payment walls, which he considered to end up limiting access to information “to the elites”.
Regarding the contribution of communication agencies to this ethical, rigorous and quality journalism, he considered their role as advisors to their clients very important “to prevent them from falling into immorality”.
Most of David Jiménez’s presentation focused on his time as a director, a position he reached, surprisingly even for himself, after finishing his time as a correspondent in Asia and after obtaining a Nieman scholarship at Harvard University, where he trained for a year in journalistic projects of digital transformation. A period recounted in detail in his controversial book ‘The Director’, in which he unravels the intricate relations between the media and the upper echelons of political and economic power, “a corrupt system in which the wall that should exist between the two has been torn down”, in his words.
The experience, which lasted only a third of the time “because of pressure from inside and outside the company”, began badly from day one, when the security guard did not want to let him into the newspaper’s headquarters because he did not know him. Despite the illusion with which he arrived, “believing the promise that I would be given means, time and money,” from the beginning there was a “train crash between the reporter and the world of the managers who were receiving generous bonuses and had ruined the company, which they supported with political and economic favours. It was also a time when the most painful part was “dealing with the newsroom,” where he was put in front of an ERE six months after landing, where he tried to keep his promise to be faithful to journalists and readers, and where he was aware that “you are digging your own grave when you oppose the decisions of your bosses. But “the courage to say that it is not a requirement of journalism, even knowing that you are going to lose,” he said.