An interview with Zouhir Louassin

Interview with: Zouhir Louassini, Journalist at Rainews 24, Italy

Interviewd by: Marco Di Donato Researcher at UNIMED, Italy

Summary:

1. Challenges of current journalism education: What is problematic in teaching digital journalism?

  • The world is changing, and in this sense, journalism and journalists have to change accordingly. Using new technology does not automatically mean doing journalism.
  • We have to rethink this job in a different way; however, new instruments are not sufficient. What about militant journalism, which has increased with these new technologies?
  • We are at the beginning of this new process, coming back to original rules and not forgetting the basis of this job. Twitter and Facebook are only tools.

2. Developing journalism education: What would be the ideal model for teaching digital journalism? How do we develop teaching in that direction?

  • I consider fundamental the following requirements:
    1 – Be able to analyse the news
    2 – Be reliable
    3 – Be able to expose facts
    4 – Show the people the “facts” according to the sources used and always show different points of views in a reliable manner
    5 – Be honest and do not manipulate videos and images
  • Those five points are the basis, regardless of any kind of technological Instruments.

3. Combining practice and theory: What kind of new forms could be developed in order to teach both practical skills and a theoretical understanding of journalism?

  • We have to stress ethics and a reliance on facts. Ethics is the basis for everything. We have to remember that journalism works only as a counterbalance to power. Doing it differently will never work. The rest is minor detail. Coming back to our origins, in teaching, we can also live through the current economic crisis, giving new life to this job.
  • In any case, the preparation required in these days is much more complex and detailed than in the past. I think we have to further specialise in our teaching and competence, looking at quality instruction for quality professionals. There is no other choice for the future.

4. Local market needs: How is journalism education able to meet the needs of the journalistic labour market? In what way can this be improved?

  • These days, many journalists are playing a strange role by showing people what they want, rather than the truth. According to this idea, it is easier to show people stereotypes and standard images of reality instead of providing a deeper analysis of the situation.
  • For example, some newspapers try to sell books with a very racist point of view only because they think that they can sell more and more copies. They are following the money. It is an easy game. This situation is also caused by the current economic crisis.
  • At this moment, journalism is in crisis, because they are trying to sell something which is not journalism.

5. Interacting with the audience: How to teach social media skills? How to include content created by the audience? How to involve the audience in journalistic work?

  • Social networks are contributing to the creation of confusion, not differentiating between the truth, quoting facts and using reliable sources, and opinions. Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, competition has increased. These days, facts are chasing users, and not the opposite.