Our own agenda

A few years ago, the bulk of news content of the traditional media came from official sources and international news agencies, which largely prevented newspapers from standing for themselves in regards of their daily goals.

The external agenda conditioned the news coverage, because the norm was to assign the journalist one or more “informative sources”, usually biased by official propaganda, and make they depend on the harvest of daily notes.

That model left little room for in-depth research, for exploring alternative or unofficial sources, for the production of reports that would make a difference, and for registering the unknown angles of relevant stories.

Except for the coverage of news or eventualities, the rest of the pages were a reflection of the abundant information provided by different institutions or agencies. To break that vicious circle, especially in this digital age, newspapers now take the decisive role over their own agendas.

One era was exhausted. Now that the digital platforms, with millions of users, constitute the living source of news and provide elements and hints that go beyond simply what happened. Traditional media are forced to reformulate their search patterns by betting on what we call the “agenda of oneself”.

It consists of planning “in situ”, in the newsrooms how to figure the best search options, following closely the hints offered by the digital media sites and, specially, by the users of these networks, taking the temperature of their interests and preferences.

Far from being subordinated to what these preferences suggest, newspapers go farther when producing research, analysis and reports that describe the reality of what’s happening, as the rules of professional journalism enforce. More than anything, it strives to find answers to the very causes of the news events and anticipate, as far as possible, their consequences.

The niches of readers allow them to discover the topics that attract the most attention, so that journalists can follow them up and add new ways of formatting such stories on their digital sites, trying to maintain the loyalty of the audience and, of course, monetizing this impressive flow of readers through systems of subscriptions or payment models based on high-quality news and in-depth investigations.

It could be said that, under these realities, journalism sees itself enriched because it’s more challenging to demonstrate that although it no longer monopolizes the news, at least it still provides properly purified and refined information, checked and processed with plenty of rigor and quality, thus avoiding the falsehoods and manipulations that undermine the reliability of other platforms.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.