This month on the blog, we introduce you to a passionate journalist who breathes life into current affairs. Yannis takes us on a journey through his professional adventures, even before his career officially began. While our conversation delves into his personal journey, it also immerses us in the intricacies of the journalism profession, which constantly seeks to offer a unique perspective on the world and captivate curious minds.
Assigned for once to the role of the interviewee, Yannis opens a window into the world he explores with inexhaustible curiosity.
The beginnings of a calling
Yannis' passion for journalism dates back to his adolescence. He shares, "My parents were loyal readers of 'Le Républicain Lorrain.' While perusing the pages of the newspaper, I began to pay attention to the small bylines that read 'written by...'. The ambition to see my name in a media next to my own articles sowed the first seeds." His interest in current affairs, politics, international relations, as well as his love for travel and the French language, later solidified his career choice.
After several years of education and internships, Yannis appreciates the diversity of his profession. Today, he works at L’Essentiel, the media that symbolically offered him his first internship opportunity. He highlights the kindness of the team and the wealth of knowledge he has gained there. Driven by an insatiable thirst for knowledge, he is motivated by the constant challenge of staying informed and the privilege of meeting inspiring individuals from around the world.
A key role in information transmission
"In today's world, when someone reads a newspaper, they don't want to find the same information they saw on social media the day before."
Over his ten years in journalism, he has witnessed the evolution of the profession. The ubiquity of social media has inevitably affected the work of journalists, requiring them to offer a fresh perspective and creative angles to stand out amidst the vast amount of information already available online. He emphasizes that fact-checking and cross-referencing sources are among the main pillars of journalism, distinguishing official media from emerging information on social platforms.
Yannis states, "Journalists must gather, verify, prioritize, and make information accessible to the public while providing them with the keys to understand the world around them. In times of crisis, this responsibility grows as people seek reliable answers."
Authenticity behind preconceptions
Yannis acknowledges that the profession of a journalist, like many others, is sometimes subject to romanticized notions by the general public. "The most common clichés are that journalists are constantly traveling, but the reality is different, and not everyone is a 'special envoy’," he admits. While Yannis has had the privilege of traveling and discovering many countries through his work, this is not the case for everyone.
He adds, "Of course, a journalist can spend some time in the field. But unless they're a war reporter, the majority of the time is spent in the newsroom, in front of our screens, or on the phone. Another misconception is that journalists work for governments. This is not true in democracies."
When challenge becomes daily routine
Unsurprisingly, a journalist selects the subjects they cover based on current events, the editorial stance of the media, and their specialization - for specialized journalists.
"Every day, the team immerses itself in the news and prepares for the editorial meeting where topics are discussed and angles are defined in collaboration with other journalists and the editor-in-chief. Each day is a crucial step in building a newspaper edition."
To move forward, one must ensure staying constantly informed. Information must be of high quality and reliability, even in emergency situations. Yannis details, "Social media require us to be very responsive and provide information almost instantaneously." The close collaboration between responsiveness and caution is crucial. He concludes, "This constant pressure requires great rigor and attention to detail, because inaccurate information can have significant consequences for readers and the image of the media we represent."
A delicate balance between ethics and neutrality
The newspaper L’Essentiel, where Yannis works, defines itself as an independent media without political bias. "We must focus on facts and present information without taking a position. That's our role." This role is even more critical during media coverage of sensitive subjects or events, Yannis explains.
"Beyond presenting the facts, our neutrality also implies not influencing readers in favor of a particular position, regardless of our personal opinions, which should never transpire in our work. Journalists have a mission to provide objective and balanced information, allowing readers to form their own opinion."
Yannis believes that curiosity, open-mindedness, and sociability are key skills for successfully carrying out his work. While some skills are indispensable, certain values are equally as important. "There must be rigor in information processing, ethics in journalistic work, and humility because there is always something new to learn," he adds.
Yannis finally points out that artificial intelligence, while not disruptive at the moment, could influence the future of journalism. However, he is convinced that human beings and their sensitivity will always distinguish journalists from machines. "Artificial intelligence is not yet capable of conducting field reporting!" he quips.
The journalism profession, therefore, still has bright days ahead. Through Yannis's story, we discover the fascinating facets of a constantly evolving profession where passion and integrity are at the heart of every article. With ten years of experience, he finds value in the diversity of his work, humbly acknowledging that he still has many stories to cover and discover.
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