In December 2021, we launched the project European Press Future, an initiative designed to bring excellent journalists right where this profession needs to be, to shape its own future: schools.
Sometimes it is tempting to take journalism for granted. The world news comes to us – via paper, pixels, or sound waves – and it will always do. The term journalism then overlaps with another, information, which we gather at need, whenever we want, the only important thing being its functionality, its purpose, and that it fits our daily routine.
Journalists, therefore, appear to us like that strange breed of individuals that give us information, and they are almost like a means to an end. In the buzz of the info-noise, headlines guide our gaze, and news comes in small chunks, never mind the names of the authors.
Behind quality news, there is always one – or often more – good journalist
But have we ever considered that the fact a piece is signed means a professional worked on it?
Someone put their time and skills at the service of the public, to provide us with information useful to make sense of our reality. Behind good news, there is good journalism, which is made by thousands, hundreds of thousands of professionals.
These people learned journalism. They became journalists studying in a journalism school, or starting with a small role in a newspaper and working their way in – and up. Either way, each and every one of them was exposed to good journalism and had to be in close contact with excellent professionals to become one as well.
This is why the project European Press Future was born.
Right there where journalism blossoms
The European Press Prize brings together, every year, a new group of talented journalists whose pieces or projects were shortlisted for our yearly award. They become our laureates, and join ranks with their predecessors – we are approaching our first 10-year anniversary.
This dwell of knowledge, we want to share. That is why we decided to connect our nominees and winners with universities and journalism schools, for a series of guest lectures that took the name of European Press Future.
“If journalism was an animal, it would be a fish, that needs to keep moving to keep thriving. What matters, then, is the direction it will take.”
We believe journalism needs to be brought to the young generations, to meet them in the space where everything begins: the schools. In this particular case, it will be high education institutes, either journalism schools or academia, but it could also be high schools, in the future.
We are talking about exposing students to great pieces of journalism. For example, investigations that shed light on issues that are crucial for Europe, such as Ottavia Spaggiari’s ‘Escape: the woman who brought her trafficker to justice.’ In December, she spoke about her idea of journalism with the Students of Sapienza University, in Rome, de facto inaugurating the project we are talking about.
We want to figure out where journalism is going, working together with the new generations of passionate professionals that will shape its course. We want them to ask – and be asked – tough questions because that is the only way journalism can become stronger and remain relevant for the many audiences that need it.
In the upcoming months, we will organize guest lectures in Italy, France, Belgium, and more. Our Laureates will team up with professors and trainers, and tell their stories. They will explain why they picked a certain topic, how they got there, how the investigation proceeded, or the project unfolded. Lessons can be drawn from every piece, and this will allow the students that will attend the lectures to build an idea of journalism and reflect on what being a journalist means. Not all of them will become journalists, but we hope that we will help them form an idea of what quality and dedication are, in this field.
Our laureates will talk about data, investigations, slow news, neutrality, opinion. And about what innovation and evolution are, in a field that lately has been a victim of the times, having to reshape itself to respond to the advent of the Internet and of new ways of digesting the news.
Journalism needs to keep moving, to stay relevant
If journalism was an animal, it would be a fish, that needs to keep moving to keep thriving. What matters, then, is the direction it will take.
At the European Press Prize, we want to be at the forefront of international journalism, supporting it and helping it – and every good journalist – to grow stronger and point in the right direction. We hope that with this new project, the European Press Future, we will do exactly that, enticing new generations of journalists, explaining to young students what journalism is.
And, in doing so, we will give a face to the skilled professionals that sign all the important stories that we award every year, and that shape our society.
Click here to watch the lecture with Ottavia Spaggiari at the Sapienza University of Rome.