Journalism have never (ever) been one of those “well paid jobs”. Or at least, not in some countries. Now, using the “economic crisis” justification, several media are reducing their firing their staff. These jobs rechentrements” are having a twofold negative effect: more unemployment and worst information quality.
Spain is one of the latter cases. The current situation is harming Spanish media and information quality. El País, one of the main, and most important, newspapers is making a Expediente de Regulación de Empleo, a Spanish legal term referring to fire staff. While journalists are striking against this process, the company is supporting itself arguing that they do need to cut expenses and this is the only way they have . Controversy aside, I propose a way to only cutting some office costs but also that it is going to be better for the media and it is going to encourage transparency and democracy.
Dear Media managers: SWITCH TO FREE SOFTWARE & OPEN SOURCE
- To cut expenses: Media business man care, mainly, about their profit . Although pens and notebooks are being changed to computers, there is no need to have the last distribution of a proprietary software, in most of the cases the only tool needed is a text writer. But, in cases of producing videos, radio slots.. there are also Open Source alternatives as efficient (or even better) as the proprietary ones. What does it mean? That there is no need to renew licenses and to buy expensive software.
- Transparency & data control: Are not journalists (note I am saying “journalists” and not “media”) fighting pro democracy, transparency and a better world? Is not their role to inform our society? So, why are they using which is not allowing them to control their data? For journalists, controlling their data and being able to send encrypted mails is an important issue not only when fighting against dictatorships but also to avoid leaks and to protect their sources.
- Understanding the tool: Digital society is more than a bunch of social media. Our society needs to be educated and informed about how computers work to get a better understanding of our world. Therefore, journalists should understand these tools to be able to inform the public. The best way to do it is by using these tools. Free Software & Open Source allows you to dig into the software, to understand its processes and how it works. And even more: it allows you to modify it according to your needs.
- Promoting innovation and creativity: Everything you need is already invented. And if not, it will be created soon if we promote innovation. As I stated above, there a lot of different applications and software of which journalists can take advantage. They can be adapted to their specific needs and by using them, they will be promoting innovation too.
- Open Standards:in a world more and more global in which freelance journalism and informing from different parts of the world is a daily issue, it is important to have open standards. It will make journalists tasks easier as they will be sure that their articles are news are going to be able to be open by the addressee. They will be able to work worldwide without the need of carrying an specific software with them.
 El País journalists are complaining that people are being fired while the newspaper business man salaries are too high. They state that, instead of a job retrenchment the newspaper directives should reduce their salaries instead.
They might believe in “journalists ideals and dreams” (inform our society, fight pro Human Rights and for democracy… ) but their main aim is to seek profit which, most of the time, is in conflict with these previous values and principles.