The poshs ended journalism
Sep 23, 2022
A text written by Maria Zambra in the Spanish media Letras Libres and that explains very well from within the current situation of conflict journalism.
As a Spanish photojournalist, I often encounter the situation in this text by Maria Zambrano. Dad's children with selfies sticks wanting to live the experience of being a war journalist. With no honesty when it comes to telling the news (inventing the facts, misrepresenting them, endangering their own local fixers, etc.) these people ALMOST have destroyed the trade based on selfies. Great article!
"I don't know how he didn't realize. It was the posh. Also the free news on the net, the adjustments in the newsrooms, the corruption of the union, the indecency of the managers with bulky salaries, the ambition of the selfie, the banality. To believe that posterity is to risk life by putting your name in an article.
Cihangir is a gentrified neighborhood of Istanbul where Turkish hipsters come to do the tournée du grand duc. They are so pretentious that there is even a television comedy dedicated to them. There are very expensive cocktail bars that cache Dolce Far Niente. Cihangir correspondents ignore that they live in that comedy. They tweet what happens on the Syrian front from here, one thousand two hundred kilometers away. We have a young woman who has just landed from London, poses on Instagram from one of the French terraces in the neighborhood, laptop on the table, daiquiri in hand. Report on the tragic situation in Syria. Anonymous agencies do the job, she puts the name. Selfies are also taken in yoga classes, as any journalist with credibility should do today. She has just become an expert in Syria because she is in all WhatsApp groups with Syrian sources we are all in, like about a hundred journalists from here to London. Without stepping on Syria. On Twitter, she is so compassionate that she shares all the photos of scorched and quartered children in Aleppo. Indignation. He has already been on TV, and has done a live on Facebook, with the staff expert, forty years of experience, which is resigned from Washington with the schoolgirl.
He has tweeted that his Turk is so precarious that instead of a moruno skewer they have brought him a fish at home. And everyone loves it and retweets it. They really love it. It's very funny and close that he doesn't speak the local language. Because it doesn't matter if you speak Turkish or Arabic. Simply publish the photo of the mustium fish that shows that you are in the place of the facts. Activists and experts on that side of the conflict love it, because whatever they seep reaches their twenty-five thousand followers in a matter of seconds. She knows that this may be the next Christiane Amanpour: she is on the side of truth, of the good. After all, we all depend on our sources on this side of the conflict.
Knowing what your journal pays per article, it is difficult to explain how it survives. Neither she nor the hundreds of foreign journalists living in Cihangir and the rest of the chaotic and overcrowded Istanbul. Nor is it explained in Beirut or Erbil, even more expensive, and from where these horrors of the Middle East are covered, which are now being ported again.
In four years here, I don't explain it to me either. Nobody receives a salary. I have a colleague who has made a video a year since 2012, but there are nights that are cut with twenty beers that cost five euros each, for the Islamist rates of Erdogan. At least he speaks Turkish. We all suspect that the family supports him, his father is a journalist and he has a salary from those before in America. The conspiranoic Syrians we work with believe that he is a spy, which he could be, because today the secret services also depend on poorly paid freelancers, so is regional policy. Pretending to be a spy is a worthy exit, the James Bond of Arabia. Some drop it in the secret Facebook groups where a thousand journalists share the same information. "I know what happened, send me a private." In fact, censorship or deportation are cause for glory: at least someone reads what we write. I have colleagues who repeat in each meeting the only detention or interrogation they have suffered in years, as if that were not part of the trade. Before accusations of espionage we must respond with silent nod, lost look, beer in hand, keeping the mystery.
Another newly licensed youngster has finally started posting in some serious medium, after a year uploading photos of Cihangir's cats on Instagram. No one knows how he has achieved it. She says she is an expert on refugees, we all know she has no idea, but publishes. With two articles a year in Newsweek nobody survives in Istanbul. He has an oxygenated bangs and makes selfies in Lesbos with his jaw high. He is happy to be a direct witness of history. And is willing to pay the price. A room in a shared apartment in Cihangir costs about five hundred euros. The tour operator of horror from a safe distance. They are so convincing that my family and friends believe that I am covering wars in Istanbul.
An international agency hired a girl a few years ago, had no experience, in fact there was a candidate better prepared than her, but had family, children. The chief of staff asked if he was a pija, if they could pay him half. The answer was yes, his family had bought him an apartment in the Bosphorus, rental savings. For several years he was unable to do the work that was stated in your contract. But it was cheap and I thought the agency was going to give it a name. He was offended to show his talents on the screen. The substitute will not be paid more, even if he is a professional. The other sold for nothing. Nothing is now the price. Everything that the internet offers for free has ceased to be business: music, cinema and journalism.
They arrived as Erasmus in a rave party. They covered at the border, when it was still cheap and one could enter Syria with the factions that were then prodemocratic and today are Salafists, the good guys. They had fled in Libya, learning to differentiate a tear attack from a shooting. Some went to the front in sandals, others borrowed money or took wedding photos to cover expenses. Another option is to sleep with the translator after one night at Liza Minnelli at the cabaret in Antioquia, you save a paste. They taught me that this is not very professional, but journalism is done today: your lover translates you to the local head of Al Qaeda and you explain in your blog what ovaries you have when you take off your hijab in their noses and dip an ice cream. Wild. So you can end up publishing in the Times, although we never quite understood what the interviewee's message was.
What to say about the slaughtered. They did not expect the fame they were going to achieve. Of course they were brave and committed, they sent good material, they are in our hearts. But they bought their news because they were cheap, they were already there, there was no need to pay travel expenses, insurance or pensions. They didn't pay the two hundred or three hundred euros a day that a translator or a faction that protects you on the front costs. It was more profitable to sell them to ninjas. What journalist charges that today? And who remembers them today? Tell me two names and I climb the minaret of the Blue Mosque. They died of precariousness. Let's calculate the bailouts that have been paid by the survivors and what it would cost to invest in quality security and journalism.
Before the wars were covered with means, so Hemingway was cut to expenses paid from Saigon to Havana. Today nobody remembers their toppings, but their last name gives name to many cocktails. No one kidnaps journalists whose companies pay for their safety. Our publishers have not let us enter Syria for years, in case something happens to us. In fact, if we don't do a security workshop that finances an NGO for poor journalists, they don't even let us near the border, the insurers demand it. So we all live on what activists post on Twitter from Aleppo, unable to confirm anything. We live with delusional lies and people who do business with war. What can you expect after almost six years of war, hippies? Billions have been invested in the propaganda offered by our sources: activists, experts and consultants. We are easier to manipulate than ever. You hold on to the victims, the dead can't lie.
A solid professional with knowledge, military training and several languages may demand. But now enough with several selfies and a periscope. Four thousand followers at once. How do you charge that? Remember that millennium survey: young people want to be journalists for fame, for money or for vocation. It's still like that, it's ridiculous. Some families can finance it, for a while. Until they ask their offspring if they are going to devote themselves to something serious in life.
For more than fifteen years, I have seen some scholars in Beijing finish their assignment: they went to the office of the head of delegation and asked for a visa guarantee in the country in exchange for working for free. She was happy, people working for free, great. I told them that this was not ethical, that there were people who lived from this profession and had children. But they thought she was a crazy unionist who had to be avoided.
I had been running away from it for years, that's why I went to China. I thought no one would be so desperate to learn a hellish language. But no. As soon as China became "history" we began to receive waves of nephews and dilettantes. More Hemingways, more Amanpours. They asked how Hu Jintao was spelled and if Hu was the first or last name. Some colleagues also used their Chinese girlfriends in Beijing as free translators. In fact, China can be perfectly covered from a beach in Phuket, and some did very well as well.
The intelligent scholars of that time no longer do journalism. They are engaged in serious, well-paid trades. Vocations continue to work, not always on this. A friend whose decades in the front have left his nicked smile confesses to me that he can pay for vacations because he films commercials for companies and for people in Senegal. He is an artist, not everyone has his talent."
Los pijos acabaron con el periodismo
No sé cómo no se dio cuenta. Fueron los pijos. También las noticias gratis en la red, los ajustes en las redacciones, la corrupción del sindicato, la indecencia de los directivos con abultados sueldos, la ambición de la selfie, la bana