The future of reporting is changing – and Google wants to help.
In recent years there has been a seismic shift in the way news is reported, with social media being one of the main areas to come under criticism. For the first time at Visa pour l’Image, Google has sent along its experts to meet directly with photographers, and find out precisely how to reconcile technology with journalism.
Joining moderator Vincent Jolly on stage at the l’Auditorium Charles Trénet in Perpignan’s Palais des Congrès was David Dieudonné (News Lab Lead, Google France), along with photojournalists Aris Messinis (AFP), Andrew Quilty (Agence VU’) and Pierre Terdjman (co-founder, Dysturb). When asked what could Google do to make life easier for a photojournalist, the replies were fascinating.
Andrew Quilty drew attention to the importance of accurate and up-to-date information, stating: “Mapping is a really useful tool, allowing me to check the status of roads via satellite imagery, for example. But more importantly, verifying information is where we need the biggest help. Google News Lab could help identify sources of information and lead in fact checking.”
Google’s David Dieudonné responded by saying: “Most tools developed by Google are based around the needs of end users. I’ve participated in Reporters Without Borders workshops and I have seen that for myself that freelance journalists are more exposed and vulnerable.”
Picking up on this point, Pierre Terdjman commented: “Wikipedia is not reliable as we don’t know who wrote the information.” Adding to this point, Aris Messinis said: “Google can help in the field by giving us a database of shared information that is secure and verified. Information that is too sensitive for social media could be readily shared on Google News Lab.”
He continued: “GPS can help too. For instance, it would be great to have an app for a smartphone that you could activate when kidnapped.”
Responding, Pierre Terdjman said: “Magazines and TV stations have insurance and often give their regulars a tracker. But it’s not exactly discreet; people can see it as soon as they open up your bag and it looks like a piece of military hardware and they automatically think you are a spy. So to have an app on a mobile, or even a USB stick that could send a signal, would be really good and genuinely useful.”
“We have succeeded by putting the reader at the heart of the editorial choices they make,” said Google’s David Dieudonné, but now we need to learn while we are here on how we can best support a journalist in the field.”
The free-flowing and active debate was both enlightening and positive. To have one of the world’s biggest media players at Visa pour l’Image further demonstrates the importance of the festival to a much wider – and equally well-connected – audience.