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the role of journalists on franceinfo

6,500 people improvised in the midst of a pandemic an unauthorized carnival, rue de la Canebière in Marseille, on Saturday March 21, 2021. Listeners shocked by the reports broadcast on franceinfo but the mission of this media is to inform, not to encourage the promotion of unauthorized events. (Illustration) (CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP)

Listeners regularly ask us their questions about editorial choices on franceinfo. To answer them, Emmanuelle Daviet, mediator of the Antennas of Radio France, receives Matthieu Mondoloni, deputy editor of franceinfo. Today, the question of reports on recent unauthorized parties, especially in Marseille, with the gathering of 6,500 people, during an improvised carnival.

Listeners were shocked by a report they heard last Sunday, said Emmanuelle Daviet. Here is a message: “Scandalous, this report on a group of thirtysomethings partying and defying government directives on a Saturday night, it is no longer news, it is encouragement of civil disobedience and it deserves to be sanctioned . What are journalists looking for? To make a little more mess in society? ”

And then another listener estimates “that it is about a report pushes to the crime”. And this listener does not understand that we can broadcast “this horror when every day, nearly 400 people die from Covid in France.”

Emmanuelle Daviet: Matthieu Mondoloni, is there probably some light to be shed on the mission of informing journalists?

Matthieu Mondoloni: Exactly. So indeed, we did this report. It is not at all a question of highlighting practices, or in any case of promoting them, but quite simply of being able to inform about things that are happening. And in this case, there are indeed young people who party anyway, despite the restrictions, despite government requests. It also helps to illustrate sometimes a certain fed up in the population to show that everyone does not follow the instructions, because it has been going on for a year, because some are struggling.

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And that obviously does not mean that we ourselves as journalists subscribe to these practices. As proof, we also covered the Wild Carnival in Marseille, which took place that same day. We talked about it a lot, but because there too, it was a fact of information. 6,500 people in the streets of Marseille who marched without a mask. This is information that allows us, again, to say: be careful, indeed, some people no longer support the restrictions. It is necessary to talk about it.

Emmanuelle Daviet: We continue with this listener who is surprised that journalists do not take sides when they observe Parisians leaving the capital last weekend. Here is a message: “No reaction to the actions of Parisians who are fleeing confinement and taking refuge in the provinces. They have no complex in going to spread the virus in the less affected departments. I am shocked that we let it happen and that you talk about it without any critical sense.”

Is there not, in this remark also a confusion on the role of journalists?

Matthieu Mondoloni: Indeed, because our role is obviously not to take sides. This is what we explained just before, neither for one camp, nor for the other. To simplify things a little, on the contrary, we are observers. So we report on a situation, and moreover, that same weekend, we broadcast other reports with people, for example on the Normandy coast, who were very angry to see the arrival of Parisians. . They took sides, defended their point of view, but we are only observers.

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We give an account of the thing and afterwards, we obviously balance that. We also have guests on the air who will be able to say how irresponsible it is to leave the Parisian capital, others who will defend them. But we are once again reporting a situation.

Emmanuelle Daviet: The role of journalists is indeed to be factual. Throughout the month of March, in association with the Conference of Schools of Journalism, you gave the floor to students with the Young Reporters Club.

On this subject, one listener writes: “Great idea to give the air to journalism students to show listeners the quality and time of their work. For these students, it’s a great experience to put on their CV. But a downside to the commentator’s commentary evoking the opportunity for these young people to speak about their generation. I do not agree “, this listener writes to us. “A student or confirmed journalist talks about all subjects. It is a current problem to want to compartmentalize everything. However, it is important not to stay in your community. This is the very big fault of social networks. Radio and the TV are there precisely to open the public to other communities of ideas or social communities. ”

Matthieu Mondoloni, what do you say to this listener? What is your assessment of this “club of young reporters”?

Matthieu Mondoloni: So first, I’ll say he’s absolutely right. It is not at all to compartmentalize or lock people into categories. Moreover, the journalism students – I myself am a teacher in school – they are made to do very different subjects and they report on society in a much broader way than the only subjects which concern them.

After us, we actually had an angle, with this club of young reporters, was that these journalism students, who are also students and not only future journalists, could talk about the situation of students, but young people in a way. more general, since they are at the heart of the concerns of these young people, precisely. We thought it was very important to be able to give them a voice since they themselves are immersed in this environment and therefore for the record of this club of young reporters, it is a very satisfactory record.

As I speak, we have broadcast 42 reports from 14 schools recognized by the profession, grouped together in the Conference of Schools of Journalism. And then, we will also reward a winner with a prize from the Young Reporters Club. There will be a jury that will assemble. Each school will propose one of its candidates, the best report that has been broadcast on our antenna. And then, afterwards, a jury made up of journalists from the editorial staff of franceinfo will decide the winner of this prize who will have the chance to come and spend two months with us.

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