The monthly magazine Science and life it has just seen most of its headline journalists resign in protest against the policies of its new shareholder, Reworld.
It has become, in the eyes of economist Julia Cagé, a Sciences Po professor, a classic case of what she calls “ journalism without journalists “At the beginning of this week, this popular scientific magazine that is more than a hundred years old, since it was born in 1913, saw the resignation of nine of its journalists -five headlines and four freelancers-, a very important part of the editorial board that now has eight journalists, including the publisher.
Many reasons are given since the acquisition of Science and Life, in 2019, by Reworld Media. First, the downsizing, but also a senior management and editorial team with no scientific experience, the use of non-journalistic content managers or outside agencies for special topics.
Reworld is a group with great experience in the Internet, but it does not hesitate to highlight content and not others with purely commercial criteria, based on the commercial performance of the links. In addition, its profitability increased even more in 2020. For this, there is no need for journalists or independence, especially on the web where the famous content managers work.
“You have to live with the times”
The press card and the rights of conscience associated with it are a thing of the past, according to Pascal Chevalier, director of Reworld. The press card? “ It’s over, you have to live with the times He told CB News in February. Writing of Science and Life, sees its workforce reduced: 29 journalists at the time of acquisition, 19 a year later, 8 today. When it bought eight Lagardère titles in 2014, Reworld increased its editorial team from 150 to 9 journalists.
The shareholder can make money, but the information, mainly scientific, loses. Bored in these times of health crisis. Suddenly, to guarantee the information that is, remember, a “ good hearing », Julia Cagé proposes to condition public aid to the press, from which Reworld benefits, for example, VAT or advantageous postal rates, to the hiring of journalists.
The truth is that we cannot let the Internet user referee alone. Since the beginning of April, European data protection regulations require them to give them the option on screen, when they arrive at a website, between accepting or rejecting advertisements. If you do not agree with the policy of a newspaper editor, will the Internet user refuse to validate an advertising model? Well, this is unlikely. In addition, Reworld will still be able to offer branded content that is not exactly advertising.