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In question

Edition #26

Uwe-Heitkamp Editor & Director

Nowadays, journalists should know that we are facing a profound crisis. This crisis can only be overcome if we properly inform our readers, writing stories that convey basic truths. We need success stories with answers — or ones that search for answers – to address the pressing questions of our times. We need well-told stories, ones that consider reality in its entirety, and present a coherent vision. That’s why we haven’t interviewed António Costa yet. Not yet.

That which is abstract, we must make comprehensible. It is not enough to talk about electric cars and airplanes — we must delve into the causes and effects of such matters, and write about them. If, as journalists, we are aware of how the idea of economic growth and laissez-faire has led us to a dead end, we must reconsider how we describe these concepts, how we research them, and how we challenge them. We must find a solution to these dead ends and publicise it, seeking alternative ways of thinking.

But beware: this is not possible in an atmosphere marked by stress and a lack of time, with the media caught up in chasing today’s hot topics — and, for that matter, who decides what is printed and published? Instead, we have to create another working environment, an environment that gives us time to think and to orient ourselves, allowing us to find a way out. Will we have to go back to square one? No, but we have to go back to the point at which we chose the wrong way forward. Where might it have been?

This rethink would also require journalists to know how to confront and question their own work. And do we know? I have my doubts. If this were the case, renowned weeklies like Expresso, magazines like Visão and newspapers like O Público — even the news on television — would select their stories in another way, and tell them with different principles in mind, to another end. If only they could.

It is progress at any price that prevents us from finding the right answers to the fundamental questions of our times. What prevents us, journalists, from working more thoughtfully? What prevents us from choosing the right subjects, asking the right questions, and thus contributing to a better and more comprehensive flow of information — for our readers and our viewers — so that a new direction can be found?

Human beings have in themselves a dangerous potential to damage — or even destroy for good — that which is necessary for survival. We can choose this path, or we can care for and maintain our environment. How can we preserve the climate, or indeed listen to our children and students when they ask us questions about their future? What can we do when they express their doubts, their anxieties, their fears, their concerns … and their demands?

Serious journalism should give a voice to those who are not accustomed to speaking in front of five microphones at once. Let us give due attention to the most important subject of our era, and showcase the diversity of faces and voices involved with the issue of climate change. What we need now is an informed and enlightened public, and courageous journalists willing to work towards this goal.

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