On its 20th anniversary, journalists praise Catalan News Agency as ‘necessary’
Director Marc Colomer stresses "independence," "political plurality," and "neutrality" as ACN’s leading values
Leading journalists in Catalonia have praised the work of the Catalan News Agency (ACN) as "necessary" in the ceremony bringing the celebration of its 20th anniversary to a close.
Founded in 1999, ACN has since developed into a multimedia news agency with 66 journalists reporting from across Catalonia, with delegations in Madrid and Brussels, providing content to dozens of news outlets. It has also created its own news outlet for the English-speaking public: Catalan News.
"We’re committed to continuing our work with the maximum independence and political plurality, the will to project Catalonia abroad, neutrality and rigor," said ACN’s director, Marc Colomer.
"Any mistake can undermine your work. Credibility is hard to earn, and easy to lose"
Lídia Heredia · Journalist
The agency organized a roundtable at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University to discuss the situation of news agencies, inviting leading journalists, such as Catalan TV news anchor Lídia Heredia, RAC1 radio presenter Agnès Marquès, journalist Mònica Hernàndez, and photojournalist and professor Sandra Balsells.
"Any mistake can undermine your work. Credibility is hard to earn, and easy to lose," said Lídia Heredia, who acknowledged that she trusted ACN on her daily routine to fact-check information.
The professor and expert on news agencies, Joseph Oliver Boyd-Barrett, also took part in the event, praising ACN’s "commitment to neutrality, independence, and professionalism," as well as underlining its "goal to provide support for all political factions that exist without favor."
Catalan News interviewed Boyd-Barrett before the event and here's his reflections on the company as it turns 20:
How is ACN's progress over the last 20 years?
Here in Catalonia, ACN very diferently from other news agencies around the world was at the forefront of digital revolution.
In so many ways it established itself as a leader among news agencies, perhaps for other news agencies, especially in small countries.
Still here 20 years after the founding of ACN, it's incredibly encouraging to see that the model has worked.
Is fact-checking a must for news agencies?
Critics sometimes say that retail news media, broadcasters, newspapers perhaps are overdependent on news agencies, they tend to assume too much about what it is possible for them to do in terms of verification. However, news agencies are seen to play that role, in many ways they do play that role, because they specialize in the kind of journalism which is about facts
Sometimes if we are talking about criminal responsibility, very unpredicted set of circumstances, maybe terrorism or something like that, then the question of verification becomes more complex. Then maybe we should stop assuming that news agencies are the only people who can engage in that kind of journalism and be more realistic
Is it important for an agency to have an English-speaking version?
Any addition to the information environment, particularly if it comes from an institution that upholds strong journalistic values of impartiality, independence, effectiveness and accuracy... whenever we have an addition of that kind then this is very good news.