It was a transparent dialogue,
although journalists well know that such
conversations are always accompanied by a kind of
personal thermometer, or instinct, with which we are
constantly evaluating our conversation partner. At
least that is how it is for me. You are attentive to
the questions, their introductions, the tone…
Londoño revealed himself to be a sharp interviewer,
a journalist who I admired, and no doubt learned
from, since the interview genre is precisely the one
I most "respect."
He first inquired about the survey
recently published in the pages of our daily, and
the way in which the information gathered might
impact changes in the paper. This was an opportunity
to explain to him the steps which have been taken to
change our beloved "yacht" – including the new web
page, with the provision of space for comments, and
our work on social networks – as well as the
decision to continue providing this option in the
printed edition, changes in information distribution,
and, above all, in content.
The survey is the final element of a
study of our readership, which is critical to our
ability to make decisions, without doing so blindly.
Who reads our paper? What are they looking for? What
would they like to read? In other words, clues which
allow us to not simply imagine what’s good or bad in
what we are doing, but rather to have a clearer
idea, closer to reality.
Londoño then inquired about how we
are challenged by the plurality of voices heard on
the web, despite limited access to Internet in our
society. Websites, digital publications, blogs,
social networks… ensure that information is not the
exclusive property of the media.
We talked about this and shared
experiences, occasions when the web had become a
primary source of information… the times a blog
uncovered a subject, the competition and interaction
which is naturally developing.
Giving the public more participation
via the publication of letters on Fridays; providing
the option for comments on the web page; conducting
online interviews - and then publishing them in the
printed edition, so that the information reaches
those who do not have Internet access; have been
ways to coexist with the virtual world, with much
more to be done.
Of course we talked about Cuba’s
press, and differences with the U.S. model, in which
he, after all, exercises his profession.
… Differences will always exist,
since in the first place, we are talking about our
social mission in the service of society, upon which
our model is based, which might make the music young
people listen to a cause for concern and reflection
here, while in other places these issues are seen as
a question of interfering in individual freedoms.
The dialogue flowed toward the
interests of capital and its impact on the media’s
agenda, on criticism and investigative reporting.
This was a moment in which we shared some points of
view, and - despite the professional gaps, the race
to address Cuba’s diverse, controversial and
profound public agenda – without overlooking the
Cuban people’s high level of education – we showed
that our media are not as spineless as we are
He didn’t say any more about the NYT
editorials beyond what he has said in other
interviews. He is one of the editorial board’s 19
members, who meet three times a week to discuss
topics, debate and ask questions… This trip to Cuba
is part of this necessary preparatory work, which
often involves meeting various figures in society,
intellectuals, government officials, bloggers.
We drank coffee, toured our very
modest facilities and workplaces. He even left with
a book on the history of efforts to normalize U.S.-Cuba
relations (De la confrontación a los intentos de
‘normalización’. La política de los Estados Unidos
hacia Cuba) by Cuban historians Elier Ramírez Cañedo
and Esteban Morales Domínguez.
Next week there could be another
chapter in this story, and I promise not to wait,
and to write.