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DOI, Digital Objetc Identifier 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1411en | ISSN 1138 - 5820 | RLCS, 74-2019 | Audio-visual explanation of the author |

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How to cite this article in bibliograhies / References

M Soler-Campillo, E Galán Cubillo, J Marzal-Felici (2019): “The Creation of À Punt Mèdia (2013-19) as new Public Space for Communication”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, pp. 1801 to 1817,
http://www.revistalatinacs.org/074paper/1411/94en.html
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1411-94en

The Creation of À Punt Mèdia (2013-19)
as new Public Space for Communication

María Soler-Campillo [CV] oORCID [orcid.org/0000-0002-3237-8038]  gGoogle Scholar [https://scholar.google.es/citations?user=Yn8OyXcAAAAJ&hl=es] Profesora Contratada Doctora de Comunicación Audiovisual y Publicidad, Universitat Jaume I – solerm@uji.es

Esteban Galán Cubillo [CV] oORCID [orcid.org/0000-0002-2462-1122]  gGoogle Scholar [https://scholar.google.es/citations?hl=es&user=dNm_zhwAAAAJ] Profesor Ayudante Doctor de Comunicación Audiovisual y Publicidad, Universitat Jaume I – egalan@uji.es

Javier Marzal-Felici [CV] oORCID [orcid.org/0000-0002-2462-1122]  gGoogle Scholar [https://scholar.google.es/citations?hl=es&user=jAqLLqsAAAAJ] Catedrático de Comunicación Audiovisual y Publicidad, Universitat Jaume I – marzal@uji.es

Abstracts
Introduction: This study aims to analyse a very unique case on a global scale: the creation of À Punt Mèdia, the company covering the new public service media after four years of absence from public service in the Valencian Community region (Spain). In this period, the international media scene has undergone profound transformations related to the 2008 crisis, digital migration, audiovisual consumption, the concentration and globalization of large media corporations and political control over media. Methodology: In order to achieve our goal, we have adopted a qualitative method based on a five-year process of participant observation and on different in-depth interviews of the Valencian media corporation’s managers (Corporación Valenciana de Medios de Comunicación) and its commercial company, À Punt Mèdia. Results and Conclusions: The research carried out enables us to understand that the creation and/or restructuring of public service media responds to the need to adapt to the new socio-political and communicative environment, which offers an exceptional opportunity to boost policies of edu-communication to prepare our citizens for the challenges and opportunities that the scientific and technological revolution that we are witnessing has to offer. In this study, evidence shows that despite the incipient extent of implementation of transmedia narratives, their development is already crucial for the future of public service media.

Keywords
Public service media; radio & television; media literacy; transmedia; citizens’ participation; governance

Contents
1. Introduction and state of the matter. 1.1 The global environment: GAFAM. 2. Material and methods. 2.1. Action Research (2013-2018) and Responsible Research and Innovation. 2.2. Participant observation. 2.3. Open-ended interview with television heads. 3. Results. 3.1. Single newsroom and transmedia strategy. 3.2. Citizen participation. 3.2.1. Audience Council 3.2.2. Department of Social Projection. 3.3 Educommunication. 4. Discussion and conclusions. 5. Bibliographic references.

Traducción de Gary Smith
(Glokalize Traducciones, Valencia, Spain)

 [ Research ] [ Funded ] 
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1. Introduction and state of the matter

It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the public spaces for communication needed by our democratic systems because the media for the masses that appeared in the 20th century have difficulties in connecting with their audiences, especially those educated with the new types of screens (Azurmendi, 2018). Public radio and television have served that purpose for decades, but they are now suffering from a loss of credibility that has affected their reputation and audience ratings. This is one of the main reasons why public media are losing ground as the forum for public debate that all societies need (Campos-Freire, 2013; Gómez-Mompart, 2015).

This research is based on an analysis of the closure and re-opening that the Valencia region’s public radio and television entity has undergone. The old public radio and television corporation, which shut down abruptly in 2013 (Alcaraz Ramos, 1992; Quílez-Sánchez, 2002; Col.lectiu Ricard Blasco, 2014), was an archetypal example of one of the main problems suffered by public European television: dependence on the government, a lack of quality content, no transparency and insufficient funding, all aggravated by the financial crisis in 2008 (Marzal-Felici & Soler-Campillo, 2016). Four years after the closure, À Punt Mèdia was launched as a public space for communication that became a paradigm for adaptation to the new communication environment: the content is organised via a transmedia strategy that encourages citizens’ participation (Galán, Gil-Soldevilla, Soler-Campillo & Marzal-Felici, 2018). Today, À Punt Mèdia is a public communication platform with nearly 500 employees, a budget of over 50 million euros and a potential audience of 5 million citizens. Without a doubt, it is a public audiovisual media corporation that has had the opportunity to adapt its organisation and working structures to the requirements of the new Internet media environment, but with one added particularity: its employees mostly come from the old model of radio and television. They have therefore had to adapt their job routines to the new environment (European Broadcasting Union Report, 2015; Wilson, 2016).

Public media are an essential element in the development of creative industries and the so-called knowledge economy (Vogel, 2004; Rausell, 2013; Hartley, Wen and Li, 2015; Zallo, 2016), but the disappearance or irrelevance of these public media is shifting the balance of media power (and political power) towards private initiatives (Sarabia-Andúgar, Sánchez-Martínez & Fernández-Alonso, 2012). In order to counteract the power of big private corporations (under the duopoly of Atresmedia-Mediaset in Spain), it is necessary for public media to set themselves apart from what is offered by the private sector in terms of quality, of audiovisual and cultural diversity (Albornoz & García-Leiva, 2017), and of political and ideological diversity. This is only possible with participation from civil society and professional management that is independent from economic or governmental interests (Azurmendi, López & Manfredi, 2011; Lamuedra, 2012; Andrés-Segovia, 2015; Campos, 2016; Fernández Alonso, 2017).

1.1 The global environment: GAFAM

The advent of the Internet is giving one-directional mass media a chance to become spaces for public communication (Ribas, Finger & Ferreira, 2016). For the first time, technology has enabled interaction and sharing of content (Ellis & Greenbank, 2015; Quintas-Froufe & González-Neira, 2016). However, three decades after the arrival of the Internet, it can be seen that public communication media are incapable of adapting their philosophy to the new times (Smith, 2010). Radio, television and the Internet continue to be hermetic compartments, with the day-to-day urgency imposed by broadcasting making it too difficult to address the structural reforms these organisations need (Bustamante, 2008).
Recent studies indicate that public radio and television media are increasingly dependent on the five private corporations that dominate world communication, known by the acronym GAFAM (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft) (Miguel de Bustos & Casado, 2016). The new types of information and communication technology have led to a situation of oligopoly in which these new stakeholders are gradually dissolving the traditional audiovisual sector, with digital extensions providing ever more offshoots. The aim is increasingly to make the content ubiquitous. In order to avoid being devoured by the technological giants, public media are attempting to make a commitment to change their organisational structure.
 
1.2. Transmedia strategy and citizens’ participation

There is growing demand for narratives that excite citizens, involving them and providing incentives for their participation (Jenkins, Ford & Green, 2015; Scolari, 2013; Obando & Hernández-Ruiz, 2018; Scolari, 2018). In order to foster this participation, it is necessary for the channels and stations to make a commitment to the same media that citizens already use in their daily lives: traditional media (radio, press and television), hybrids (á la carte videos and podcasts), the social networks and instant messaging. From its outset, À Punt has made a commitment to a multi-platform strategy with content optimised to meet each medium’s conditions for consumption. To do so, it has been necessary to redefine job profiles to foster versatility and collaboration between departments. In À Punt Mèdia, a single newsroom has been introduced that covers radio, television and a multimedia platform via a forum or agora in which professionals from different fields (journalists, producers, directors, documentary makers) feed the different media with content, while at the same time attending to the social networks and instant messaging services. These interactive social media are a new window across the board that is essential to bring together what is being offered by multiple platforms and to articulate the audience’s participation with the content (Jenkins, Purushotma, Clinton, Weigel & Robison, 2006: 46).


 
2. Materials and methods

The case of À Punt Mèdia provides a unique opportunity to investigate a public television corporation that has had the opportunity to adapt its production routines to the new communication scene. The work of participative observation (Kawulich, 2006) that the researchers have carried out since November 2013 (when RTVV abruptly ceased broadcasting) gives public communication operators a valuable case study to observe how it has been possible to transform a traditional radio and television corporation into a modern public space for communication via multiple platforms. The interviews carried out aim to mitigate the limitations detected on applying the techniques of participant observation and action research.
 
2.1. Action Research (2013-2018) and Responsible Research and Innovation

The action research method (Chevalier & Buckles, 2013) has been adopted due to the overwhelming need created by the scenario of fiasco in the Valencian audiovisual sector due to the closure of the old public television station, aggravated by the economic crisis of 2008. The Valencian audiovisual sector was left with an unemployment rate of over 90% in 2013. Universities, together with different professional and business associations, understood that it was necessary to join forces to demand the recuperation of the region’s public communication fabric in the region (CECUV, 2015).

The researchers in this study have taken part since 2014 in drawing up various reports that have acted as a guide to launch the new public communication platform. The authors have been part of organisations such as MESAV (Mesa del Audiovisual Valenciano, “Valencian Audiovisual Panel”), CECUV (Comisión de Expertos en Comunicación de las Universidades Valencianas, “Valencian Universities’ Expert Committee on Communication”), and CIRTPV (Comisión Interuniversitaria en favor de una Radiotelevisión Pública Valenciana, “Inter-University Committee in favour of a Valencian Public Radio and Television Corporation”). They have also taken part as experts in the different parliamentary committees that have worked to reactivate the audiovisual sector, launch the new public corporation and create the future audiovisual council. These collaborations have served to convey to society in general the results obtained from the research projects, publications and congresses carried out over the past five years. This work has also enabled some of the audiovisual innovation strategies developed by the BBC, the RTVE Lab and Movistar to be implemented. The methodological approach used is closely tied to RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation). Responsible research is the kind whose aims are in line with the challenges of the society funding it and whose results have a positive impact in improving living conditions (García-Marza, Fernández-Beltrán & Sanahuja, 2017).
 
2.2. Participant Observation

Participant Observation (Duverger, 1971) enables a better understanding of the phenomenon being studied while at the same time giving access to information that would otherwise be impossible to obtain (Rodríguez, Gil Flores & García Jiménez, 1999), given that in this technique the “observer takes part in the life of the group or organisation under study” (Piñeiro-Aguilar, 2015:82). Belonging to the group under study also enables other methods to be applied. However, this method also has some drawbacks such as the difficulty in obtaining external validation (Wimmer & Dominik, 1994) and the lack of distance from the subject under study. To organise each of these activities, it was essential to create a field diary in which to describe, analyse and interpret the results obtained by this project’s three researchers. This work has been fundamental in providing a record of all the activities carried out and their results, thereby enabling them to be compared and validated where applicable with the experts that have collaborated in this study. The team has held more than 50 meetings over the nearly 6 years that this work has been monitored, in order to share the data obtained and plan the following steps to be taken.

Since 2014, this study’s research team has organised events such as the “Transmedia Communications Seminar” and “Pitching Audiovisual Projects”. Exemplary professionals from the audiovisual sector have taken part in these activities, including noteworthy heads of À Punt Mèdia such as the Director of Innovation, Albert Arnau, the Director of Content, César Martí, and the Director of Social Projection, Albert Vicent. These two activities have also given momentum to the creation of the Transmedia Factory (a laboratory of interdisciplinary audiovisual projects linked to À Punt Mèdia’s innovation department) and a new roadmap for the Master’s in Transmedia Creation and Production in which students design transmedia audiovisual projects.

The results obtained from this process were decisive in organising a training activity aimed at the heads of the new radio and television corporation in August 2017, which was given in four modules dealing with the design and operational routines of a transmedia project and analysing successful transmedia fiction and documentary projects.

2.3. Open-ended interview with the television corporations heads

In the participant observation stage, it was noticed that the fieldwork had shortcomings as regards news programmes and social network management. For this reason, it was decided to draw up a semi-structured questionnaire with open-ended answers for the head of news programmes, Remei Blasco; non-daily news, Esperanza Camps; and Internet and social networks, Anna Peña. By selecting these three heads, it was possible to address all of the departments involved in producing news programmes. The results obtained from the action research and participant observation were used to draw up these questions. They are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Questionnaire for semi-structured interviews

Block 1 Single newsroom

1. What is the single newsroom like in À Punt Mèdia? What is the end result of implementing it?
2. From the point of view of management of technical resources: What are the main obstacles for getting the single newsroom up and running?
3. From the point of view of management of human resources: What are the main obstacles for getting the single newsroom and running?

Block 2 Transmedia narratives

4. Is the traditional division of news sections coherent with current technological transformations in the transmedia age?
5. Does the transmedia development of news programmes stimulate citizens’ participation?
6. What are the main problems in implementing the transmedia development of news programmes?
7. Would you highlight a specific example of transmedia development in news that you have carried out?
8. How is audiovisual transmedia material documented? Is there a risk of losing online material that is not openly broadcast?
9. How would you rate transmedia production in the sphere of public media in the context of Europe?

Block 3 Social Networks

10. How would you rate the management of social networks in À Punt Mèdia for news programmes?
11. What are the main problems you find in managing the social networks for the news services?

Block 4 Innovation

12. Why should innovation be fundamental in the public media? What are the main advantages of applying it?

 

3. Results

Via the fieldwork carried out, it is seen that the professionals consider that applying transmedia narratives is crucial for the future of the public communications service, though at the same time they point out that it is still in a very embryonic phase and that it needs additional economic resources. This is especially significant in the case of new services, where the response time is very limited. There are also difficulties in working with a transmedia strategy because most professionals have a long track record of creating content for the TV screen, whereas the process of adapting to generate content for all types of screen requires time and training. The results obtained over these almost six years of work can be structured along three lines: a single newsroom with a transmedia strategy; citizens’ participation; and educommunication.
 
3.1. Single newsroom and transmedia strategy

The architectural design of an open space that fosters collaboration and meetings among the different media and departments has been identified as essential in achieving a comprehensive communication strategy. This has been done with the added difficulty that the new corporation’s professionals mostly had over 20 years’ experience in the previous radio and television corporation and it has therefore been necessary for them to train and adapt to more multi-purpose professional routines and profiles. Indeed, new professional categories have been created such as Audiovisual Journalist, Data Journalist and Social Networks Expert, and the main new development is that the same single newsroom produces content for radio, television and the Internet. This single newsroom has brought with it a significant technological challenge, which has been tackled by using specific software to create and edit content: Dalet Galaxy. Dalet provides integrated tools for the main productions tasks, making work flows transparent and enabling many tasks to be automated. The content is grouped into folders organised as shown in Table 2.

The other tool used to assign and monitor tasks is the project management software Trello, which helps the editors make lists with tasks they assign to the journalists, so that at any time the extent of implementation of the lists can be checked, as well as the forecasts for the rest of the working day.

The transmedia strategy is also applied to outsourced production, so that the content management can foster the transmedia development of the content. Una habitación propia (“One’s own room”), presented by the literary commentator Irene Rodridgo, especially stands out for its visual richness and its worthiness as an educommunication product. It has a radio programme, a TV programme, posters on street walls encouraging people to read, content in the social networks, and close collaboration with the regional government’s Education Department to create training guides that enable teachers to link the classes to this multi-platform format.

Table 2. Multimedia content in the Dalet application in À Punt.

Feed

Uncut from recordings and deliveries from agencies

Production

Step outline and montage

Radio

Sound bites

Archive

Audiovisual pieces broadcast

News

Content divided into sections: culture, the economy, world, weather, politics and society.

Reserve

Non-daily specials and news programmes

In the world of news, it should be noted that the non-daily formats are creating special programmes with complementary material that can be used in transmedia projects in radio and television daily news with an interactive space in the website that can be seen at http://especials.apuntmedia.es. In spite of all of these efforts, it can be seen that the interactive content is still in a very early stage of development, so that conventional linear broadcasts need to be made on radio and television for the audience to be aware of it.

3.2. Citizens’ participation

The avalanche of notifications appearing non-stop on the different screens around us means it is ever more necessary to build dams to soften their impact (Mendoza et al., 2018). Public spaces for communication are a tool for citizens’ empowerment so that our democracies may maintain spaces to meet that do not treat citizens as consumers of products or producers of clicks. Nevertheless, the urgency inherent in the daily work of a media channel makes it necessary to create regulatory bodies to act as a counterbalance to ensure effective participation from citizens (García-Avilés, 2011). This is the raison d’être for the Audience Council, which is made up of representatives from Valencian society’s cultural, social and educational fabric.
 
3.2.1. Audience Council

The Audience Council is one of the most significant contributions from the new Public Communication Corporation. It is intended to keep a check on compliance by the public communication service, which in a democratic state means compliance with professional good practices that avoid spreading rumours or fake news, separate information from opinion, and observe diversity while preserving the rights of all social sectors, especially those of the most vulnerable social groups. The Audience Council must check that citizens’ complaints and suggestions are indeed addressed by those responsible in the medium. Along these lines, an “Active Listening” service has been created to enable easy communication from the users of the services provided by À Punt. In the first months following the launch of said service, 51 complaints and suggestions were received, fundamentally concerning the television programmes in general. It has been noted that the main weakness is the delay in responding to these, since some have been waiting for up to 30 days without a reply (Consell de la Ciutadania, 2019). These reports act as a reminder of public communication spaces’ raison d’être. They thus meet the task of basic educommunication because they convey to society as simply as possible the fundamental principles by which the public communication service is managed.
 
3.2.2. Social Projection Department

The Social Projection Department works every day for a fluid dialogue to exist with the fabric of society. This dialogue is bolstered by the News, Innovation, Content and Website departments, and even by the General Management of Media (Presidential Office of the regional Government of Valencia), which takes part and continuously attends to requests for collaboration from multiple institutions, events and groups. This work involves creating reputational credit (Alloza, 2012), which is extremely valuable in combating the drive to privatise all that is public, which is ever more powerful and uses private media as its main voice.

To differentiate itself from what the private media have to offer, À Punt Mèdia has made an effort to lend visibility to its collaboration with social, cultural and educational groups that are in direct contact within the media corporation via the Social Projection Department. Today, this collaboration is one of the main ways of introducing educommunication as an aspect that acts as the backbone to all of the content provided by the station. In fact, over 80% of the agreements signed to date have been with institutions with educational and cultural purposes, according to data provided by the corporation itself.
 
3.3 Educommunication

In July 2017, five months before radio broadcasts began (11/12/2017) and the website was launched (18/12/2017), the Governing Board of the Valencian Media Corporation approved the “Charter of values for children’s and juvenile content”, a 36-page document that lays down the (self-)regulatory principles for children’s and juvenile content at À Punt Mèdia (CVMC, 2017a). This is a commitment taken up in favour of a drive for social tolerance and respect; diversity of content; fostering a critical sense; training and knowledge; a healthy life and sports; gender equality; fostering Valencian language and culture; as well as a drive for innovation, the protection of youth from violent content and the responsible use of new technologies, following international standards (Steemers & Potter, 2018).

Also, before À Punt began broadcasting, the Valencian Media Corporation drafted a “Style Book”, an ambitious document that was at the same time a statement of good journalistic practices and a manual about the new public media’s linguistic model (CVMC, 2017b). On the one hand, the “Style Book” states in some detail the fundamental principles that inspire the work of journalism in the media corporation, referring to the information professionals’ obligations and the safeguarding of their rights (especially as regards their independence and professional good practices), indicating the guidelines to follow in dealing with news in matters requiring special attention such as gender equality, male violence against women, functional diversity, etc. On the other hand, half of the book is dedicated to stating the corporation’s linguistic model, paying attention to matters of phonetics, morphosyntax, lexicology, terminology, neologisms, toponyms, demonyms, criteria for translation, etc. It should not be forgotten that one of the main aims behind the creation of these new public media is to foster Valencian language and culture (Preamble, Law 6/2016).

In the first report from the Audience Council for the second half of 2018, one can see that À Punt’s programmes in general help to normalise Valencian and demonstrate its linguistic diversity, at the same time as demanding more training for the corporation’s professionals in sexual, family and gender diversity. The report mentions the need to foster children’s programmes that are “safer for small children’s emotional stability”, that avoid information saturation, a frenetic narrative pace, the use of stressful colours and other resources that are usually a part of today's mainstream strategies in the world of infoentertainment, whose natural expansion occurs in the Internet (Livingstone & Sefton-Green, 2016). Finally, it is believed that headway has been made by the fact that À Punt’s children’s programme schedule has been developed from the outset on the multimedia platform, adapting to the forms of online consumption that are mostly used among young people today. Another aspect of the Audience Council’s first half-yearly report that we believe to be very pertinent is the recommendation to foster new programmes for scientific dissemination for the audience at large, using the format of documentary series, reports, news, debate programmes, etc., paying attention to the role of women scientists and to historical aspects of science and technology in the Valencia Community region.

Last but not least, there is the role played by universities in the entire process of recovering public media. On 11th July 2017, the Framework Agreement between five public Valencian universities and the Valencian Media Corporation was solemnly signed in the Universitat de València. Its aim is to create a series of ways for cooperating, which are listed in Table 3.

It is thus an agreement of strategic importance, signed months before À Punt began broadcasting, which has enabled innovation to become the main basis for the new Valencian public media, as confirmed by the replies from the heads of À Punt Mèdia. The collaborative, inter-professional work at the heart of the organisation and especially among public institutions is essential in taking up new innovative practices. In our view, the educational administrations (not only universities) are called upon to carry out significant work in collaboration with À Punt’s Content and Innovation Departments. This is because it should not be forgotten that in the current economic, social and political context, the re-legitimisation of public media involves offering a quality programme schedule managed with transparency and professionalism. This has been emphasised by the European Broadcasting Union’s Media Intelligence Service in multiple reports (European Broadcasting Union, 2015a; 2015b; 2017; Pérez-Seijo, Melle Goyanes & Paniagua Rojano, 2018).

Table 3. Ways of collaborating with universities – CVMC

a) Cooperation in training programmes and refreshers for professionals who are members of the CVMC and from universities, via contracts signed based on Article 83 of the Organic Law on Universities.

b) Mutual assessment on matters related to the activity of the CVMC and of Valencian public universities.

c) Organising and implementing common activities such as seminars, courses, events and congresses related to the social promotion of training, and refreshing professionals from the CVMC and from universities.

d) Staff exchange for a limited time when the type of work so requires.

e) Cooperation in training programmes for students via systems of scholarships and intern placement contracts

f) Transfer of R&D by universities to be applied in the CVMC’s production and creation processes via contracts signed by dint of Article 83.

g) Participation from universities as preferential members in the CVMC’s future Department of Crossmedia Innovation and Design.

h) Cooperation to detect talent among students in order to include their knowledge and skills in the CVMC’s production and creation processes.

i) Collaboration in activities to produce and disseminate programmes with the support of the signee entities’ technical and professional resources.

j) Giving access to audiovisual archives for all of the entities involved in this agreement.

k) Collaboration in innovation and entrepreneurial processes that the universities set up through their scientific partners and business incubators.

l) Fostering an annual forum meeting so that all of the university audiovisual creation bodies can present their formats for TV, radio and transmedia projects.

m) The universities and the CVMC agree to work together to promote science and knowledge, raising the visibility of lecturers and researchers, while making a commitment to the equal presence of men and women in the corporation’s media.

By monitoring the Framework Agreement, the first year after it was signed it has been possible to observe the implementation of numerous activities in the field of educommunication such as the “pitching of audiovisual and transmedia projects”, work training placements for students in Á Punt and setting up work groups to create educational-entertainment content with participation from teachers from all educational levels.

4. Discussion and conclusions

When government closes or directly restricts citizens’ use of a public space, it will probably encounter rejection from citizens. However, if it first deteriorates that space and turns it into a problem, then its closure may be seen by the citizens with relief or as a lesser evil, so it will not encounter the same response. This is precisely the strategy that the wave of neoliberal governments and forces have used to attack public communication services throughout Europe. They criticise, deteriorate and economically starve the public media so as to finally end up proposing their closure or privatisation. This is why it is essential to work on the public space’s connection with the social, educational and cultural fabric.

The British Parliament’s recent report by the “Digital Culture, Media and Sport Committee” urges the government for the communications regulator Ofcom, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Electoral Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority to carry out joint action to foster digital literacy as a strategy to neutralise misinformation and the proliferation of fake news that is so typical in the “post-truth” era (House of Commons, 2019). This report shows how far Spain still has yet to go. A state regulatory authority is yet to be created, and where applicable audiovisual committees for autonomous regions to supervise the work of public and private media. When ensuring the transparency and independence of public media, we must also be aware that the creation of these bodies depends on political power (Donders, 2011). This circumstance is particularly relevant because one of the constants that the researchers have found during this fieldwork is the lack of exemplary models upon which the current directors may base their projects.

We firmly believe that universities are called upon to act as fundamental parties in making the transformation of public media possible, as well as their adaptation to the digital context. We have concentrated our attention on the case of the creation of Á Punt, but it would not be fair to omit the effort being made over the last five years by some corporations such as EiTB, RTVG, CCMA and RTVE, in collaboration with different universities, to help traditional radio and television corporations adapt to the digital scenario in which the audience is more complex and participatory. The acquisition of media skills—which today are completely digital—is a matter of “social urgency” (Aguaded & Romero-Rodríguez, 2018), and also professional urgency, since it has been detected that some professionals with a long track record and experience are encountering problems in adapting their language to the new platforms. This challenge requires educational institutions to redouble their efforts to take action and foster collaboration with public media. The case of Á Punt Mèdia studied provides some clues as to how to get radio, websites and television to stop working as hermetic, unrelated bodies. By sharing a physical space in a single newsroom that includes multi-disciplinary profiles such as journalists, directors, documentalists, IT specialists, community managers, etc., it is possible to naturally create work routines that streamline resources and adapt the format of the content to citizens’ demands. The public media’s commitment to social projection is also noteworthy, as is the constant regulatory monitoring work carried out through the Audience Council. In the case of the Valencia Community region (and in Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country), the role played by public media is especially relevant in normalising the use of the regional language: Valencian. This fact is of great importance because its use is practically residual in the new digital windows. À Punt attempts to compensate for this communicative situation with its presence in the Internet.

The creation of Á Punt Mèdia is an extraordinary opportunity to foster critical knowledge of the media in compliance with European Directive 2010/13/EU, and today it is still necessary to demand such knowledge (Aguaded-Gómez, 2013: 7-8). The current situation of expansion of fake news and the absolute hegemony of screens connected to the Internet makes it advisable to place media literacy at the heart of the education system, from nursery school up to upper secondary education. To do so, it is essential to foster collaborative work between the regional education department and the new public media, creating synergies to boost education about media as regards values and fostering a critical attitude towards the media (Gutiérrez and Tyner, 2012: 38).

We are aware that this research carried out has its limitations, such as a lack of necessary distance from the subject under study, or having taken part in drawing up the reports, regulatory frameworks and training activities in order to launch the new corporation. We have attempted to compensate this lack of scientific perspective by consulting with top-level specialists in this field such as Juan Carlos Miguel de Bustos, Francisco Campos Freire, José Manuel Pérez Tornero, Carmen Caffarel, Carmelo Garitaonaindia and many other experts. All of the experts consulted have agreed upon the importance of the case analysed due to the circumstance that RTVV has been the only big public medium (together with the Greek public television) that was closed because of the crisis. À Punt Mèdia has understood this closure in reality to be an opportunity to create a big public media corporation with a digital, participatory and transmedia rationale in a new public communication space.

Support

    • This work has been carried out with help from the research project “Citizens’ participation and public communication media. Analysis of the experiences of audiovisual co-creation in Spain and in Europe (PARCICOM)” (code RTI2018-093649-B-I00) has been carried out under the management of Javier Marzal Felici, funded by the R&D&I state programme aimed at Challenges for Society, the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, for the 2019-2021 period. It also has the support of the network of excellence “Innonews Network: Innovation of the news in the digital society” (code CSO2017-90819-REDT), under the coordination of José Manuel Pérez Tornero, with the participation of Autonomous University of Barcelona, University of Santiago de Compostela, University of Seville and University Jaume I of Castellón.

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    How to cite this article in bibliographies / References

    M Soler-Campillo, E Galán Cubillo, J Marzal-Felici (2019): “The Creation of À Punt Mèdia (2013-19) as new Public Space for Communication”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, pp. 1801 to 1817,
    http://www.revistalatinacs.org/074paper/1411/94en.html
    DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1411-94en

     

    Paper received on 21 June. Accepted on 28 September.
    Published on 9 November.

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