17 marzo 2019

El adios de Handelsblatt Today

En 2014 el principal diario económico alemán, Handelsblatt, lanzó su edición global en inglés, con el objetivo de hacer oír la voz de la prensa económica alemana en el mundo. La edición del Handelsblatt en inglés, en parte traducción de textos de la edición alemana y otra parte con contenidos propios, de estilo anglosajón, tuvo una buena recepción entre lectores internacionales, pero en estos casi cinco años no fue capaz de encontrar el modelo de negocio que la hiciera viable.
Hace unas semanas, el actual director de Handelsblatt Today, Andreas Kluth, se despedía de los lectores  reflexionando sobre los aprendizajes que había extraído de la experiencia. Estas eran a modo de resumen algunas de sus conclusiones sobre las dificultades de su aventura periodística.

1.      La dificultad de pensar globalmente al contar historias desde una perspectiva local, con las dificultades añadidas de hacerlo en un idioma como el alemán:
 “I have come to a conclusion about cross-linguistic journalism. Quite simply, it is that journalism, probably like all forms of storytelling, cannot be “translated,” just as good jokes with good punchlines cannot be translated. You can try, of course, but the subject dies in the attempt. Whether the medium is text, video or sound, storytelling is always primarily about a relationship: that between the storyteller and his or her audience. This relationship breaks down when things are “lost in translation.” Good storytelling requires intimacy, and a shared vocabulary of references and tonalities, of attitudes and questions and presumptions. Good storytelling is of the audience, by the audience, for the audience”.

  2.      La importancia de las diferencias en los estilos y modos de hacer periodísticos en distintas tradiciones culturales:
We also became acutely aware of the deep-seated differences between German and Anglo-Saxon storytelling. Some of my German colleagues, naturally, have asked me what those are. But it’s a bit like asking about the difference between Hemingway and Faulkner. You can give an answer that is short but unsatisfying (Hemingway wrote shorter sentences). Or you could attempt an answer that is long and subtle. 

3.      La dificultad para convertir un buen producto periodístico, incluso respaldado por una marca reconocida, en un producto rentable
“If our only goal had been to bring the undistorted sound of the German voice to Anglophone audiences, Handelsblatt Today would be considered a success. We know this from you, our readers, who have been telling us so in your emails, in which you usually began by pointing out how you disagreed with everything we wrote, before gushing about how much you loved us and how you were passing us along to your in-laws, business partners and fellow board members. Our audience was never huge, but it was loyal, spread throughout the Anglophone world, and dedicated, often verging on evangelical. But of course we had to have another goal: to make money. And this is where we demonstrably failed, which led to our shutdown “for lack of a sustainable business model”.

4.      El desafío de convertir el valor del periodismo en un producto que pueda ser apreciado según las leyes del mercado:
 “Journalism resembles basic research in science: It is hard to price in the open market, but ultimately priceless in value. Etymologically and historically, journalism arose from the “journals” of well-heeled men and women of letters in the early modern era who wrote to their friends. In effect, those diaries were pre-internet blogs — free, and meant for a controlled audience, and for the most part an intellectual indulgence. Maybe this is our destiny once again”.
Ángel Arrese.