Independent, quality, digital: three adjectives that sum up Explicite, a new 100% Web news agency staffed mostly by journalists who quit France’s 24-hour news station i-Télé, furious over alleged editorial meddling and condoned sexual harassment. CEO Olivier Ravanello, sat down with our reporter!
Orange Pop: With Explicite, you’ve ditched traditional broadcasting for the Web’s advantages, like streaming and viewer flexibility. Are we at the dawn of a new journalistic era?
Olivier Ravanello: Explicite unites 2 complementary journalistic cultures: TV reporters, with their on-camera experience, and Internet journalists, with all their Web-savvy. We adapt content to the formats of popular social networks by developing our own news-specific apps. We’re not just slicing the 8 o’clock news up differently to make it mobile-compatible, like traditional broadcasters do. We offer a whole different format, with more efficient and thorough coverage. That means the kind of nuance and in-depth reporting that cross-pollinate wide news stories.
O. Pop: “Technological maturity” is the tipping point when the general public adopts an innovation. Streaming is already there, and the on-line press exists (Les Jours, Le Quatre Heures, Brut…). Has digital journalism also arrived?
OR: The Web format acknowledges a social shift, providing 3rd Millennium citizens with the tools they want. People are clamoring for independent news media. App and social media innovation enables us to provide high-quality, independent, digital news that any smartphone can receive.
O. Pop: What are the constraints specific to Explicite, and Web media in general?
OR: One constraint is the market for Internet-based news. It’s rapidly growing but hasn’t yet reached its economic potential, paling in comparison to TV advertising. The other constraint is just natural human resistance to change: news has always been free. How much does quality news cost? What’s it worth? We’ll have to pay if we want quality, independent news.
We need a viable economic model and investors who believe in this thing. Our crowdfunding drive is very promising, with the support of 60,000 so far on social networks. We’re true believers and think we’re the right thing at the right time.
Olivier Ravanello, shakin’ up the French media scene © Explicite