Madrid – Agencia Efe, Spain's international news agency, presented Monday at its Madrid headquarters the "Libro del Estilo Urgente" (The Instant Stylebook), its first manual on multimedia journalism that includes guidelines for professional practices and, for citizens and clients, represents a commitment to quality and ethics in reporting the news.
The work contains recommendations for preparing texts, photos, videos, audios, and news services for the Internet and digital devices.
Agencia Efe CEO Alex Grijelmo said at the presentation that the book constitutes a "contract" with Efe's audience and clients, as well as "a commitment to news quality" and to a code of ethics "that we impose on ourselves."
Also taking part in the event were the director general of the Galaxia Gutenberg publishing house, Joan Tarrida; the dean of the School of Communications at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Antonio Garcia; and Efe journalist and author of the first draft and coordinator of the book, Emilio Crespo.
The work, which goes on sale this week in Spain and the following week in bookstores throughout Latin America, will also be distributed through the Readers' Circle of Galaxia Gutenberg and will soon have an online edition as well.
The book will be a key reference work for the world of communications thanks to its novel focus on multiple outlets, and also because it exposes and expands on how to use language more effectively, Tarrida said.
The publisher thanked Efe for the chapter unmasking the objectionable practices of manipulating the news while outlining the many legal aspects of practicing journalism and their implications, a section also stressed by Garcia.
The academic also applauded the fact that honesty is cited as a basis of professional work in Efe, and praised the excellent presentation of the profession's many facets, all of which will make this work, in his opinion, an extremely useful teaching tool.
For his part, Crespo described the book as "an agency work," recalled that Efe's style is the agency's "signature" and "mark of identity" and that it includes the reputable professional practices that guarantee quality, scrupulous accuracy and independence.
In that sense, the work groups, expands and updates the different guidelines to make sure that journalism's eternal ethical principles remain relevant in the new communications environment.
The book also includes sections on reporting the news, sources, qualifications, writing and editing, the different branches of journalism in a news agency, photographic and video reporting, radio chronicles and voice tracks, products for mobile phones and multimedia editing.
Besides the chapter cited for its study of journalism's ethical implications, the book also includes an appendix of linguistic recommendations for spelling, initials, place names, names for people from particular regions or countries, and transliterations from other alphabets, as well as another appendix containing Efe's "Writing Statute."
The statute is a document of self-regulation and professional ethics approved in a referendum by Efe jounalists in 2006 that guarantees the agency's independence, forms part of that agreement and may not be modified unilaterally, Grijelmo said.