The news directors of Television Española (TVE), Antena 3 and Mediaset España agreed here Wednesday that public television is needed for coverage of important issues private profit-driven networks can't afford to cover.

Julio Somoano, Gloria Lomana and Juan Pedro Valentin, respectively, commented during a roundtable discussion on television and news held as part of the Summer School organized by the Catholic University of Avila and La Razon newspaper.

All three expressed confidence that journalism "will never die," in the words of Mediaset's Valentin, while TVE's Somoano downplayed the idea of a crisis in the profession.

Regarding public television, Somoano said journalists at state-owned TVE see their work as a public service and noted that the network's new 4:00 p.m. national newscast is drawing an expanded viewership.

Public television "has to exist," Valentin said, while lamenting the lack of a "stable model" to make it work.

Concerns about profitability can deter private broadcasters from covering important events and in those cases, "a public entity should assume the responsibility," he said.

Public television "can do everything the private (networks) can't do," Antena 3 news director Lomana said, though she also stressed the necessity for public broadcasting to be "well managed." EFE