The director of Agencia Efe's editorial staff, Maria Luisa Azpiazu, and the director of Mexico's Notimex, Alejandro Ramos, on Friday defended the role news agencies play in a globalized world, saying they serve as guarantors of objectivity and reliability.

The media executives participated in a debate in Madrid titled "The News in Spanish: Globalization and Future Prospects," which was moderated by journalist Alejandro Alcalde, director of Radio Nacional de España's central news desk.

Unlike social-networking sites, news agencies will continue to serve as the objective reference point people need to form opinions, Azpiazu said, adding that agency professionals must "be careful that we don't get confused: we're not tweeters."

Ramos said, for his part, that new technologies must be incorporated into the reporting process but that journalistic rigor must not be sacrificed.

The editorial staff director of Agencia Efe, the No. 1 Spanish-language news agency and the world's fourth-largest, said the agencies must "reinvent themselves" to adapt to the times but never lose sight of their "essence" as providers of information.

"We must provide news that is serious and objective, truthful and reliable, which serves everyone; that is our essence, news is news," Azpiazu said.

Agencia Efe, which will mark its 75th anniversary in 2014, employs more than 3,000 journalists of different nationalities in 180 cities and 120 countries, and has a strong presence throughout Latin America.

The director of Notimex, founded in 1968, said both news agencies compete in the market but he stressed the "absolute cooperation" between them. EFE