Machine translation obtained using Elia by Elhuyar
Yearbook 2023-24 | Amagoia Mujika Tolaretxipi (Berriako zuzendaria)

There is a kind of journalistic nostalgia in the world, among those who have been around for years. Today, and it is not new, the trade finds it difficult to find its place: the fascination it created in its day is humiliated, the business model is in doubt and gaining credibility is not easy, especially among the traffic that has brought digitalization.

The way we work has changed a lot for two decades. The beginning of the race of speed can be related to the time when BERRIA was born, although in the Euskaldunon Egunkaria came the first Internet printouts, how to work with better tools. The time for a more paused journalism is largely behind, although the slowest perspective of immediacy has been given in time. In other words, the journalist is always in a hurry and running, the feeling of being drowned: both yesterday and today. But as we go from the time when there was only paper to digital, the need has come for the news to be placed as soon as possible, and that simple gesture has revolutionized the journalism world.

Digitalization has revolutionized a way of working, but journalism itself? Has information lost meaning in our society with a critical, rigorous and bold look? The digital age forces us to change the business model and reinvent the craft, perhaps, but it"s more important than ever, in times when we think everything is information, do journalism with the information we have at our fingertips, and, if possible, use digitalization to improve journalism.

So for the journalist to keep telling people what"s going on, we need street journalists, people who are watching that news they"re hoping to tell, face to face every day. Bring content of interest to citizens closer and maintain their role of interest. Good informers are needed so that you don"t create virtual worlds in the fog, because things happen in our environment. Make the network an attractive showcase for what we have lived in our closest environment. Let us use the tools that the digital age offers us to better understand the world, but let us not leave the world in your hands.


We need professionals who look at each other with their own eyes, without manipulating or makeup the news, with precision, rigor, clarity and easy understanding. Looking after the sources and contrasting the data. So that the receiver, besides receiving information, has tools to discuss it, develop a critical view. And there is the challenge of the written press: it has no choice but to work for quality information, and to encourage dialogue and participation to break with one-way journalism. It must know the disorder of social networks, the danger of speed, the poison of fake news, censorship and artificial intelligence, positioning and understanding the world around it to take steps in quality.

Because journalism cannot escape the understanding of what cannot be understood. And if we do journalism tailored to the visits media can have on the Internet blindly, we risk falling. Loss of reporting obligations. If we stop making the story as sincere as possible of the facts. Seduce readers, listeners and spectators, earn their trust and stay in us.



How do you do it?

Since the creation of BERRIA, and previously the Basque Newspaper Egunkaria, various processes have been carried out to address and advance the challenges that periodically arise. The greatest process has taken place in the last two years. Before Pandemia we already had another one, with which we launched fite on the Net, first the process of bringing the network as the news happened, and from then on we had the forces not only to paper, but also to the network. Looking back, it"s clear that this process was the foreword of what was coming, the need to take a step further in digital, and we"ve done so.


And how have we done that?

For a change to succeed, the participation, complicity and enthusiasm of those who will change it is essential, so that it does not remain in the frustrated ideas of four enlightened. Therefore, collaborators of different ages and areas were divided into journalists, designers, correctors, technicians, advertisers and marketing. They had to answer a question. If today we start making a national journal from scratch, how should it be?

We were clear that change had to be comprehensive, although we knew it would be difficult. We would be able to make all the changes at once. That is, to change the publishing system of the paper newspaper, to renew the paper design, to change the system of web content management, to innovate and apply the design of the web, to modify the workflows (creating everything for digital edition in the first place), to change the organization and functioning of the writing (teams, functions, schedules...). It has not been easy, because it has called for an effort to learn how to use many new things, but we have achieved it, especially thanks to the commitment and capacity of the work team. It has also been worth doing everything at once, because it has given the change of integrity, depth, coherence and effectiveness. All these changes with the sole aim of providing Basques with quality information more effectively.

What to offer and how. Who she looks at. How do we attract young people, how do we show what we have by subject?

Euskera, education, feminism, environment... How to strengthen the paths started in podcasts or audio-visual? How can we get better in the last few hours? And how to give more elaborate and comprehensive news in digital? Besides news, how to dress up with opinions, analyses, current events? How can we improve working conditions if journalism is not to become a precarious profession? Because the situations that are reported to us outside have no place inside. We would not be in vain.

Because our job is to do journalism that responds to the complex stage we live in. A journalism that helps to better understand the world and the Basque Country and highlights all injustice. A journalism that addresses the challenges of our time: the view of feminism, the view of the climate emergency and the view of the minority and excluded. For the Basque people, close to the concerns of the people. Let it give rise to confidence in disinformation. Independent, non-dependent.

The presentation of the contents and navigation between the contents is clearer and more orderly when providing the information we are interested in, thanks to the new design, and offers new possibilities to personalize the page based on preferred themes or authors. And besides being legible, we"ve preferred to make the news audible with a synthetic voice and podcasts. In addition to the offer so far, we decided to launch the podcast in Berriketa, three times a week, in order to address the current situation from different angles.

This is the core of the changes, but it has been essential to have the community. Advertising will continue to be an important source of revenue, including institutional subsidies, but we want to deepen the commitment between BERRIA and the readers, the emotional bond that has always existed, because for them we have meaning and we must give them the best we have.

BERRIA wants to expand the community it supports economically, since to maintain the challenges it faces, it is essential to attract new members to the community of committed readers that guarantee the viability and independence of the project, 3,000 new members by 2025.

The national newspaper in Euskera, from Euskaldunon Egunkaria, emerged from the popular initiative and had subscription as its main support. The subscription channel was essential to maintain the permanent income of the readers and therefore the viability of the project. This was maintained by BERRIA following the brutal closure of Egunkaria, thanks to popular subscription support. Newly created BERRIA equalled the 11,000 subscriptions of the newspaper.



Journalism and digitalization have taken new steps in the last decades, and BERRIA has been able to position itself in it, both from the journalistic point of view and in the business model; in 2011, when the world"s newspapers began to make the decision to place payment walls on the web pages, BERRIA decided, after a deep reflection, that the diffusion, normalization and revitalization of the Basque language were key to continue reading content. It was then that BERRIA, faced with this new paradigm of media revenue, decided to keep it free but ask the readers, especially those of the network, their commitment to what they read, creating the concept of friend BERRIA.

It was a pioneer in breaking this path and its implementation has allowed the fall of BERRIA — like all the newspapers in the world — in paper subscriptions to be maintained in part. Readers are the main source of income: 39% of the income is obtained through contributions from BERRIA friends, paper subscriptions and kiosk sales. As the trend is to reduce the sales and subscriptions of newspapers in newsrooms, BERRIA is essential to expand and continue to commit itself in the community that will contribute to the project, to create new members that will financially support the project. In fact, the media will be changed, but if national information in Basque is going to continue to occupy a place, if it is going to perpetuate what was created by popular initiative, it will need a people at the base.

For this purpose, the years 2024 and 2025 will be key, and BERRIA will articulate a solid and continuous dynamic to achieve this objective, with special quotas to involve young people in the project, increasing community participation, improving the service of the web readers and offering advantages to the friends BERRIA who support the project in the field of content.

In daily life, citizens have a certain time to access information and the means of access have increased considerably. This attraction often anesthetizes us and distracts us when the truly important contents are quickly seen to arouse curiosity. That is why we need a community that feels that good journalism is necessary, that gives meaning to the daily effort we make to build a Basque, Basque, just and egalitarian people.