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EuroNews Chief Phillipe Cayla on Dealing With "News Fatigue"

Anyone who has watched a cable news channel for long enough recognizes the problem: after 20 or 30 minutes the news gets repetitive as stories are recycled for new viewers tuning in. "It is a problem of the agenda or what is at the top of the agenda," says EuroNews Chairman and CEO Phillipe Cayla of this kind of "news fatigue." "Something like the [Gulf oil spill]—of course it should be at the top of the agenda in America, in Europe a little less, but it's changing every day."

In his latest Big Think interview, Cayla says that the peculiarity of EuroNews is the fact that it has a non-national point of view spanning so many different countries. "When we cover the affairs of a particular country, we don't take the point of this particular country, but we try to take the point of the neighboring countries, as well," says Cayla. "When we report about Brussels, conversely to other European channels we don't take the national point of view of what is Brussels doing for this particular country.  We are taking the general interest of the Europeans at large, and we try to understand if what Brussels is doing is good or bad for the Europeans as a whole—not for a particular country."

Cayla also says that while there is a perception in Europe that people care about international affairs more than Americans do, that's not necessarily the case.  "Of course, in Europe—in the continental Europe—because of history people have fought so much together in the past that... now they are in peace, but they have a tradition of 'need to know' in some sense, which is higher.  But to be frank with you, it's not necessarily the case in reality.  I mean, do the French know the Germans?  And do the Germans know the French?  I'm not so sure.  Each of them, they have a conscience that they should know better the other party, but in reality every nation is still living inside its borders.  And there is, in each country, there is some kind of upper class of maybe 10 percent of the population, which for business reasons or for personal curiosity, travels a lot and wants to know better what is the situation abroad, but it's a limited slice of the society."

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