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Big Think Interview With Philippe Cayla
Philippe Cayla has been Chairman and CEO of EuroNews since 2003. A graduate of the Ecole des Mines de Paris, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, Cayla began his career as a civil servant in the Equipment, Industry and Foreign Trade Ministries and as a technical advisor to the French Minister of Foreign Trade, Michel Jobert. From 1985 to 1992, Cayla was the Sales and Finance Director, the Strategy Director and finally the Deputy Managing Director and Strategy Director for Matra-Marconi Space, Europe's largest spacecraft manufacturer and a provider of communications ground terminals, sub-systems for rocket launchers and supplies for the International Space Station. In 1993, Cayla joined Eutelsat, one of the world's leading providers of satellite infrastructure and telecommunications. Cayla began working in television directly in 2000, when he became Director of International Development at France Televisions. At EuroNews he succeeded Stewart Purvis. Ideas recorded at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival on: 7/2/07
Question: How does EuroNews position coverage of issues for all of Europe?
Philippe Cayla: The peculiarity of EuroNews is to have a non-national point of view, a non-national editorial line. 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. 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. That is what makes EuroNews very specific in reporting about Europe.
Question: How did you cover the Greek bailout?
Philippe Cayla: We present both rationales, of course. Every country, both Greece and Germany, have their own good reasons to act as they did. Of course, Greece is [...] for having committed to so much debt and for not having put in place the reforms that they need that they're now trying to implement. Conversely, the fact that the claim for bailout for other European countries is natural, it's part of European solidarity, and nobody can contest that. The point of Germany is that in fact they are the wealthiest and the richest country in Europe. They have committed to much support of other European countries that they are now a little fed up, so you can also understand their point of view. They are fed up with countries like Greece who are unable to manage their own problems properly.
It is also a rupture with traditional, I would say, common understanding in Germany that Germany was supporting Europe, and because of it's particular history it was a political necessity. So also in Germany there are some mixed feelings about whether other countries should or not react as Mrs. Merkel did. So in EuroNews, of course we present all facets of the story. We present... On screen you can see people shouting in the streets of Athens, you can see German leaders saying that Greece should sell out their islands in order to recover some money, which is absolutely a crazy idea. But we don't say it's a crazy idea—we just report the story, and we present Mrs. Merkel's side, too. We try to treat the view as an adult, and so to present him the facts as they are and to help him in making his own assessment of the situation, his own judgment. That's what we think is our [...] and our editorial line.
Question: What’s the biggest challenge for EuroNews?
Philippe Cayla: The main challenge is to be simple and attractive for the viewer, because of course nationalism has not disappeared in Europe. People are still very nationalist, and they care chiefly for their own domestic affairs, so to make them... to create the sense that neighbor's affairs are also interesting for them, not only intellectually but also practically. If they want to make business with neighboring countries or other European countries, if they want to travel, for touristic reason, for instance, they need to understand a little better. So we try to make it simple and attractive for a European watching EuroNews to have an eye on what we present and to try to catch a better understanding of the situation abroad. That's not easy because people—like everywhere in the world I think—but in Europe one could think that there is more solidarity feelings than in the rest of the world, but it's not really the case. In fact, everybody's very nationalistic. And so you have to create this feeling that there is some solidarity between the people, and that's not easy.
Question: Do European networks try to shock with news coverage?
Philippe Cayla: No, it's not at all what we intend for. Of course, we need not to be boring, but we don't want to be an entertainment channel, a news entertainment channel, as some others are. We try to keep our serious line, but nevertheless, we don't cover only political news and business news. We try to have a larger coverage of news, covering also culture and science, which is also very specific to EuroNews. You can find a number of programs on EuroNews. At all, we have 40 different programs, and a number of them cover cultural events in Europe, outside of Europe—be it exhibitions, theater, cinema releases, film releases, music, music events. And in the field of science also we have specific programs for the science at large, new developments of European science. Space, space industry, space adventure, which is very popular in the U.S. but also in Europe, high-tech in all its forms. So we try to offer the viewer a wide range of human activities, if you like, which aren't only the politics themselves, but which covers all aspects of human life.
Question: How do you deal with fatigue surrounding important news stories?
Philippe Cayla: It's always the problem when you manage a news television. It is a problem of the agenda or what is at the top of the agenda. Something like the 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. But when you are a 24-hour news channel, the viewer never stay more than 20-30 minutes, so every half an hour you have new viewers who haven't seen what has been broadcast before. So it's only an impediment for the ones who are watching for long hours the same news channel... but there are very few of them. Only professionals like you, maybe, or others. All the wise people who watch news channels watch it only for 20 minutes to half an hour, and the just get what they need to know.
Question: How can a modern news organization attract and retain a loyal following?
Philippe Cayla: Certainly to create a loyalty among the audience you need to respect some basic laws to be... basic laws of journalism; honesty, transparency. What is particular to EuroNews is a balance. We have a good balance between values and opinions. We are not an opinion channel; we don't give an opinion to the people, and when there is a conflict we always present both sides of the story. For instance, the Middle East I think, at least along the Western channels, we are very considerate because we don't take a particular side between Israel and the Arab world. We present both sides of the story, whatever events which recently occurred. For that we receive some messages of consideration, of respect. People like us because of this balance, which is I think particular to EuroNews. We don't represent necessarily... we don't represent a particular interest. We don't represent the West against the Middle East or the East... I would say we try to be as balanced as possible, and this is due to the fact that we are multinational and multicultural, and we don't have a national background—any particular national background.
Our team consists of 350 journalists, and they make the editorial line together. By mutual consent, they have to agree about what goes on the air, so of course it's this multiplicity of nationality neutralizes in some sense the editorial lines. You cannot have a strong line when you have so many people. We need to agree, to consent, on the editorial line.
Question: Do Europeans care more about foreign affairs than Americans do?
Philippe Cayla: Yes, in fact it is a situation in the U.S. which is very similar to the one in the U.K. You are islands as well, and as far as I know here in the U.S. only 10 percent of people have a passport, if it is correct. It's a figure I have in mind. In the U.K. maybe a bit more, but the fact you are in an island in some way, and you can't, well... mentally give... isolation and... of no need of knowing what the others are doing.
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.
For the news channel... the news channel is... themselves are niche channels in each country, you never go beyond one percent of audience rating. For an international channel, it is niche of a niche, so we never go beyond 0.1 or 0.2 percent. It's true as well for CNN International and BBC World. So it's really an elite which wants to enlarge their understanding of the outside world. So I'm not surprised by the U.S. situation. It's maybe your own fault in the U.S. because you are... you feel protected for your particular geographic situation from the rest of the world. But it is a situation which is basically in the genes of every particular nation.
Question: What will Europe’s place in the world be in 2025?
Philippe Cayla: In 20, 25 years, it will be an aging continent. First of all, the average age will increase from maybe... the average is I think 40 years now in Europe, and it will increase to 50. So it will be a continent of seniors. Nevertheless, there will be some birth and some youngsters, but the main problem with that is to have a civilization which is aging with people in good hands, by the way. You know, I'm over 50, and I'm still in good health. I think it will be the case in the future people are aging but keeping able to do things. So what kind of things are they going to do? Probably more social things. They are not going to invent new things, but probably to manage the society as it is. They will probably increase their free time to travel, to increase understanding. Is the standard of living going to grow or decrease? That's debatable. I don't know. Maybe it will be stable or decrease a little, standard of living, because other countries, other continents, will move up.
What I hope is that it will keep being a peaceful area for the time being. Europe is peaceful, and that's the main asset we have. After so many wars and so many centuries, now Europe is a peaceful continent, so it will be probably a peaceful continent with always some difficulties to make up this European government that you... That is not the end of the story. So the governance of Europe will probably improve in the next couple of years., and the European standard of living will be more stable, and that all people... I hope that Europe will be able to defend themselves from the... in case of not conflict, but in case of tough developments in the neighboring... the neighborhood of Europe. So the main question for Europe is "What will occur in the Middle East? In Russia? Will it be stable, or will it be a dangerous area?" That's the question for the Europe of the future.
I think Europe has to make up it's own defense, which is not well-organized. I don't know if you know, but Europe is, after the U.S., the continent which spends the most for military. We spend... in fact, the European spending for the military is 20 percent of the world spend. U.S. represents 50 percent, and Europe comes second with 20 percent. But this money is very much wasted with... nationally it's not well organized at the European level, so I think it should be better organized in order to secure the safety of Europeans in the future.
Question: How will David Cameron’s recent victory affect the U.K.’s role in the world?
Philippe Cayla: The U.K. is smoothly moving toward continental Europe, and the channel is not very wide. But the U.K. is moving very smoothly. What is interesting to see is... whatever the government have claimed during the election campaign, most of them have claimed they're anti-European, but once they're in power they are committed to work with other European leaders and finally to join to European policy even as a consequence, as a aftermath of the financial crisis. Wherever U.K. leads a lot—in fact they are the first to have regulated their financial markets ahead of the rest of the continent. So in fact they are more or less... They are in fact closer than they say, if you like. They pretend to keep to themselves, to keep their independence, but in fact they are closer to rest of Europe, to the rest of the continent, and they work well with the other European leaders. Mr. Brown and Mr. Cameron now are working with Mr. Sarkozy and with Mrs. Merkel on good terms, and they try to find common solutions. So, there is a big difference between what the U.K. did and said and even what you read in the British press with the reality of British policy, which is much more European than what they say.
Recorded June 22, 2010
Interviewed by Jessica Liebman
A conversation with the Executive President of Euronews
Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?
- Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
- It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
- COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
What conditions of the new normal were already appreciated widely?<p>First, we understand that higher education is unique among industries. Some industries are governed by markets. Others are run by governments. Most operate under the influence of both markets and governments. And then there's higher education. Higher education as an "industry" involves public, private, and for-profit universities operating at small, medium, large, and now massive scales. Some higher education industry actors are intense specialists; others are adept generalists. Some are fantastically wealthy; others are tragically poor. Some are embedded in large cities; others are carefully situated near farms and frontiers.</p> <p>These differences demonstrate just some of the complexities that shape higher education. Still, we understand that change in the industry is underway, and we must be active in directing it. Yet because of higher education's unique (and sometimes vexing) operational and structural conditions, many of the lessons from change management and the science of industrial transformation are only applicable in limited or highly modified ways. For evidence of this, one can look at various perspectives, including those that we have offered, on such topics as <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/blogs/rethinking-higher-education/lessons-disruption" target="_blank">disruption</a>, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/education/learning/education-technology.html" target="_blank">technology management</a>, and so-called "<a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/media/Excerpt_IHESpecialReport_Growing-Role-of-Mergers-in-Higher-Ed.pdf" target="_blank">mergers and acquisitions</a>" in higher education. In each of these spaces, the "market forces" and "market rules" for higher education are different than they are in business, or even in government. This has always been the case and it is made more obvious by COVID-19.</p> <p>Second, with so much excitement about innovation in higher education, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that students are—and should remain—the core cause for innovation. Higher education's capacity to absorb new ideas is strong. But the ideas that endure are those designed to benefit students, and therefore society. This is important to remember because not all innovations are designed with students in mind. The recent history of innovation in higher education includes several cautionary tales of what can happen when institutional interests—or worse, <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/02/09/apollos-new-owners-seek-fresh-start-beleaguered-company" target="_blank">shareholder</a> interests—are placed above student well-being.</p>
Photo: Getty Images<p>Third, it is abundantly apparent that universities must leverage technology to increase educational quality and access. The rapid shift to delivering an education that complies with social distancing guidelines speaks volumes about the adaptability of higher education institutions, but this transition has also posed unique difficulties for colleges and universities that had been slow to adopt digital education. The last decade has shown that online education, implemented effectively, can meet or even surpass the quality of in-person <a href="https://link-springer-com.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/article/10.1007/s10639-019-10027-z" target="_blank">instruction</a>.</p><p>Digital instruction, broadly defined, leverages online capabilities and integrates adaptive learning methodologies, predictive analytics, and innovations in instructional design to enable increased student engagement, personalized learning experiences, and improved learning outcomes. The ability of these technologies to transcend geographic barriers and to shrink the marginal cost of educating additional students makes them essential for delivering education at scale.</p><p>As a bonus, and it is no small thing given that they are the core cause for innovation, students embrace and enjoy digital instruction. It is their preference to learn in a format that leverages technology. This should not be a surprise; it is now how we live in all facets of life.</p><p>Still, we have only barely begun to conceive of the impact digital education will have. For example, emerging virtual and augmented reality technologies that facilitate interactive, hands-on learning will transform the way that learners acquire and apply new knowledge. Technology-enabled learning cannot replace the traditional college experience or ensure the survival of any specific college, but it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale. This has always been the case, and it is made more obvious by COVID-19.</p>
What conditions of the new normal were emerging suspicions?<p>Our collective thinking about the role of institutional or university-to-university collaboration and networking has benefitted from a new clarity in light of COVID-19. We now recognize more than ever that colleges and universities must work together to ensure that the American higher education system is resilient and sufficiently robust to meet the needs of students and their families.</p> <p>In recent weeks, various commentators have suggested that higher education will face a wave of institutional <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/scott-galloway-predicts-colleges-will-close-due-to-pandemic-2020-5" target="_blank">closures</a> and consolidations and that large institutions with significant online instruction capacity will become dominant.</p> <p>While ASU is the largest public university in the United States by enrollment and among the most well-equipped in online education, we strongly oppose "let them fail" mindsets. The strength of American higher education relies on its institutional diversity, and on the ability of colleges and universities to meet the needs of their local communities and educate local students. The needs of learners are highly individualized, demanding a wide range of options to accommodate the aspirations and learning styles of every kind of student. Education will become less relevant and meaningful to students, and less responsive to local needs, if institutions of higher learning are allowed to fail. </p> <p>Preventing this outcome demands that colleges and universities work together to establish greater capacity for remote, distributed education. This will help institutions with fewer resources adapt to our new normal and continue to fulfill their mission of serving students, their families, and their communities. Many had suspected that collaboration and networking were preferable over letting vulnerable colleges fail. COVID-19's new normal seems to be confirming this.</p>
President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address during the Arizona State University graduation ceremony at Sun Devil Stadium May 13, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona. Over 65,000 people attended the graduation.
Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images<p>A second condition of the new normal that many had suspected to be true in recent years is the limited role that any one university or type of university can play as an exemplar to universities more broadly. For decades, the evolution of higher education has been shaped by the widespread imitation of a small number of elite universities. Most public research universities could benefit from replicating Berkeley or Michigan. Most small private colleges did well by replicating Williams or Swarthmore. And all universities paid close attention to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, and Yale. It is not an exaggeration to say that the logic of replication has guided the evolution of higher education for centuries, both in the US and abroad.</p><p>Only recently have we been able to move beyond replication to new strategies of change, and COVID-19 has confirmed the legitimacy of doing so. For example, cases such as <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2020/03/10/harvard-moves-classes-online-advises-students-stay-home-after-spring-break-response-covid-19/" target="_blank">Harvard's</a> eviction of students over the course of less than one week or <a href="https://www.nhregister.com/news/coronavirus/article/Mayor-New-Haven-asks-for-coronavirus-help-Yale-15162606.php" target="_blank">Yale's apparent reluctance</a> to work with the city of New Haven, highlight that even higher education's legacy gold standards have limits and weaknesses. We are hopeful that the new normal will include a more active and earnest recognition that we need many types of universities. We think the new normal invites us to rethink the very nature of "gold standards" for higher education.</p>
A graduate student protests MIT's rejection of some evacuation exemption requests.
Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images<p>Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we had started to suspect and now understand that America's colleges and universities are among the many institutions of democracy and civil society that are, by their very design, incapable of being sufficiently responsive to the full spectrum of modern challenges and opportunities they face. Far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted. And without new designs, we can expect postsecondary success for these same students to be as elusive in the new normal, as it was in the <a href="http://pellinstitute.org/indicators/reports_2019.shtml" target="_blank">old normal</a>. This is not just because some universities fail to sufficiently recognize and engage the promise of diversity, this is because few universities have been designed from the outset to effectively serve the unique needs of lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color.</p>
Where can the new normal take us?<p>As colleges and universities face the difficult realities of adapting to COVID-19, they also face an opportunity to rethink their operations and designs in order to respond to social needs with greater agility, adopt technology that enables education to be delivered at scale, and collaborate with each other in order to maintain the dynamism and resilience of the American higher education system.</p> <p>COVID-19 raises questions about the relevance, the quality, and the accessibility of higher education—and these are the same challenges higher education has been grappling with for years. </p> <p>ASU has been able to rapidly adapt to the present circumstances because we have spent nearly two decades not just anticipating but <em>driving</em> innovation in higher education. We have adopted a <a href="https://www.asu.edu/about/charter-mission-and-values" target="_blank">charter</a> that formalizes our definition of success in terms of "who we include and how they succeed" rather than "<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/17/forget-varsity-blues-madness-lets-talk-about-students-who-cant-afford-college/" target="_blank">who we exclude</a>." We adopted an entrepreneurial <a href="https://president.asu.edu/read/higher-logic" target="_blank">operating model</a> that moves at the speed of technological and social change. We have launched initiatives such as <a href="https://www.instride.com/how-it-works/" target="_blank">InStride</a>, a platform for delivering continuing education to learners already in the workforce. We developed our own robust technological capabilities in ASU <a href="https://edplus.asu.edu/" target="_blank">EdPlus</a>, a hub for research and development in digital learning that, even before the current crisis, allowed us to serve more than 45,000 fully online students. We have also created partnerships with other forward-thinking institutions in order to mutually strengthen our capabilities for educational accessibility and quality; this includes our role in co-founding the <a href="https://theuia.org/" target="_blank">University Innovation Alliance</a>, a consortium of 11 public research universities that share data and resources to serve students at scale. </p> <p>For ASU, and universities like ASU, the "new normal" of a post-COVID world looks surprisingly like the world we already knew was necessary. Our record breaking summer 2020 <a href="https://asunow.asu.edu/20200519-sun-devil-life-summer-enrollment-sets-asu-record" target="_blank">enrollment</a> speaks to this. What COVID demonstrates is that we were already headed in the right direction and necessitates that we continue forward with new intensity and, we hope, with more partners. In fact, rather than "new normal" we might just say, it's "go time." </p>
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
Paul Krugman on the Virtues of Selfishness<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="7ZtAkm6C" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="828936bf6953080e9018307354c0c02b"> <div id="botr_7ZtAkm6C_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7ZtAkm6C-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/7ZtAkm6C-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7ZtAkm6C-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> The Nobel Prize-winning economist on the virtues of selfishness.
Evolution Is Moving Us Away from Selfishness. But Where Is It Taking ...<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cyeqmYCb" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="6c5efecb56456e9acc25cf36935b1826"> <div id="botr_cyeqmYCb_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cyeqmYCb-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cyeqmYCb-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cyeqmYCb-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Exploring Morality and Selfishness in Modern Times<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="02eX1Cag" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="45cc6180db791f32683988fb52faff26"> <div id="botr_02eX1Cag_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/02eX1Cag-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/02eX1Cag-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> Philosopher Peter Singer discusses the state of global ethics.
Parenting could be a distraction from what mattered most to him: his writing.
Ernest Hemingway was affectionately called “Papa," but what kind of dad was he?
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
Hollywood has created an idea of aliens that doesn't match the science.
- Ask someone what they think aliens look like and you'll probably get a description heavily informed by films and pop culture. The existence of life beyond our planet has yet to be confirmed, but there are clues as to the biology of extraterrestrials in science.
- "Don't give them claws," says biologist E.O. Wilson. "Claws are for carnivores and you've got to be an omnivore to be an E.T. There just isn't enough energy available in the next trophic level down to maintain big populations and stable populations that can evolve civilization."
- In this compilation, Wilson, theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Bill Nye, and evolutionary biologist Jonathan B. Losos explain why aliens don't look like us and why Hollywood depictions are mostly inaccurate.