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Ex-iTélé journalists create new social media-focused news service

explicite_logoA group of French journalists that left Vivendi-owned news channel iTélé following the recent dispute between the channel’s management and staff have set up a new digital news initiative focused on distribution via social networks rather than broadcast.

The initiative, Explicite, has been created by 54 journalists among the group that quit iTélé as a result of the dispute, which saw staff at the channel strike for an unprecedented 31 days in protest at decisions taken by Vivendi’s management – notably its decision to go ahead with a new show featuring controversial host Jean-Marc Morandini, who was being investigated after accusations of sexual misconduct.

Explicite will be distributed via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, kicking off on January 20 – the date of Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president.

The service will make several strands of live news coverage available simultaneously, allowing viewers to choose which stories to follow.

The outfit will be headed up by Olivier Ravanello, a journalist specializing in international relations and former head of the journalists’ society at iTélé.

The Explicite team is currently installed in temporary accommodation in Paris’s 17th Arrondissement and is working on a voluntary basis. The team reportedly plans to finance the project initially through donations, although it is likely to seek outside investors with the proviso that they sign up to a charter guaranteeing editorial independence.

Ravanello told France Inter radio that the service would not be a traditional news site but would be “organized, structured and editorialized” and would be focused on social networks “to meet the needs of people who use these sites and are not completely satisfied by traditional media”. He said Explicite would give the journalists working on it independence from proprietorial interference. He said that the outfit was looking at possible ways to fund itself including crowdfunding.

Ravanello said that social networks permitted a more interactive format and interaction with people who posed questions about news.