Carlos Franganillo (Oviedo, 40 years old) prefers to be standing than sitting. This is how he faces that sunset of the talking head that is now in style in the news. He has been a correspondent for TVE for eight years in which he jumped from Putin’s Russia to Trump’s United States to value the country in which he was born much more. Sereno and great father (he has four children), he tries to find new ways of narrating in a format, the newscast, which is still alive but in need of slight and permanent changes. His beard and his rather precocious gray hair hide the boyish face of a hardened and very credible journalist.
Question. What does a news program have that is one of the few things that has survived the internet era almost intact?
Answer. Survive, in quotes. The format is evolving and is looking for its new niche in this new way of consuming television in other ways.
P. What are, if any, down to the ground?
R. We have bet on TVE to go out more, for closer to the field through the presenter. Also to analyze in more detail some aspects of the present time. Put the brakes on and dedicate a background treatment of up to seven or eight minutes to a matter that we find interesting, trying to be very didactic and not on a daily basis, but when the occasion deserves it. We do so because the pace and character of the information is taking on epileptic features.
R. Constant shocks, shocks, storms, perhaps because we have become used to it due to the effect of social networks.
P. Doesn’t television contribute to that environment?
R. Lately it has been imposed and is getting entangled with infotainment, where it is almost no longer distinguished what is social gathering and what information. It is contagious because of its effectiveness and, in addition, it is cheap. Instead of sending correspondents to cover conflicts, you fill the grid of opinion-makers who speak the same about the volcano as they do about job creation. That works and even has an addictive effect.
P. And constant noise. Don’t you want to get out as a correspondent again?
R. No, I think this country has many good things. And when you realize it is when you are outside, for example. I do not regret having returned. I have faith in him, even though the stage is so polarized. This is one of the best places to live: in terms of citizen security, a high degree of civilization and understanding, with a strength of public services. If I compare it with Russia or the United States, where I was a correspondent, the difference is enormous. This does not mean that we do not live in times of certain decadence in the West. We see it in the United States. What happens there is contagious.
P. Still traumatized by Trump? It must have been quite stressful for him to live under the presidential tweet.
R. That way of communicating, those alternative realities … I had the alerts set and it became quite intense. One of the most stressful times in my professional life. His messages had consequences.
P. Maleficent. Still, you are a most serene fellow.
R. I look like it, but I’m not.
P. What makes you nervous?
R. Well, trying to do things right, I’m obsessive. Inside I am nervous. Increasingly.
P. With four children, too.
R. Yes, but that’s not what makes me the most nervous. The fact of being in RTVE imposes a plus of rigor and informative tension. This house must play an important and transcendent role in society.
R. We must be especially neat. Soothe the speech and get away from histrionics and polarization.
P. In a video of yours where you explain your communication secrets, you talk about security, of studying the issues to digest them. In your case, he says, to convert them into vitamin because you are elegant. But there are others who excrete them, with forgiveness.
R. You have to take chamomile from time to time. Communication speech can be very toxic. The media have lost their grip, technology has changed the way we consume information and, somehow, some of them are running amok in pursuit of viewers or readers. I’m not criticizing it, uh, describing it. Many see a way out in positioning themselves in a trench. It is a very toxic dynamic.
P. How to get out?
R. I do not know. There are a number of social dynamics.
P. And policies?
R. Possibly everyone is putting their grain of sand in that toxicity, but the main change comes from technology, which has positive things and others that do not. Politicians contribute to that with absurd debates.
R. Well, when they focus on identity debates and not on pension reform, for example. They are banal matters. It is an effect of Trumpism or of what Putin has armed in Russia with his nationalist framework. Russia fights above its weight, but the weapon of information intoxication is something that has dominated since KGB times. Furthermore, the West, with its degradation, is putting it on a platter by offering weaknesses without comparing Russia or China with any Western democracy. That’s where that trend goes. Those lessons have soaked it all.
P. Even though all this obviously drags us into a disastrous situation. Not just the division in the US, with the immediate effect of Brexit. The world, since the social networks that led to these ascents to power were invented, is it going for better or for worse?
R. They catalyze currents that already existed and that go hysterical at great speed. What happens with denial with vaccines, for example, is a consequence of that as well.
P. And you, how do you detoxify?
R. I try to pay little attention to Twitter, I have always been active, but I try to shield myself or block people who are looking for a fight or are insulting.
P. But who can insult you?
R. They are activated strategies, I don’t even think they are specific people. It does not take away my sleep, far from it.
P. Twitter is dead?
R. It has been degraded a lot. For a time the criticisms even helped me to do my job better, but every time I find that incentive less.
P. Now that they have been put to walk around the set, I confess that I suffer if they stumble. Is the talking head over?
R. If it contributes and explains things better through screens, as if in some way, we saw ourselves in the role of a teacher, it helps. After all, it is a very old technique. Provides more dynamism. I explain things better on my feet, I have spent a lot of time on the street.
P. Making a newscast while all of Spain dines, are you hungry?
R. It’s that we eat late. Almost when you have a snack. And my biorhythms are somewhat altered. I sleep little but well.
P. Are you already suffering from the fame syndrome?
R. It’s that I don’t do a lot of social life. I hardly ever go out to dinner, but when people recognize me they are very loving, kind and not intrusive. They see me almost as the baker or the neighbor, in a very familiar way.
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