In the media environment, few people are able to connect, says the head of the new media platform
Journalism that would bring more unity, cooperation, dialogue and solutions also on a global level. This is one of the ambitions of Nuova Global, a global media platform that has only recently been launched. It brings together publishers and magazines known worldwide under the name of New Town, including the Slovak one. We talked to its director Stanislav Lencz about why it was created and what it would like to bring to the media world.
NOVE MESTO: Who inspired your idea for Nuova global?
Stanislav LENCZ: The idea to create a global media platform Nuova Global originated in the workshop of Citta Nuovas, which Chiara Lubich founded back in 1951. At that time, this media work had a clear mandate – to be a voice of fraternity, equality, and a vision of a united world, from politics to economics to the various spheres of social life.
After Chiara Lubich’s death, however, a new phase began. It was necessary to take the DNA of her charisma and see if it would hold up in the new reality. This also happened in the media and journalistic spheres, which were covered by the Citta Nuovas, which for a long time had operated only within their own countries.
The project has three objectives: to build tools for dialogue, to defend the components of unity, and above all, to act to meet global needs.
N. M.: What did you find?
S. L.: We have found that there are many strengths, but also critical points. The Citta Nuovas had to admit that they have a problem with economic sustainability in the current mediatic world. The second aspect was internationality. There was a network of over thirty fairly established publishers who had a living contact with the reality in their countries but could not make enough use of it.
The third challenge was to ask to what extent these works can influence public opinion and partner with other thought leaders who are influencing the world.
So these challenges and difficulties were named in detail and in 2019 the decision came from the General Council of the Focolare Movement to find an external strategic partner in the media field to help solve them.
N. M.: Who has become this partner?
S. L.: Consulus Global Network
N. M.: You talk about translating the idea of unity into the media environment, which sounds very noble. Can something like that work? Is such idea not too dreamy?
S. L.: Yes, it would be very utopian if it was just left to some idea of unity and a spiritual idea that we wanted to influence the world with. However, this vision is based on almost 70 years of the real existence of media institutions of various sizes and maturity. Many of them have a solid history and are represented by professional journalists.
It is typical of many large media projects that they have a vision and convey a view of society. This was and is our idea. We believe that it is possible for people, while remaining human and professional in their field, to be inspired by the very vision of brotherhood and unity in diversity and thus change the world for the better.
N. M.: However, big media projects often have prestige, a name, and resources in addition to a vision. This can be quite a strong motivation for individuals. What should be the driving force for people working in your media projects?
S. L.: I think today’s times call for people who can see around the corner. They look not just at profit, but also at the common good. The question is, what exactly should be the ‘drive’ behind such action? We perceive that it should be the Gospel and its values, which have been around for over two thousand years. Chiara Lubich was able to work with this. She was able to inspire people who had accomplished something in the world and who were united by a similar mindset even if they did not share the same religious vision, for example.
N. M.: However, Chiara Lubich lived in a different cultural and historical context. How do you want to communicate Gospel values in Slovakia today, in a society that is much more secularized and quite sensitive to such efforts?
S. L.: I think that when it comes to sensitivity to these things, similar discourses can be found everywhere, not only in Slovakia. In the case of the Slovak project nm.sk, it is and will be about the extent to which it can be aware of what it has and can offer, not just thinking about a doctrine, but about the concrete people who have lived here for decades and who have been inspired by these values.
It will also be about the ability to connect and dialogue with those who think alike about things. I am not afraid that there would be few such people in Slovakia who think about the vision of a sustainable and value-based Slovakia and who are able to come out of themselves in an international context. In this sense, they can belong to any part of the spectrum.
What we want to bring is an approach to dialogue, the courage to move even on difficult issues. We want to invite people of good will, but at the same time we are not afraid to communicate the history-tested experience of Christianity and lived faith.
N. M.: What are the themes you think the Citta Nuovas could bring?
S. L.: That’s a good question. When one embarks on something, one can analyze things from all sides, but ultimately things crystallize just by walking. Even in Nuova Global and the Sitta Nuova projects, it was and is life that shows us important topics such as family, partner relationships, the topic of upbringing today, developmental psychology, communication with the young that we should be addressing.
These are some of the lines that have proven themselves through specific challenges and projects, and in these topics we also see many partners from society and the Church with whom we want to collaborate. Other themes that resonate are, for example, the theme of community building, politics, education.
N. M.: And what about explicitly controversial topics, do you see room for dialogue there as well?
S. L.: I think so. Dialogue is ultimately about being able to listen, to understand the other person’s point of view and to take them as a positive partner in solving a given problem. We may need to clarify our vocabulary, our starting points, to name what we consider to be primary and secondary goals, or what are our boundaries that we cannot go beyond. But here again, I would start from the premise that as long as there is a clear will, it is possible to have a dialogue with anyone, however absurd it may sound.
N. M.: How do you perceive this effort to have a dialogue in the media space in Slovakia?
S. L.: I see a hole in the market. Because most people rely on differentiating themselves rather than maximizing collaboration and creating the conditions for collaborative work. There are many people who can name their difference of opinion, but fewer who can bring others together. These are the so-called networkers, the organisers of dialogue and cooperation, who would retreat into the background with their ambition to assert themselves and seek to uplift others.
N. M.: Do you think the Citta Nuovas are managing to fill this hole?
S. L.: I think there are still large reserves. The experience of dialogue is there, but the impact is not that significant. That is why recently, even in the Focolare movement, there has been talk about the art of dialogue, about schools of dialogue. Similarly, it could be spoken about in practical areas.
N. M.: What is it?
S. L.: I think we still haven’t found the courage to come out. The last Focolare General Assembly updated the call of the previous one. It spoke again of the need to go out from the sense of security of our groups, into our workplaces, into society. And also, about the need to be adequately prepared. For such going out will always test us to see how well we can translate our spiritual aspirations into honest work, learning and growth. Those who have found this courage are rightly spoken of today as creators of dialogue and are rewarded for it. For they have a real impact.
N. M.: A link between the different editorial offices of Citta Nuovas in the world could be a step out. What might future collaboration between them look like?
S. L.: First and foremost, we see this as a space for sharing ideas and content that can benefit and influence life in other countries. Another level where there could be connections is in the professional field, working with data and international indexes, creating a platform for the professional public, with ideas such as leadership, with finding answers in health, education: all this has the ambition to reach out to leaders at a global level. The third level is the question of funding. It turns out that for fundraising to be successful, it has to be managed through global instruments, and this is also the way to the economic sustainability of Citta Nuovas.
N. M.: Sometimes we can encounter a lack of experience and professionalism when it comes to such big visions and their implementation. How do you perceive this?
S. L.: Yes, sometimes when good works are made, out of love for their nobility, we are afraid to follow professional procedures. As if their spiritual value would be diminished by this. Experience shows, however, that this need not be so. There are many social projects with budgets in the tens of millions of euros that are able to put a factual name on their objectives in a way that is legible to the people. People are then happy to support such projects. So there is no need to be afraid of that.
N. M.: The term community journalism often appears in your vision. What do you mean by this?
S. L.: During the period of work on Nuova Global and the Citta Nuovas initiative, we discovered that there are many types of journalism today. From investigative to solutions journalism, which not only passively describes facts but also provides effective solutions to problems, and many others.
Community journalism is a concept that originated in the Citta Nuova environment and grew out of years of experience on the ground, living among and for the people. It has taken shape in a particular way in South America, where the Citta Nuova Project has a long and fine tradition.
Journalists often pointed to local problems and tried to highlight concrete solutions because they lived with the local people and were themselves often participants in such social projects. It is therefore a type of journalism that is close to the people and their problems and that also comes up with approaches that are community-building.
N. M.: Could this somehow relate to creating and influencing content?
S. L.: That is certainly a matter of dialogue. At one of our workshops, we also talked about what kind of journalism we want to develop in the Citta Nuovas. It was obvious that this would be influenced by different environments. Teams in Europe looked at it differently, those in South America or Africa looked at it differently.
For example, a unifying element is important for our European experience – either it is the editorial environment that decides on the content, or it is the editor-in-chief who takes into account the opinion of his team and makes the decisions. From this perspective, it can be about transparently naming some key, which is the decision-making criteria.
There may also be external stimuli coming in. The life of an editorial office is tied to some wider social community it serves. But I dare not put any boundaries on this now; what is certain is that independence and freedom should always be preserved in the journalistic mission and service.
To follow Nuova Global’s projects: nuovaglobal.org
Interview by Veronika Rendeková
Stanislav Lencz serves as the global director of Nuova Global Initiative with a solid mission to promote and support peace-building through facilitating dialogue and nurturing mutual trust, understanding and acceptance within the global community.
Veronika studied media communication in Košice and later in Rome. She worked as a volunteer in Angola. After her return she worked on development projects in the non-profit sector. She is interested in social and political events.
“…this vision is based on almost 70 years of the real existence of media institutions of various sizes and maturity. “
-Stanislav Lencz, Global Director of Nuova Global Initiative