“The Bagnaia Convention is a moment of dialogue, where openness prevails over guardedness, where debate beats conflict, where courage gets the better of fear, provided that we share and agree on one sole concept: That everyone has a right to their own opinions, but not to their own facts”
It is with these words that Andrea Checcherini, President of the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori, opened the 10th edition of the ‘Growing Between the Lines’ conference, which is taking place at Borgo Bagnaia. “Young People & Education represent the most powerful pairing for all those who want to change the world. And it is right under these words that we open the tenth edition of ‘Growing between the lines”, added Ceccherini, who wished to focus everyone’s attention on the importance of dialogue and debate.
“Every one of us, not least myself, will acknowledge that nature gave us two ears and only one mouth. This should stand as a hint to speak half as much as we listen”, continued the President of the Osservatorio. “Bagnaia should be a place of open debate, a place of debate between all the editors, and a place of debate between young people and editors. A place of debate between the world of publishing and that of technology. A place of debate between Italy and the USA. At Bagnaia we also believe in the value of dialogue, the only method to ensure that discourse surpasses conflict”. In light of this, also onto the stage of the tenth edition of ‘Growing Between the Lines’ came a who’s who of American media: the Director of ‘The New York Times’, Dran Baquet, the Director of ‘The Wall Street Journal’, Gerard Baker, the Director of ‘The Washington Post’, Martin Baron, the Vice President of Google’s news service, Richard Gingras, the director of Facebook’s news division, Alex Hardman, the Director of Global Content Partnerships for Twitter, Peter Greenberger, and the CEO of Time Warner, Jeff Bewkes. Next to them, representing the world of Italian editors was the CEO of the Rcs MediaGroup, Urbano Cairo, the President of the GEDI Group, Marco De Benedetti, the President and CEO of Exor NV and shareholder of ‘The Economist’, John Elkann, the CEO of Poligrafici Editoriale, Andrea Riffeser Monti, the CEO of ‘Il Sole 24 Ore’, Franco Mosceetii, the President of Fieg, Maurizio Costa and the President of Rai, Monica Maggioni. And further along from them were the directors of the main daily newspapers of our country, like Luciano Fontana of the Corriere della Sera, Guido Gentili from Il Sole 24 Ore, Maurizio Molinari from La Stampa, Virman Cusenza of Il Messaggero, Paolo Giacomin from the Quotidiano Nazionale, and Massimo Russo, from the Digital Division of the GEDI Group. Also present were significant members of our civil society: from the president of Acri, Giuseppe Guzzetti, to the maestro Andrea Bocelli, and from the president of Italia-Cina Foundation, Cesare Romiti, to the president of the cultural association ‘Attilio Monti’, Marisa Monti Riffeser.
In charge of leading the two days of discussions were a pair new to the Bagnaia stage: the Sky TG24 journalist Stefania Pinna and the Vice-Director of the Corriere della Sera Massiomo Gramellini. “The relationship between Italy and the USA has always been a productive one and here at Bagnaia we intend to continue to value it- seeing as on the one hand Italian editors have always drawn inspiration from the innovative capacities of their American counterparts, who were always more willing to experiment, dare and risk, and on the other hand I believe that American editors have always succumbed to the charm of our humanist culture, and our tendency to put people at the heart of of things, and to let everything else serve that cause, without exception”, explained Andrea Checcerini, who outlined in 4 general topics the central theme of this edition of ‘Growing Between The Lines’, which was to be wholly dedicated to the role of quality journalism in the digital era. These four topics were Trust, Social Networks, Fake News and Media Literacy. “We are not burying our heads in the sand: the astronomical rise of fake news has created a link between the world of publishing and that of technology: both of which have now understood, perhaps for the first time, that they need eachother. They now realise that by advancing alone they may be quicker, yet that only by advancing together can they go further. “, explained the President of the Osservatorio Permanente Giovani-Editori, “and it is precisely on this pretext that dialogue can further serve communal interests, not just the interest of the market, but most importantly that of our democracy.”
Continuing on the theme of fake news, Checcherini reiterated the role of ‘Quality Information in the Classroom’ as an efficient deterrent against misinformation, due to its capacity to develop the critical thinking of students. “Faced with the current deluge of fake news and its ability to seem so real, we cannot resign ourselves to the idea that fact checking is the only solution, and that technology has all the answers, because every proficient solution is based on the centrality of man, the dignity of individual”, explained the President of the Osservatorio, “And that individual has a head upon their shoulders that they need to know how to use, and training it with media literacy exercises, like ‘Quality Information in the Classroom’, has one sole objective: to imbue that individual with mastery over themselves.”