French journalists visit Oman on a fragrant mission

A group of French journalists on a fragrant mission to Oman to discover the roots and fruits of Omani perfumery, share a few insights on the changing universal role of scribes
Just like food and football, perfume has always been a unifying factor between Oman and France.

Seven journalists from various print and audio-visual medium were in Oman this week as part of a mission called Perfume of the East. The dynamic team has embarked on an intriguing journey to Oman to uncover the secrets of Omani perfumery as part of an ongoing exhibition at the French Institute of Arab World in Paris.

Their quest was graced by H E Veronique Aulagnon, setting the stage for an enriching experience. Jointly hosted by Amouge, French Institute of Arab World and the Omani government, the journalists will be travelling to various places including Jabal Akhdar and Salalah to track the aroma of roses and frankincense.

Muscat Daily spoke to a few of the French journalists on issues that are of burning concern in the present world of journalism. Despite being a tech-savvy journalist, my mobile notepad suddenly shut down leaving me in a confused state of being unable to either note, snap or record any of the proceedings. In a moment of unexpected connectivity, the French journalist graciously handed me his red pen, saying, “I’m glad you’re back to the conventional method.” It was a reminder that while technology advances, the basics remain irreplaceable.

Eric Bietry Rivierre, senior correspondent, Le Figaro
On ‘death’ of newspapers: I am not of the conviction that newspapers will die away; this is, indeed, a phase and there will be some changes. Content will be more preferred in a brief format, though for serious and industry readers lengthy content will still be preferred. Papers are under threat but they will continue to exist for serious readers.

On manipulated news: The threat of manipulated news has always loomed large all around the world. It is upto the journalists how to stay neutral and never be swayed by personal opinions.

On AI: Chatbots like ChatGPT can automate several tasks but can never replace the human touch and emotion that a reporter can have while filing his article. Chatbots (ChatGPT) were explored by many. While AI offers efficiency, it also poses questions about authenticity and the human touch in storytelling.

Lion Pailles, senior correspondent, Le Monde
Impact of Social Media: I agree that young people these day are getting more information that are fast through social media, including my 21 year old daughter. However, when one needs to get the authentic news, they always turn to credible sources, which are the newspapers.

How to save newspapers: The best method is to have digital subscription as more and more people, these days, prefer to read through their devices. At Le Monde, we charge 9Euros per month, and the response has been good.

Photography: A picture is worth 1000 words and a picture always lends credibility to an article. A photographer is always the reporter’s best friend professionally. I also believe that journalists also need to learn the basics of photography. Our publication recognised the evolving role of photography. They stressed that modern journalists must also be adept at capturing compelling images to complement their narratives.

Isabelle Chenu, correspondent, Radio France Internationale
The Call for Bravery: These days journalists are under pressure from every corner and thus what I want to say to young reporters is to be brave and report the actual facts with courage and objectivity, which is always needed to report on sensitive issues, and thus, often facing threats and intimidation in pursuit of the truth. We are silent warriors, though with pens and lenses.


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