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Focus on Agence Centrale de Presse (ACP) with editor in chief Judikaël Hirel

Editor in chief Judikaël Hirel
Editor in chief Judikaël Hirel
Agence Centrale de Presse or ACP is described as the first agency of the digital era. The news agency's main aim is to make freelance work more viable and enabling freelance journalists to post their editorial pieces, which are subsequently made available to media outlets. Editor in chief Judikaël Hirel, previously at Digicia Média, tells us all about the functioning and structuring of Agence Centrale de Presse.

About the publication:

Who is Agence Centrale de Presse (ACP) targeted at?
ACP is the first agency of the digital era. It is aimed at journalists and print media (print, Web, mobile, etc.). It features news articles in French and English.

What subjects do you cover?
As our network of journalists grows, SCP will endeavour to cover all subsjects and all countries. Our only limitation is the number of journalist and media we work with. No more than 1500 journalists will contribute to ACP's content while we have a cap of 1000 media outlets. This will enable us to make sure that the information published on ACP is accurate and of high-standard.

What makes you different from the other publications in your sector?
ACP is very original in the sense that it will heavily rely on a network of freelance journalist. The news agency is currently working on a secured platform, to be launched in January 2010, which will enable media outlets to access a wide pool of editorial pieces, posted by our network of freelance journalists.

We do not intend to compete with existing news agencies (AFP, Reuters and AP) as we will only offer features containing a minimum of 1500 characters. In the current economic crisis, work can be scarce and this will provide freelance journalists with some kind of regular flow of revenue. Media outlets, on the other side, will be able to access a wide pool of editorial features for a set cost, they can control.

About PRs:

Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, round tables, events) or will you keep them at arm’s length?
We used a news agency for our launch and for the creation of all our documentation.

No self-censorship. A lot of journalists complain about the number of press releases they receive, I am not one of them. My philosophy is try to put yourself in the journalist shoes, it is question of respect and efficiency. I will never complain that I receive too much information, but PRs must bare in mind that as a journalist I go beyond the press release to question and challenge the information received.

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
I think journalism is all about applied curiosity. Information received can lead to a reflection on other subjects or issues so PRs should not be shy.

Do you have any advice for PRs?
Yes, two. Please endeavour to concentrate on the added value of the PR and journalist relationship: create online tools gathering useful information (tariffs, visual etc. )and focus on relevant requests.

Is it useful to contact journalists just to know whether or not they have received your press releases? This will only push journalists to be constantly on voicemail, thus shutting PRs out.

About you:

What do you do in the news agency?
I am editor in chief, responsible for the whole orchestra.
I overlook how the agency work, manage the team, set up all the procedures enabling all to their job the best they can.

What interests you most about your job?
Designing! Taking an idea to transform it into a concept, theorising and challenging the facts. It's all about imagining a world network of contributors and media outlets gathered in one place the Internet.

Tell us more about your professional curriculum?
In two words, write and manage. I am a pure academic product. I first studied Political Science (and dedicated my thesis to Ouest-France). I went on to study law and print management. I am from Rennes and worked for Ouest-France when I was a student, then moved to Provence to carry on with my journalistic career.

I have spent the last ten years as deputy managing editor and editor in chief of various magazines specialised in business start-up, internet, hi-tech, interior design, car, etc. My main task: create a reading universe around a shared interest.

Dead or alive who would you love to interview?
First of all, Pierre Desproges because his quill has always hypnotized me. I would have loved to ask him to define "writer".

Alive, it would be Odon Vallet, just to understand, how in this current society, this man has donated his fortune to create a foundation entirely dedicated to education.