Jerome Fenoglio, second act. Twelve months after the previous visit, the editor of the famous French newspaper Le Monde is back in the Langhe. Guest of the Dogliani TV Festival, where he discussed with Aldo Cazzullo on the most topical issues at the moment – starting with the upcoming Italian political elections -, the journalist from across the Alps stressed his connection with the Langhe. After all, his roots are precisely in what, for a long time, were the hills of the “malora”, in Alta Langa. As IDEA had told, his great-grandparents were in fact originally from Cortemilia and Gorrino, a hamlet of Pezzolo Valle Uzzone.
In light of this, the encounter with the places from which his story began is for him every time an opportunity for new discoveries, in the name of strong emotions. On the tour of 2021, Fenoglio, who in the past had already reached the Langhe on a couple of occasions (remaining however “incognito”), was guided to the discovery of Cortemilia, also making a stop in Alba, guest, among others, of the Beppe Fenoglio Study Center and the Ceretto family. In the capital of the hazelnut, then, he had been appointed by the local Confraternity as “ambassador of the tonda gentile in the world”. And he, amazed by such a warm welcome, had made two promises: “learn to speak Italian well and return to Alta Langa with increasing frequency”. On the Dogliani stage, Fenoglio rethought those promises: first the effects of the health emergency, then the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis kept him away from studying Italian. But the link with the Langhe has remained intact. He confirmed this by proudly exhibiting the brooch received a few moments before from the delegation of the Confraternity who came to the Festival to greet him. And he confirmed it during the interview he gave us.
Fenoglio is always smiling when he visits the Langhe.
«When I manage to return to this territory, I am really very happy. And it is not only due to the fact that my ancestors were originally from here … ».
What strikes you most about this area?
“First of all, the places, the landscapes, the atmospheres: it’s all fantastic. Then the locals: they are extremely kind and welcoming. I have to thank them because every time they give me a particularly warm hug. And then there is a third aspect: the value that local communities attribute to their roots and to the local culture. It is a very important quality ».
A negative feature?
«Also for reasons of environmental sustainability, I would have preferred to go to Piedmont using the train. But unfortunately it was not possible. I hope that in the future there will be a faster and more comfortable connection between our countries ».
Speaking of problems …
Humanity is encountering several in this precise historical period. What to do?
«Helping people to orient themselves in an increasingly complex reality must be one of the priorities for us journalists. Politics should behave in the same way. There is a need to analyze the problems in their entirety and in their complexity, leaving aside individual points of view and avoiding looking for the guilty at all costs, as is done with foreigners, for example… ».
Where do we start from then?
«From one consideration, namely that the problems of others are also ours, and vice versa. Life itself is complicated, the crises we are facing right now are complicated. But they are there, they are real, they really exist and, therefore, we must face them. We must face them together. This is what we have to make people understand. This task falls to us journalists and, as I said, also to politicians. If we do not take responsibility of this kind, everything becomes even more difficult and articulated ».
What do you blame the politicians for?
“One thing above all: they try to make citizens believe that simple solutions exist to solve complicated problems, but that’s not the case …”.
He stressed the importance of information: will “traditional” newspapers be able to survive?
«Despite everything, I imagine a positive future for the“ traditional ”newspapers. This is above all for one reason: thanks to the continuous development of digital media, the number of potential readers, especially young people, is constantly growing. What needs to be done is to strengthen the editorial offices, strengthen their role and objectives, “produce” detailed and in-depth news, focus on quality ».
He is confident, in short.
«Yes, also because those who choose newspapers to get information want to benefit from an extremely valid, professional and quality service. Basically, the key is to always propose “good journalism” ».
And how do you reach people who don’t usually read newspapers?
“New technologies and new media are, in this case, the solution. Digital information, thanks also to social networks, can reach any type of audience, it can bring anyone closer to the news. I am certainly thinking of young people, but also of the elderly, of professionals, and I could go on indefinitely because the solutions we have available today can practically allow us to reach everyone ».
For her, young people are central. What message would you like to address to them?
«I tell young people to live the moment we are going through, to remain active in everyday life. It is true, several crises are taking place: seized by pessimism, they could give up everything and say that they no longer believe in it. But that would be a mistake. Also in this period we must remain optimistic. If we all work together, united, looking in the same direction, we will be able to find solutions. This is to say that we are not condemned to live increasingly serious emergency situations, which will end in authentic dramas. The solutions really exist. On condition, however, to maintain trust ».
Put that way, allow me, it seems a bit too easy a solution, don’t you think?
«Optimism and trust alone are clearly not enough. They must be accompanied by reasoning, by intelligence. So, let’s not get tired of thinking and analyzing what is happening around us. Let’s get information, let’s get information, let’s get educated, let’s get educated. In this way we will always be “hooked” to reality ».
Born in Toulon in 1966, Jerome Fenoglio is a French journalist of Italian origin, current editor of the well-known newspaper Le Monde. After graduating from the Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme, he started working in Le Monde in 1991 as a sports reporter
WHAT DID HE DO
In 1996 he took on the role of columnist for the France News section, until he became one
manager. Later, he was reporter for the scientific section, then editor-in-chief of the weekly Le Monde, international reporter and editor-in-chief of the digital edition
WHAT DOES HE DO
In 2015 he was chosen as the director of Le Monde. In 2021 it was confirmed for another six years. Linked to the Alta Langa, from which his ancestors came, he was nominated by the Confraternity of the Hazelnut – of the great master Ginetto Pellerino – “ambassador of the tonda gentile in the world”. At the recent Dogliani TV Festival he spoke with the deputy director of CorSera, the Albese Aldo Cazzullo