We interviewed Steeve Baumann : apart from being a special correspondent at CAPA press agency, beside directing the wonderful documentaries “Changer le monde” broadcast on Canal+, most of all he agreed to be our sponsor, giving us many and thoughtful advice.
If the SparkTour exists today, it’s also thanks to him !
And so we obviously decided to make our first interview of journalist with him, during a snowy day, in Paris.
Hello, who are you ?
My name is Steeve Baumann, I have been a special reporter for approximatively 15 years now, and editor in chief of TV show “L’effet papillon” every saturday in clear on Canal+. It is the only French TV show that only tackles international subjects.
How is it to be on this side of the microphone today ?
It is always a pleasure and it is a nice feeling, a little bit like being the bitter biten.
Why and what for do you get up in the morning ?
First of all to go to the office, because I have the chance to have an office. And then… for many personal reasons that will not be mentionned in an interview! (smiles)
Could you define with your own words what is social business and why you got interested in it?
I’m interested in social business because it is the field where the best thoughts for tomorrow’s economy are developed. Is it being utopian, is it realistic…? Only future will tell ! But what I know and what I experienced is that there are social entrepreneurs nowadays who are skilled enough and professionnaly strong enough to propose these new models of entreprise for the future. And if we think over the business world on the basis of what the best social entrepreneurs have to offer – because like everyting, there are good ones and less good ones – I believe that we can start hoping for a less self-destructive future.
Let’s try to think about the future in a less self-destructive way. I have never been a fan of big finance and I think that a company that is far from the finance world can also make it. It is one of the big learnings we get from social entreprises : they will make it without the same revenues as “traditionnal” businesses and without needing them. Do we need these kinds of amount of income ? Social entrepreneurs are asking that question and for once, we are listening to them without thinking that they are the umpteenth dreamer from the 60′s lost in the early 21st century. It feels good to know that there are people today who think like that, work like that, developing successful projects and earning money from them… and THIS can be one of the reasons to get up in the morning.
Do you continue to talk about this kind of subjects in your work ?
Unfortunately not, because of a lack of time and also because my line of edition is not about this today. But if there is a major social phenomenon in a developing country, we will find a way to put it in “L’effet papillon”.
Have you had the impression to cross a line between journalism and militancy when you decided to make these “Change the world” documentaries ?
I had the feeling of doing institutionnal work but in an intelligent, different way. I wanted to make my journalistic “savoir-faire” and my skills as an image-maker available to social entreprises that I found interesting. I thus inevitably became a bit of a spokesperson for these social entreprises, in a way that my role was not to make critical films. The portraits last 8 min so I only had the time to show the good sides and I put my critical thinking on hold. If there is a “dark side” to these projects, I never looked for it because it was not my goal. And journalisticly speaking, it may be considered as a mistake. But I had a great time and a real pleasure to show the positive side of things only !
Among the social entreprises that you met, for which one could you have told yourself “This is so great, I want to do this in my life” and quit your job ?
Well, it was more for human encounters because all the projects where amazing, all of them. I was really close to staying in South Africa ! It was a great project about adaptable off-road wheelchairs, developed by beautiful people. They went to the ghettos and underpriviledged neighbourhoods to offer these equipments to people who could not leave their homes anymore because their wheelchairs were not adapted at all to the field around them. It was a simple project but so exciting, carried by amazing, enriching people. So it first was an encounter because as I said, all the 8 projects I had the chance to meet were astonishing.
What is the most painful question that you ever had to ask ?
This is a tough one !! Mostly because I rarely prepare my questions in advance. The way I see an interview, it is more like a solid, argumentative discussion, during which you know what you are looking for but don’t always know what you are going to hear.
Oh yes, I have one : the question “How are you?”. If the person answers, then it can become very painful as it can last forever.
So… How are you Steeve ?
(laughing) I am fine thank you…
If you could hide in our backpacks and come with us in one of our countries, which one would you chose ?
Definitely Myanmar. I have never been yet but I love the South-East Asian region and I have traveled in this area a lot. Myanmar is a bustling country, it is moving and opening itself, about to host the Southeast Asian Games… It is developing incredibly fast, in a clumsy, blundered way, corrupt also. I am really interested in this of course, for a journalist it is fascinating.
Thank you !