Tag Archives: Spain

The Human Journalism project in Spain

periodismo humano

The journalist and photographer Javier Bauluz is the only Spanish winner of the Pullitzer. He has published a preview of his next project, focused on journalism and human rights, at periodismohumano.com.

“The responsibility of the crisis: the greed of a few and the lack of controls from whom should control them, the representatives of the people and the toxic journalism that reports the reality only in terms of the media corporations’ political and economic interest”.

Such is Bauluz’s view of the current media crisis.

He then describes a picture well-known to anyone who has ever worked in big media: “There are more and more tired journalists, many hostages in their newsrooms, doing and saying what they’re told”.

With this perspective in mind, Bauluz thinks that the only solution to reconstruct journalism is for groups of colleagues to get together and organise online, supported by citizens, foundations and philanthropists. So we can say that non-profit journalism is not only an American or English idea.

“First it was an option, now it’s a need,” argues the Pulitzer prizewinner.

Using the WordPress platform (and its open source benefits), periodismohumano.com will see daylight in the following weeks with the Universal Declaration of Human Right as their only flag and with all content available in all possible formats:

“If you want to save whales, you’re a member of Greenpeace; if you want doctors in Somalia, you’re a member of Doctors Without Borders; if you want quality information, you’re a member of Periodismo Humano (Human Journalism)”.

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Portadista: the new editorial role of looking after the home page

When I translated the sixth part of the Model for the 21st Century Newsroom into Spanish, I learned some of the new roles for journalists in news organizations.

Now I have the chance to write about a new role for digital journalists thanks to my Argentinian colleague Alvaro Liuzzi, who recently visited Spain to interview some of the directors of national news websites for his documentary on Hispanic online newsrooms (Argentina, Peru and Spain).

The Editorial Director of 20minutos.es, Virginia Pérez Alonso, told him about a new position they created to permanently control the long home page of the site to make sure everything is correct (links, images, headlines) and to track the most popular stories in each column, using their own software that shows real time stats.

They call this new position the “Portadista” (Portada is Spanish for home page). This is how it works in the newsroom:

  • The “portadistas” are journalists [This may seem obvious but it is important to note that it’s necessary for the people in charge of this job to have journalistic skills].
  • There are three portadista shifts every day, and the first one arrives at 7 AM. They say it is a exhausting job so they change the people in charge every 15 days.
  • They receive all the information from the journalists via Google Docs and organize the home page according to that.
  • Then they proceed to review the hole home page, check the links, control that the verbal tenses are correct, the photos, etc.
  • They constantly monitor that the home page doesn’t exceed a maximum file size. If that happens they have to take out images, cut articles and reduce their size.

The fall of a news site: the Spanish case of Soitu.es

cadaver_exquisito

Like in the music or art fields, we, the Spanish-speaking people, allways look to the Anglo-American world to see what the new trends and innovation about digital journalism are (and laugh when Rupert Murdoch opens his mouth).

But now we can show our own example of a news site that tried to survive in this ecosystem and… died. But it’s all about trial and error!

I’m talking about Soitu.es, which closed its highly-regarded doors after 22 months of life. Of course, its demise had a strong impact in the blogosphere, its increasing traffic more than 10% in the last month.

This Spain-based news site was born in the wrong way, trying to show off with an enormous and fancy newsroom of almost 40 people, in times when the bet must be low-cost. The correct path is to start with a smaller staff and try to grow when the cash starts flowing in. Instead, Soitu.es made an alliance with the BBVA bank, that soon came to an end when they didn’t see the profitability, taking the whole project down with them. Its Director, Gumersindo Lafuente, blamed the financial crisis – as expected – after he spent money on their own CMS and ad server instead of using the great open source options available.

With this experience in mind, David De Ugarte came up with a few key points to make your news site a sure failure:

  • Over-budget your project: There is nothing quite like having great amounts of money from the beginning to install in your team the habits that will make you fail, while the expectations of your investors remain high.
  • Abandon your own speech about reality: Comment uncritically on all the fashionable stuff. Cut no ice. Don’t believe in anything and stand for anything and with a bit of luck they won’t remember anything you published.
  • Don’t allow users to identify with you: people used to buy El País newspaper – or any newspaper, for that matter – as a militant action or a way of life. If you want to fail you can’t allow something like that to happen. Don’t let them associate you with something in particular and don’t make yourself specialist in anything.
  • Have a “paper mindset”: pay columnists to write like they have been doing it all their lives without a single link for contextualization.
  • Burn time and capital as fast as you can: organize conferences and invest while you can in nice headquarters with fancy furniture.

Model for a 21st Century Newsroom – in Spanish

In April Maxim Salomatin translated the Model for a 21st Century Newsroom series into Russian. Now Mauro Accurso has translated it into Spanish. All 6 parts, which make up around 10,000 or so words. It’s an incredible feat, and I’m enormously grateful.

News Diamond in Spanish

So, here they are, part by part:

  1. Part 1: The News Diamond – http://tejiendo-redes.com/2009/09/02/el-diamante-de-noticias-modelo-para-la-redaccion-del-siglo-xx1-1ra-parte/
  2. Part 2: Distributed Journalism – http://tejiendo-redes.com/2009/09/07/periodismo-distribuido-modelo-para-la-redaccion-del-siglo-xxi-2da-parte/
  3. Part 3: 5 Ws and a H that should come after every story – http://tejiendo-redes.com/2009/09/21/6-preguntas-que-deberian-venir-despues-de-cada-noticia-modelo-para-la-redaccion-del-siglo-xxi-3ra-parte/
  4. Part 4: News distribution in a new media age – http://tejiendo-redes.com/2009/10/06/la-distribucion-de-las-noticias-en-un-mundo-de-nuevos-medios-modelo-para-la-redaccion-del-siglo-xxi-%e2%80%93-4ta-parte/
  5. Part 5: Making money from journalism online: new media business models – http://tejiendo-redes.com/2009/11/02/ganando-plata-con-el-periodismo-modelos-de-negocio-de-los-nuevos-medios-modelo-para-la-redaccion-del-siglo-xxi-5ta-parte/
  6. Part 6: New journalists for new information – http://tejiendo-redes.com/2009/11/11/nuevos-periodistas-para-un-nuevo-flujo-de-informacion-modelo-para-la-redaccion-del-siglo-xxi-%e2%80%93-6ta-parte/

(As an aside, The Spanish Press Association approached me last year for permission to translate it too but I’ve never seen it. Perhaps they got bored after part 1… or perhaps they’re just rude. Anyway, if you’ve seen it, let me know.)

French, Norwegian and US newspapers added to News Interactivity Index

Just to let you know that the News Interactivity Index now includes newspapers from Norway (thanks Kristine Lowe), France, the Netherlands and the US. You can use it to compare any two newspapers or country averages. The following countries are now covered:

  • France
  • Hungary
  • Macedonia
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • US

The European News Interactivity Index

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been turning the Online Journalism Blog into a group blog. For our first project we have taken Jo Geary’s news interactivity index, and applied it Europe-wide, creating an ‘interactivity index’ of newspapers across European countries – at the moment: the UK, Spain, Portugal, Macedonia, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland…

European News Interactivity Index

Not just that, but we’ve made the index itself interactive. Specifically, Nicolas Kayser-Bril has created this PHP object which allows you to compare two selected newspapers or countries.

The team so far is as follows: UK and France: Nicolas Kayser-Bril; Switzerland: Nico Luchsinger; Portugal and Spain: Alex Gamela; Poland: Marek Miller; Macedonia: Darko Buldioski; Hungary: Molnar Emil; Netherlands: Wilbert Baan.

If you want to help add information on one or more of your country’s newspapers you can do so here – you’ll need to ask Nicolas for a password: nicolas (at) observatoiredesmedias.com.

More newspapers will continue to be added, and there are other graphical tricks to come.

You can also embed this widget on your own blog with the following code:

<iframe src=”http://tinyurl.com/5c9vmy&#8221; frameborder=”0″ height=”605″ scrolling=”no” width=”415″></iframe>