Valentí Sanjuan Presentation

Valentí Sanjuan was our guest speaker in class on Wednesday. It was so interesting to hear the story of someone who has used YouTube to develop his own brand, and now agency, and become an inspiration to so many people.

Valentí has established himself as a brand, representing hope, perseverance, strength and determination. He told us about how he has achieved this status, and it turns out that he has relied mostly on one source: YouTube. He maintains his own YouTube channel where he has developed a fan base made up of followers who want to stay updated on his adventures and great feats.

Here is one of the videos he showed in class, which exemplifies his strength and determination:

In each of his videos, he tells a story just as a journalist would. He emphasized in class that in order for a story to be effective and make an impact on viewers, it must be something that the storyteller is passionate about. He or she must really believe there is a reason other people should know about it, whether it is that it can move the world in a positive direction, make someone’s day better, or give people some inspiration. As Frederick Levy states in his book 15 Minutes of Fame: Becoming A Star In The Youtube Revolution, “YouTube has always been about the idea of creating and developing something that would change the world” (1). Valentí Sanjuan’s success is a testament to this mission.

Valentí mentioned another necessary component of being a successful journalist: a camera — but not necessarily the kind of professional camera used to film a reality television show. The only tool anyone needs to portray their story to the world on YouTube is an iPhone. In previous class discussions, we’ve identified the iPhone as a key tool when it comes to citizen journalism. Valentí made the point that the iPhone can do everything necessary to document a story: It provides a way to find sources to support an argument, a way to upload videos, a way to grow audiences (through social media sites), and a way to respond to the audience’s feedback about the video. As Valentí states, 10 years ago you needed a lot of help to broadcast your story to a wide audience. Today, all you need is the curiosity and desire to tell a story, or to “give something a voice, inspire people,” as Valentí said.

I thought it was especially fascinating when Valentí pointed out the fact that even though he owns his brand, he is not his only boss. His main boss is made up of the mass of people who give him the support he needs to continue doing his job– in other words, his fans. This made me realize how much power YouTube has in determining who or what can become a trustworthy, popular source of information and stories.

Valentí Sanjuan was such an entertaining, interesting and informative guest speaker. It is truly amazing how he was able to branch off from the show “Visto Lo Visto” and do something completely different with his time and energy. Using only a self-held camera and the social networking abilities of YouTube, he has managed to gain the ability to reach tens of thousands of people and tell inspiring stories that positively impact viewers. He encourages people to focus on the good in life and believe that anyone can get through difficult times with the right attitude. Valentí says he is only focused on the present and doesn’t make any plans for the future. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

Sources:

  1. Levy, Frederick. 15 Minutes of Fame: Becoming a Star in the YouTube Revolution. Penguin, 2008.

Journalism of the People, by the People, for the People

Citizen journalism has become an increasingly popular source of information in society today. Many events that have taken place in the world have been covered by regular people, with regular phone cameras, and simple intentions of getting the word out. On January 15, 2009, Jim Hanrahan or “Manolantern” published a tweet that would light a news wildfire. The tweet read, “I just watched a plane crash into the hudson riv in manhattan” (1). And just like that, Hanrahan became a citizen journalist who documented a monumental moment in history and spread this vital information for the world to see.

Citizen journalism has been enabled by the development and growth of online social networks, which allow people to communicate across divides of communities, countries and often authoritarian government news policies (2). Anyone who chooses to send out a message can reach thousands, even millions of people. Social networks have allowed citizen journalism to gain a following and credibility, as regular citizens are becoming some of the first live reporters on a scene through a simple tweet, youtube video, or Facebook Live stream.

Citizen journalists have been instrumental in covering many events in recent history. One grim situation where citizen journalists have been essential is the conflict in Syria. Citizen journalists are risking their lives to share what is happening in Aleppo, and around 70 of these people have been killed in the process of reporting to date (3). Since the government has prevented international media from accessing the events happening in Syria, citizens have taken the initiative to document the events themselves. Without their visual documentation and informative reports, the world would not know what is going on.

Because there are so many dangers in reporting from the ground in Syria, the foreign press sends fewer reporters to capture the events. As a result, professional news sources have worked to collaborate with citizen journalists and assist them in reaching as many people across the world as possible (4). Citizen journalists can send videos, images and reports to those professional news sources. Below is a video which captures the life of one citizen journalist working to record events in Syria.

The rise of citizen journalism is often questioned due to its contrast with traditional journalism. However, its popularity has allowed more and more people to make a difference and be heard simply by using a smartphone or 140-character tweet. Professional news corporations are collaborating with and working off of information provided by citizens more and more (2). As Melissa Wall writes in her research article on citizen journalism, “the act of ordinary people creating media content that includes information (“’news”) has become a commonly accepted practice around the world, viewed by millions as alternative, authentic news or even simply as an everyday practice” (2). Citizen journalism has given power and strength to the voices that need it most.

Sources:

  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/4269765/New-York-plane-crash-Twitter-breaks-the-news-again.html
  2. http://nca.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21670811.2014.1002513?scroll=top&needAccess=true
  3. http://www.wired.co.uk/article/syrian-citizen-journalists
  4. http://www.rferl.org/a/syria-war-reported-by-citizen-journalists-social-media/24630841.html

The Age of Mobile Journalism

Journalists no longer need to be published in a magazine, newspaper, or on the radio and television in order to spread information. There is a new journalistic practice that allows reporters to send their message directly from the scene of the event or anywhere they choose straight to viewers, all with minimal technology.This journalistic practice is called mobile journalism or “mojo” for short, and is being increasingly utilized by reporters across the world. Mobile handset devices have been developed to make this possible and are capable of “…portable digital media production and data transfer systems with configurations of features such as still and video camera capabilities, multimedia file swapping, global positioning satellite receivers, music players” and even more (1). Smartphones can manage these things as well with the download of appropriate applications. Mobile journalists can report news updates from anywhere around the world, at any time. Mobile journalism allows for a more flexible communication of updates and events since news rooms and entire production crews are not needed to effectively spread the information (1).

For mobile journalists who are working with a phone, there are some techniques that they must follow in order to create a credible and effective piece. According to the Missouri School of Journalism, there are five basic execution tips that, if followed, can lead to a piece that is enjoyable to watch. Even though mobile journalism is considered a less structured way to produce news pieces, there are still guidelines that reporters need to follow regarding camera angles, microphone usage, light and stabilization.

From the article “Five mobile journalism basics” by Judd Slivka

Mobile journalism has been described as a way for reporters to get “closer to the story” as stated in an article about the up and coming journalistic style. In the article attached in the tweet below, Geertje Algera, a mobile journalist at Geertje Algera Media explains the benefits of mobile journalism. Algera mentions how the absence of bigger cameras, entire crews and logistical planning leads to more raw and quickly delivered news update. Algera also brings up the fact that mobile journalism allows for less intrusive, more personal interviews of people. Now, the story can be produced from purely the journalist and subject of interest’s interaction, and not be affected by any intimidating cameras, newsroom sets or large crews. To read the full story about what this mobile journalism professional has to say, click below:

With the rise of mobile journalism, journalists must have knowledge of this practice and the skills to “…gather news with mobile devices, use them to interact with the social media audience, and how to format content appropriately for the medium” (2). Researchers collected more than 700 job postings from TV and newspaper companies in the United States and found that most of the positions require these skills in order to be considered for hire (2). Students who are studying to become journalists also must learn a whole new set of skills compared to those who were studying journalism before.

The rise in mobile journalism makes it so that important news updates can be spread across the world, even if a news room or camera crew are not available at the scene. This rather spontaneous and versatile way of communicating news makes it so that more real and less staged interviews can be shown, breaking news can be reported, and voices can be heard.

Sources:

  1. Cameron, David. “Mobile journalism: A snapshot of current research and practice.” Artigo consultado a 19.04 (2009): 2011.
  2. Wenger, Debora, Lynn Owens, and Patricia Thompson. “Help wanted: Mobile journalism skills required by top US news companies.” Electronic News 8.2 (2014): 138-149.