Podcasting was at first believed to be a short-lived fad that was quickly loosing steam. The idea behind a podcast was that in daily/weekly/monthly installments a podcaster would release a clip that ranged from storytelling to just brainstorming thoughts on a topic of interest. Just as podcasts began to lose steam, they were revitalized by the quality and popularity of the podcast crime series Serial. Premiering in 2014, Serial led the wave for podcasts to gain serious loyal listenership, and become a mainstream trend. It is estimated that 20% of people aged 20-49 have listened to a podcast in the last month.
For me, I always saw podcasts as something an old person would listen to. I imagined a grandparent that was not good with technology learning about podcasts and playing them from a desktop computer as they sat and read a book in the living room or cooked in the kitchen. Then, I had an internship last summer that left me with a lot of free time sitting at my desk. Eventually, I got tired of listening to music in my headphones, but I was at work so I could not watch videos on my computer. This is how I ended up listening to my first podcast, “Stuff You Should Know,” by howstuffworks.com. This podcast, released every few days, covers a different, interesting, niche topic with each installment- currently the last three posts are titled How Breast Implants Work, How Swearing Works, and How Corsets Work. Each podcast runs 30 minutes to an hour, and provides information on something you should know, as evidenced in the title. Listening to these at my internship changed my entire perspective on podcasts. The podcast held my attention a lot more than I expected it to, and I actually found myself looking forward to a new installment. I even would listen to and from my way to work and when I was bored at home.
My personal podcast today is about my experience abroad and what I have experienced from my first day touching down at the El Prat airport to my final week in Barcelona. This experience has shaped me in ways I never expected, and am proud of. Initially I was timid about leaving school and my friends and flying across the world to live in a non-English speaking country for four months. I was not sure how I would adapt or if I would truly enjoy it. In this podcast I talk about how far I have come from this frame of mind, and I give my advice for anyone considering studying abroad in the future.
This is the story of the greatest comeback in soccer history, and how Camp Nou and FC Barcelona came to be. March 8th, 2017 made history at Camp Nou. To set the stage, FC Barcelona was involved in a two match tournament game with the French side Paris St. Germain. The two super clubs played their first of two matches on PSG’s home ground and the team from Paris beat the Catalan giants handedly 4 to 0. Barcelona failed that night in Paris. They were outclassed and outworked by a team with objectively a worse coach and worse players. With few positives to take from the game the media and everyone around the world believed that Barcelona was out of the Champions League tournament, the most prestigious competition in club soccer.
This first match loss sparked controversy and anger from the dedicated fans of Barcelona. The outrage and disgust at the team’s performance even lead the manager Luis Enrique to resign. In order to see out their victory, all PSG would have to do when they traveled to the Catalan city was to not get beaten 5-0 essentially. A relatively easy task for a team of PSG’s caliber to complete. All of sudden it was the big night and no one gave Barcelona a chance as the game was about to begin at the grandest stadium in the world, Camp Nou.
The Team, The Stadium
Let’s rewind for a moment to understand some more about one of the greatest grounds in world soccer and the club that’s played there for 63 years. Originally named the Estadio del CF Barcelona when the stadium was built in 1957, the club expanded in both popularity and fan base quickly, so the organization needed a more legitimate stadium to accommodate the club’s growth. While the official name was the Estadio del CF Barcelona, the true fans of the club called their ground Camp Nou from the beginning.
The official name changed a few decades later to Estadio del FC Barcelona. That name stood until 2000 when the club’s hierarchy decided to make Camp Nou the official name at long last. One of the crowning achievements of both FC Barcelona and Camp Nou was hosting the 1982 World Cup. The premier competition of international football, the World Cup selected Camp Nou to host some group games and one of the semi-finals. The club’s highlights include celebrating everything from Champions league glory, El Classico wins, signings of major players like Ronaldo and Thierry Henry, and numerous league title wins; FC Barcelona fans now create one of the best atmospheres found in modern soccer.
With the history of the club and the history of the stadium intertwined, Camp Nou has become a fortress for the Catalan giants. The team’s motto, “Més que un club” (More than a club), is fitting given how the Catalonians and all of Spain treats its prized team, like royalty. Camp Nou and the club represent rebellion to many Catalonians who want to break free of Spain’s shackles and gain independence. When playing other teams within Spain, it is important to Catalonians to come home with a W, to assert their strength and independence to the country from which they wish to secede.
Barca fans are loyal, passionate, and prideful, and they do not only exist inside of Spain. Take Eli, a 20 year old American student studying in Barcelona. He is an avid soccer player and has even joined a local club while he spends the semester outside the States. Below, Eli tells us why the club is so important to so many fans in and outside of Catalunya and about the game earlier this month that cemented FC Barcelona’s premier status:
And Once Again, The Game
Back at “the match of the century,” Barca needed a miracle to win, but Camp Nou was their church and anything was possible in their eyes. Many fan bases would retreat in defeat before such a dawning task, but not the Camp Nou faithful. The air was electric in the stadium before the game with fans showing up nearly three hours before the affair to begin their chants and songs. The Barcelona demigod Lionel Messi began the game from kickoff and away they went. Superstars collided on each side. For Barcelona, the star studded cast of MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar) and a handful of World Cup winners from Spain went up against the likes of great players like the up and coming Verratti, the storied striker Edinson Cavani, and the former Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria. The game couldn’t have started better for the Barcelona stars with the Uruguayan Luis Suarez putting one in the net inside three minutes.
But then disaster seemed to strike and the fairytale comeback seemed to be over for Barca when Cavani scored in the 62nd. This would mean that Barcelona would have to not just score four or five to hold on, but six goals. Reports say that some players even told the opposition that Cavani’s goal was the end, but if you watched the game you would know their attitude never changed under the lights at Camp Nou.
At the 88th minute of the game Barca still needed three goals to win, when out of absolutely nowhere the Brazilian wonderkid, Neymar, took over. Scoring a free kick and penalty within three minutes of each other all the Blue and Red needed was one more goal. Neymar was up for the task yet again feeding a beautiful ball to the youngster Sergi Roberto during the dying embers of the game to complete the greatest comeback the soccer world has ever seen in the greatest stadium to ever be played in.
When I came to class on Wednesday with questions prepared for our guest speaker Valentí Sanjuan, I was not aware of the scope of his brand, despite my extensive research on the internet. My limited Spanish vocabulary kept me from reading much of the literature on Valentí, so I assumed he was a professional athlete who ran Ironmans and posted videos of his adventures to Youtube. Additionally, I knew he must be a journalist because after all, he was attending our class titled Journalism 2.0. What I found once he came to class was he was so much more than any of those things. He is a personality, a brand, a Youtube star, an athlete, a creative director, an entrepreneur, and an influencer.
Valentí Sanjuan started off 15 years ago as a traditional journalist and radio personality, before social networking and online video platforms became such an integral part of journalism. As Youtube came on the scene as a major space for people to consume media, Valentí posted his first video on the channel vistolovistoTV. This channel featured talk show-style formatted videos with guest interviews, comedians, and recurring characters on stage with a live audience, which he later edited and uploaded to Youtube. This channel now has 150k subscribers and the top viewed video clip has over 2 million hits. After gaining a big following on the original channel, Valentí expanded his Youtube presence to include 5 separate channels: Entreno Del Día, ValentiEstaLoco, Mercé Sanjuan, Valentí Sanjuan, and vistolovistoTV. Each channel has something different for a different viewer base, be it extreme sports videos or comedic skits.
After solidifying a fan base, the Ironman began to receive sponsorship opportunities and offers for partnerships with other successful Youtubers. This is when the money began to roll in for Valentí; his sponsors now include Estrella Damm, Nestle, DIR, Sony, and Mango. With money flowing and the need to produce more content for these sponsors and partnerships, he founded and became the creative director of Gordon Seen, a branded content media company. Via this company, Valentí was able to invest his money into hiring a team of collaborators, purchasing higher quality equipment, and growing his online presence even further. The investment paid off, as he is able to successfully create frequent, high quality, widely viewed content on all of his channels.
Valentí has his own idea of who he is and the business model he created for himself. He told our class he has several bosses: Youtube, his sponsors, viewers, and himself. Youtube is the medium through which he distributes his content, and without it he would not have a way to share his videos with the world. Sponsors give him the capital and credibility to keep creating and sharing his videos with his audience. Without viewers, Valentí would have no one to watch his content and would be out of a job. And he is his own boss as he created his own online influencer persona and has the authority to do with that what he chooses.
Valentí is what I call an internet-age entrepreneur. Meet Valentí Sanjuan here.
In class the past few weeks we have discussed citizen journalism and it’s place today in the media landscape. Citizen journalism has been on the rise in the last 10 years and one of the precursors to the shift to citizen journalism was the “Miracle on the Hudson” in early 2009. As most know, pilot Chesley Sullenberger attempted an emergency landing of a passenger aircraft US Airways Flight 1549 by landing in the Hudson river in New York City on January 15th, 2009. He was successful in his attempt and all passengers safely deboarded the plane and made it to land. The outlet to break news of this story was not a news channel or media group, but an everyday American citizen who posted about the Miracle to Twitter.
Krums’ photo, uploaded to TwitPic and tweeted to the public, broke the story nearly 15 minutes before any news outlets had the opportunity to do so. Though he only had roughly 170 followers, the picture went viral. Due to the volume of hits as the picture spread, TwitPic servers crashed. This moment sparked a new wave of journalism that we are talking about in the classroom today; journalism where the everyday civilian has the ear and eyes of the public.
Modern journalists employ many tools to spread news. Some of those include social media, SEO/SEM, tagging, and various Google tools. A tool I use in my social media class here at CEA and many other journalists use to connect social media to their reporting is Storify. Storify’s platform is set up so that you can write your copy and then inside the site search Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Giphy, Flickr, Getty Images, Google, or attach an embedded URL to add content to the post. This makes a journalist’s writing much more visual and creates an easy way for them to get people onto their social media profile, by providing easy to click links. You can read about the refugee crisis, see a twitter post from someone inside Syria, click on a Facebook article about how congress is handling policy about Syrian refugees, and see an image of the Syrian border all in one post. It is the ultimate aggregator of content for a journalist. Some pros of Storify include that it is simple to navigate, similar to a blog, great for storytelling, visual, is connected to many tools, and is less work then having to go to each platform to attach content.
Other tools that are in helpful to journalists are the use of tags, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing. It is important to stress how essential the use of tags are, as that is how people find and share your content on the web. Using key words that you know people will type into each engines will give you a better chance of having your posts seen and your voice heard. So for example, I will categorize this post on my blog under social media and journalism, and the tags I will include are Storify, SEO/SEM, and Journalism Tools. These tags make my blog easily searchable and more likely to come up in a browser search. Search engine optimization or SEO is the idea of maximizing the number of visitors to a site by making sure your site appears on the top of the list of results put out by a search engine. Strategies to do this include making SEO friendly URLs, starting a blog and participating in other blogs, and making sure the page title is easily searchable, as this is the single most important factor to good SEO. Search engine marketing or SEM is the paid version of SEO, using advertisements to get your site to the top of search engine results. SEM is only a real possibility for bigger companies or people with substantial funds that can pay Google and other search engine sites to prioritize their site over others.
Imagine living in a war zone in Syria. Now imagine living in a war zone where the media is barred from reporting events to the outside world. Mobile Journalism is a new wave of journalism that has come to fill in the gaps where members of the media cannot reach. In Aleppo, mobile journalists can be everyday people who are dedicated to reporting events about the war that Assad and his government try to cover by barring establishment journalists from entering the country and reporting. These “citizen journalists” take to the streets with their phones to take photo, video, and write accounts of the horror happening in their country, usually anonymously as not to be targeted by the pro-Assad regime. Thanks to mobile telephones, which are easily transported and hidden, people in war-torn areas have the opportunity to tell their story to the world when the media does not have the ability to speak for them.
Mobile journalism does not have to take place in a war-torn country like Syria, we have also seen it in the United States. As seen in social/digital activism cases like the Occupy Wall Street movement, social media catapults social movements onto a stage like never before. While the movement was seen on television and in the papers as New York City 99 percenters protesting outside Wall Street, “another crowd assembled in a range of online spaces. Moving between the physical and the virtual… appropriating its platforms and creating new structures within it. As they posted links, updates, photos and videos on social media sites; as they deliberated in chat rooms and collaborated on crowdmaps; as they took to the streets with smartphones, occupiers tested the parameters of this multiply mediated world.” Social media and mobile devices are invaluable tools that activists today have at their fingertips. The ability to reach millions with the touch of a “post” button and organize a demonstration or create an online petition lets people around the world become a part of a movement that before the internet would have stayed centralized, or have taken much longer to reach a global footing. Media journalists can use social media to get the word out about any cause they are passionate about and to mobilize the masses as well.