Valentí Sanjuan

Valentí Sanjuan

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 Sanjuan

Valentí is what I call an internet-age entrepreneur.  Meet Valentí Sanjuan here.

Citizen Journalism

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.

 

Tools for Journalists

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.

Storify
Storify

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.

Adjusting to Barcelona Lifestyle

My first day in Barcelona, I got to my apartment at 10pm and my roommates we’re there, getting ready to go out to the bars and clubs. I was shocked that they hadn’t left yet, as at home we usually go out around 10pm. Instead, they left to go out at 12:30am and I went to bed to catch up on sleep. I woke up at 5am to people coming back to the apartment; at home all the clubs close by 2am. This has definitley been a huge adjustment. I have been taking naps from 8-10 after class, then going out from 1-4:30 am, going to bed at 5am, and waking up at 9am to get ready for school. I’m not sure how long I can keep this lifestyle up and i’m really not sure when the Spaniards get their sleep. This is a huge adjustment as in the States I get about 10 hours of sleep a night.

CEA Barcelona Campus, Located in Placa Catalunya
CEA Barcelona Campus, Located in Placa Catalunya

Another big change has been adjusting to my new school schedule and responsibilities.  In America, I also have classes Monday through Thursday and each class is between 1 and 3 hours.  My classes in Barcelona start much earlier, 9am, and end much earlier, 2pm.  At Boston University I had classes that started at 12pm most days and sometimes did not end until 9pm.  Getting used to being up and alert in the morning has been a challenge, but thankfully the coffee here is strong.   Additionally, I have less work here which is more difficult of an adjustment than you would think.  I am used to going to the library everyday between and after classes, so never going to a library in Barcelona has been a welcomed adjustment.  That said, I think the classes are deceivingly hard.  They seem easy because you only meet twice a week and the homework is light, but in reality there is a good amount of material we have covered before midterms, which are next week.

Boston University Campus, Located Along the Charles River
Boston University Campus, Located Along the Charles River

Something I really like about being here is the opportunity to meet locals as well as other students in CEA who are from all over the United States.  In Boston I have a pretty solidified friend group, so having the ability this late in college to meet so many new people and gain friends from all over the US in something I feel very lucky to be able to do, and I am taking advantage of.  I have now traveled on weekends with students from many other schools.  Also, me and my friends met some Barcelona locals one night, who now live in London, and when we came to London we hung out and went out with them.  It was really exciting to have made this connection and to now know people all over Europe.

 

 

 

My Favorite Restaurants in Barcelona

Tamarindo Restaurant
Taquerias Tamarindo Restaurant

TAMARINDO

Located on Carrer de Balmes, Taqueria Tamarindo is a hole-in-the-wall, Mexican food gem located in the trendy L’eixample neighborhood.  I happen to live on the same block as this restaurant, and I have to stop my self from getting take-away every single day.  My personal favorites are the quesadillas with aguacate (avocado) and the classic Catalan dish patatas bravas with three different spicy sauces.  The menu also features tacos, nachos, cervezas, and other Mexican staples.

Taqueria Tamarindo Restaurant Decor
Taqueria Tamarindo Restaurant Decor

The atmosphere is fun, it is two-stories with papel picado (Mexican flags) hanging from the ceilings, and various Mexican trinkets placed throughout the restaurant.  I love this place because of the value of the food, location, and cleanliness.

Brunch and Cake Restaurant
Brunch & Cake French Toast

BRUNCH & CAKE

The most clichéd spot on this list, Brunch & Cake is a study abroad student staple.  There are four of these brunch restaurants in Barcelona, and two Cup & Cake bakeries which serve pastries and cupcakes.  I have gone to two of the locations, Brunch & Cake in L’eixample and Brunch & Cake by the Sea by Barceloneta Beach and the marina.

Brunch & Cake Restaurant Decor
Brunch & Cake Restaurant Decor

The decor is as breathtaking as the plating of the food: white beachy decor with pops of color.  Every food item features some kind of hot pink food coloring or purple edible flowers, it is an instagram-foodie’s dream.  My favorite is the yogurt and granola, served with various bright-tinged fruit.  You’ll usually have a wait time of at least an hour, so don’t come too famished.  The food and experience are well worth the wait.

Surf House Restaurant
Surf House Restaurant Outdoor Seating

SURF HOUSE

I had my first hamburger here and perhaps this is why I have such a sweet spot for this coastal spot.  Indoor seating is small, but the main event is outside overlooking Barceloneta beach.  Again, usually a wait time here but well worth it.  The menu features burritos, burgers, brunch food, smoothies, salads and much more.   This fun thing about this place is that they hold weekly events: they offer paddle boarding, beach workouts, ladies happy hours, and much more.  The vibes were great and I could have stayed all day after lunch, drinking and hanging out with friends, but they try to have fast turn-over as there is always a line down the block on nice spring and summer days.

La Padella Restaurant
La Padella Restaurant

LA PADELLA

This find is the best bang for your buck.  La Padella is located on Carrer de Balmes in L’eixample and features a menu starting at 3.80 euros.  It is a pasta bar where you pick the type of noodle, sauce, and toppings.  My favorites are fusilli agli olio with chicken and spaghetti pesto with spinach.  They also offer salads, pizza, and nice desserts.  The staff is extremely friendly and they have a punch card system (I’ve already gone through 2).  It is an informal setting but still nice to sit down and get a quick bite to eat for lunch or dinner.

Interlaken

Interlaken, Switzerland
Interlaken, Switzerland

I am an English language speaker with basic capabilities in Spanish.  One reason I chose to study abroad in Barcelona was because of my familiarity with the language (I studied Spanish throughout middle and high school and did a month abroad in Málaga during high school), so I knew I could get by with the vocabulary I already possessed.  Easing into life abroad in Spain was made easier by enrolling in Spanish class at CEA, giving me the opportunity to practice and expand my knowledge of the language weekly.

I spent this past weekend exploring  and adventuring in the Swiss Alps in Interlaken, Switzerland.  During this trip I learned they spoke two main languages in this area of the world: French and Swiss German, neither of which I knew a lick of.  Going to a country where I knew none of the language, and outside of tourist spots people do not speak English, was a huge culture shock.  It feels isolating and desperate not to be able to communicate with the humans around you.  Asking for directions or asking for a restaurant recommendation were sometimes  not options, so me and my friends felt like we were on our own to navigate our way around the town.  For me, it put into perspective how new immigrants must feel when they enter the US and have little to no knowledge of English.  A common phrase heard around the United States is “speak English, you are in the United States”.  This statement, already ignorant, felt even more uneducated and moronic as I stood at a ski store trying to explain to the storekeeper which items I wanted to purchase and received a blank look.  I cannot imagine living long term in a country where I knew none of the language, and would be expected to learn “on-the-job”.  As far as I have seen, in the US people do not make an active effort to speak to foreigners in their native language, and many people only speak English, so this task would prove almost impossible.  This experience has given me a new perspective and insight to the experience of non-English speakers who come to work and live in the United States, and I definitely empathize with their plight.

This empathy I gained is relevant at a time that the United States is considering policies that bar immigrants from visiting, working, or gaining permanent residence in the US.  As an outsider in Switzerland, all I wanted to do was enjoy the country and experience the area for myself without causing disruption.  This is how I imagine most American immigrants feel, they are just trying to enjoy a new place and start a new life , and just because they have not yet mastered the English language, does not mean they do not deserve a chance to enjoy America.

Mobile Journalism

Citizen Journalist in Syria
Citizen/Mobile Journalist in Syria

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.

Citizen/ Mobile Journalists in New York City at Occupy Wall Street Movement
Citizen/ Mobile Journalists in New York City at Occupy Wall Street Movement

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.