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Hypergene MediaBlog » Sketches of Spain
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Sketches of Spain

Our great fear for presenting at the Segon Seminari Internacional de Periodisme Digital (Second International Seminar of Digital Journalism) in Spain last week was that neither of us had spoken Spanish in a while.

It turned out that our fear was misplaced because everyone in the Barcelona area speaks Catalan. (If we weren’t Americans, we’d probably have known this. Actually, Shayne did.) And while Catalan sounds like Spanish, it is sometimes incomprehensible to the textbook-trained ear.

Yet, one of our co-presenters, Próspero Morán, said Catalan was “easy to learn.” All you have to do is immerse yourself into the Catalonian region of Spain for several months along with your in-depth knowledge of Spanish, French and Latin. Loco.

It turns out that getting up in front of people who don’t speak the same language doesn’t mean that important communication can’t happen. Sometimes we forget in our world of near instantaneous communication that it is still important to go places and meet people - especially in their hometown.

Despite the potential language barriers and a stubborn projector, we presented our We Media paper and expanded on what has grown in importance in the year since it’s publication.  The participants responded enthusiastically and - as far a we could tell - comprehended the important stuff. You can see our slides here (PDF, 3MB).

We, also, had the chance to reminisce with stateside colleagues and learn a few things from some new friends. We’d like to recognize:

Nora Paul for letting us steal her term “annotative reporting” and convincing us to eat the local Fear Factor special: squid ink vermicelli.
Próspero Morán who got us to do it again.
Laura Ruel who taught us the importance of packing an extra day of clothes in your carry-on.
Ismael Nafría for his ideas on organization of online newsrooms.
Javier Díaz Noci for his precise analysis of news site architecture.
Albert Cuesta for offering to translate We Media for us.
Christian Serarols Tarrés for keeping watch over us during an impromptu evening swim in the Mediterranean.
Boris Razon for making a valiant effort to ditch his native tongue for his presentation.

We’d especially like to thank the director, David Domingo, and Núria Amoros at el Grup de Periodistes Digitals who organized the event and showed great hospitality.

Right after the conference, serendipity struck and we met up with Rebecca MacKinnon who was moderating a panel on agents of global change at Forum Barcelona 2004. She continues on her crusade to cast a light upon the neglected parts of the world with weblogs and other forms of participatory journalism.

To all, moltes gracies.

Posted on Oct 01, 2004 | 2:18 am EST

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