Guillermo Franco Morales, a university professor and manager for El Tiempo in Colombia, South America, has translated the complete text of our paper, We Media: How audiences are shaping the future of news and information, into Spanish. The translation, called Nosotros, el medio, is now available online in HTML and PDF (2.7MB) formats.
It was a pleasure working with Guillermo on this translation during the last two months. We would like to thank him for his hard work and for making this translation available to the Spanish-speaking world. Guillermo was kind enough to share some thoughts about the translation and participatory journalism in Colombia and Latin America:
What motivated you to translate this work?
“I’m a professor for postgraduate programs at some universities here in Colombia and lecturer regarding online journalism. As well, I’m the Content Manager of New Media of Casa Editorial El Tiempo (CEET), the owner of El Tiempo and eltiempo.com, the leading newspaper and website in Colombia. Because of my two jobs, I need to constantly stay up-to-date on trends in media, technology, audience, online journalism, content strategy, etc.
“The hard reality is that the best sources about those topics are not in Spanish, but in English. However, most of the people (students and teachers) don’t speak or read English. Believe me, the language is a great barrier to make such excellent content available on the Web. Also, the good books (on those subjects) are not available on the Web because of copyright restrictions. Regrettably, they are not translated into Spanish or are not translated on time, since — I suppose — the authors and publishers think it’s not good business. (Maybe, they are right, we have a small market).
“I think the information on the Web from sources such as the American Press Institute, Poynter and Online Journalism Review, is a good alternative. I found We Media on The Media Center at API web site. Maybe, one day Poynter, API or OJR will accept my proposal to create a weblog where people can find in Spanish what resources are available in English on the Web.
“There is another reason to translate this paper (an ego-driven one, to be honest). You describe it in We Media: “Social recognition is one of the biggest motivators.… For some, the ego-driven surface of this motivation is more practical underneath — people want to establish themselves as an authority on a subject.”
What do you hope the translation will do for students and professionals in the Spanish-speaking world?
“By translating We Media, I have obtained a bibliography for my students and I can support other teachers’ efforts by means of the Internet. I think it is a good way to develop and help others to develop online journalism programs in my country and Latin America.
“As a student or teacher of journalism, you cannot think that the participatory journalism is just a trend in developed countries. It would be a mistake, when the Internet is synonymous to globalization.”
What is the state of participatory journalism, in your opinion, in Latin America?
“I wouldn’t take a risk to answer about Latin America, and not even Colombia. I think (and this is another reason why I translated We Media) we have to do research on this topic and we will. We will include a chapter about participatory journalism in the second study about The State of Online Journalism in Latin America.
“You can obtain some clues about participatory journalism from the number of Internet users. In Colombia, for example, there are about 2 million Internet users — only 4.5 percent of our population. That is not good news, not just for participatory journalism, but for everything. Our problem is how many people are connected to Internet; yours is how many people have broadband connections.
“On eltiempo.com, we are increasing the level of participation of our audience, but it hasn’t been easy. We are going through an internal conflict (war) in our country. We are a very polarized society, not just for war, and that is reflected in our forums. Believe me, creating ways for the audience to participate in our country wasn’t a honeymoon. In that context, the expression participatory journalism acquires a different meaning.
“However, I think the Internet is the land of opportunity for the people to participate with content and opinion, and creating content, even from a mainstream media. Information and participation are the first tools that developing countries should use in order to fight violence, poverty, starvation and illness… And I think that’s good for democracy.”
Other research and translation by Guillermo Franco
• The State of Online Journalism in Latin America, published by Poynter.
• An Interview with Guillermo Franco
• Before translating We Media, Franco translated Poynter’s Eyetrack III research into Spanish.
• Finding Common Ground in Translation: Dan Gillmor reminds us, “We Americans tend to take for granted the ascendency of English.”