On May 31, Eileen Truax, the last resident of the last period of the 2016-2017 course went back at home. It has been a profitable residence period from a professional view: residents have exchanged experiences and they have also shared their knowledge with Catalan citizens in schools, institutes and cultural centers. Residents have been taken part of a community of practice about journalism since which they have developed many several projects. This period has made possible not only they work intensely to produce projects, but also meeting other professionals of the same field and exchanging points of view. Two weeks very intense, with much work made. Now it’s time to do an assessment.
Faber has hosted, for two weeks, 21 journalists, four of them are foreigners (from Russia, Finland, Mexico, United States and United Kingdom) and the rest ones are Catalans. Most of the Catalans take part of SomAtents, a collective of journalists.
The first residents who reached Faber, on May 15, were Oliver Elliott, Joan Soler, Eileen Truax, Àlex Hinojo and Carles Palacio. On 16th in the morning Oliver Elliott (United Kingdom) did the first activity of the period: a talk in Petit Plançó school about what it means to be a historian and how he became interested in the history of American journalism: “The protests against the Iraq War in 2003 made me aware of the power of different media narratives”. This talk, in English, was about the exciting work of historians.
The same day Joan Soler (Catalonia) did a conference in Arxiu Comarcal de la Garrotxa. He assessed how the media uses original documents to justify some of the most important news generated by the political process to achieve a sovereign state in Catalonia. “We realized that in many cases the press works with descontextualized photocopies, electronic documents of uncertain origin and uses with a common narrative: the disclosure of the secret”.
Let’s to continue. On Wednesday 17, Carles Palacio did a workshop to a group of students of Cor de Maria school about how to relate the everyday through photography: “Behind the small acts and situations of everyday life there are small and big stories.” He also emphasized the responsibilities that photojournalist has towards society and how a picture well done or poorly done can influence.
On Thursday 18 was the fuller day: there were four activities; all different, all interesting. Early in the morning, Helena Roura and Carles Palacio were already ready to do a workshop about portrait of press and optimization of compositional and technical resources. Four hours dedicated to Photography’s students of School of Art and Design in Olot, in the context of which they also made a comparison between the dynamics of production of mass media communication and the dynamics of SomAtents group, which works with more time.
When Carles and Helena were with the Photography’s students, the open days about New Jornalisme in Faber started in the conference room of Riu Fluvià Hotel. Oliver Elliott began talking about Donald Trump and the crisis in journalistic objectivity: Lessons from the history of American journalism.
In the afternoon, Laia Seró and Gerardo Santos were to Bosc de la Coma institute (Olot) to explained to some pupils the basic concepts we have to control when we prepare a report. And to finish the day, we organized in Can Trincheria a round table with Eileen Truax, Luís Guillermo Hernández and Celia Castellano. We know that journalism has helped to know and also to curb many abuses of power, but has also worked as a transmission belt of many undemocratic powers, powers that have encouraged inequality or totalitarianism. The three journalists have tried to answer questions like: “It is possible another journalism? What is the agreement and the society’s role nowadays. A dynamic conversation, full of optimism.
On Friday was also a prolific day. Eileen Truax talked about migration and journalism in the Trump’s era: stories of success and resistance in the United States while Laia Seró kept a conversation with young people of Petit Plançó school (Olot). She dealt subjects like the importance of the right to information, as well as social responsibility of the journalist and also the readers. Mid-morning we presented the period in a press conference and closed the open day with a presentation of SomAtents about its current projects.
Finally, we finished the day with a second round table in Can Trincheria with David Vidal, Cristina Garde and Daria Gavrilova. All of them discussed journalism and politics at the time of the digital revolution. The emergence and spread of Internet and social networks have caused a great effect on the media and the concepts in which journalism of the last twenty years has developed. Some topics have passed from the idea of transparency and opacity to fragmentation and empowerment, through concepts such as storytelling or collaborative journalism.
We finished at all the first week of New Journalism in Faber with a conference about Media on line in Russia: space of freedom by Daria Gavrilova.
After a completed first week as regards number of residents and activities, we lived a second week with just five residents: L. Guillermo Hernández and Eileen Truax, on the one hand, Guido Cengiarotti and Margarita Khartanovich, on the other hand, and Àlex Hinojo, finally, who came back to Faber for some days more. He had been in Faber on the third residence (on January-February 2017).
On Tuesday 23 Margarita Khartanovich visited Pia School (Olot) to explain how is her job as a blogger, how it is becoming a job. And on Thursday 25 Guido Cengiarotti clarified the new terms related to media and social media: fake news, truth, Post-truth, alternative facts, big data, false information… to students of Castell d’Estela institute (in Amer). He encouraged the students to be critical with any information they get and to assume their responsibility when sharing them.
With these two activities, we finished the agenda out of Faber; Saturday 27 was the last event in Faber, the last day of open days. Three conferences. The first one about Veracity versus Verifiability, or the importance of the sources quoted in Wikipedia and in journalism, by Àlex Hinojo. The second one was about Media Freedom and Quality in the Post-Truth Digital Age. How Can the Truth Stand Out?, by Margarita Khartanovich. And finally, Guido Cengiarotti explained resources to identify fakenews and types of journalism, and its dissemination”.
In this way, we closed the New Journalism period and 2016-2017 course in Faber Residency. This period has been possible thanks to, on the one hand, co-funding obtained in other periods and, on the other hand, the organization together with Amikal Wikimedia and SomAtents. And, finally, thanks to the collaboration with schools and institutes of Olot and the region, we have been able to developed an educative and interdisciplinary program addressed to pupils; a program based on talks and workshops (in English, Catalan and Spanish) that the residents have done about topics related to their professional projects.
As we have said above, two weeks very intense, full of activities, which gave the residents the opportunity, one more time, to work on their personal projects in our city and with students of Olot and the region. Now it’s time to prepare the autumn periods and we are sure that with these precedents and the guarantee we have made a good job, as well as the accompaniment of professionals and institutions that have been with us during this course, next periods will be easier. Thanks to all of them.