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Traditional media and digital native sites come together for the Ibero-American Colloquium on Digital Journalism


For the ninth consecutive year, journalists from Latin America, Spain and the United States gathered after the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) to discuss trends, challenges and success stories in digital journalism in the region as part of the 9th Ibero-American Colloquium on Digital Journalism.

The Colloquium, organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, had a record number of participants with almost 100 journalists who gathered on April 17 in the Belo Center for New Media at the University of Texas at Austin.

After welcoming remarks by Rosental Alves, director and founder of the Knight Center; and from Florencia Sabatini, director of communications with Google Argentina; Ismael Nafría presented a summary of the main lessons learned during ISOJ 2016.

Rosental Alves opens the 9th Ibero-American Colloquium on Digital Journalism. Photo: Mary Kang/Knight Center.

Nafría, Spanish journalist and consultant specialized in digital media, began with an explanation that these were “subjective” lessons, those which, in his opinion, addressed common themes debated during ISOJ.

For Nafría, the first major conclusion is that there is no magical formula when it comes to the subject of digital journalism, the transition of traditional media and new technologies incorporated in the production of journalism. Each media should adapt according to its local reality, its business model, its target audience, among other variables.

In his presentation, he did not overlook issues such as mobile devices – those which are most utilized, but for which the media still does not plan exclusive content – nonprofit journalism as a viable alternative, virtual reality, and the always necessary and relevant advertising.

The day continued with two main panels. The first of these was titled “Challenges and success stories of the transition of the traditional press to digital platforms.”

This panel was moderated by Borja Echevarria, vice president and editor-in-chief of Univisión Digital. Speaking at the panel were Marcos Foglia, director of digital platforms for media group Artear of Argentina; Gastón Roitberg, secretary of multimedia editing of Argentine newspaper La Nación; Carlos Graieb, editor-in-chief of the magazine Veja in Brazil; Roberto Dias, assistant deputy editor of Folha de S. Paulo in Brazil; Francisco Aravena, general editor of Chilean magazine Qué Pasa; Élber Gutiérrez, editor and coordinator of the website of newspaper El Espectador in Colombia; Borja Bergareche, director of innovation of Spanish group Vocento; Lourdes de Obaldía, director of Panamanian newspaper La Prensa; Gonzalo Zegarra, director of the Peruvian magazine Semana Económica; and Rosa Jiménedez Cano, Silicon Valley correspondent for Spanish newspaper El País.

In presentations of little more than five minutes, ten journalists shared with Colloquium participants the strategies and experiences that enabled them to better navigate the transition to the digital world.

Finally, in the second and last panel, “Innovation in digital journalism startups in Ibero-America,” digital native media in the region that have set the standards for creativity and journalistic innovation took the floor.

Moderated by Mijal Iastrebner, regional director of SembraMedia, attendees heard from a panel including Laura Zommer, director of Chequeado in Argentina; Mauricio Jaramillo, founder and director of Hangouts de Periodismo in Colombia; Isabela Ponce, editor and founder of GkillCity.com in Ecuador; Martín Rodríguez Pellecer, director and founder of Nómada in Guatemala; Fabiola Torres, editor and founder of Ojo Público in Perú; Luz Mely Reyes, general director and cofounder of Efecto Cocuyo in Venezuela; and Nilsa Varela, founder of Diario El Vistazo in Venezuela.

The panel also included three presenters that seek to join new digital media in the region. Jordy Meléndez, of México, talked about his project Distintas Latitudes; Marga Cabrera, of Spain, spoke about the Observatory of New Media in Spanish; and Janine Warner, executive director and founder of SembraMedia, explained her new project [Editorial note: Rosental Alves, director of the Knight Center, is part of the SembraMedia board]

The 10th Ibero-American Colloquium on Digital Journalism is planned for April 23, 2017.

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