Author Archives: Laura Fosmire

About Laura Fosmire

Former journalist, former auditor, current communications specialist with the Oregon Secretary of State. I like coffee and being outside.

News Junkies

¡Hola otra vez de España!

As you can tell from previous blog posts, we have all been clearly enjoying ourselves in this beautiful city. Not only are we learning a lot about each other, but we’ve also been learning a lot about design.

In that vein, today was the day we visited El Periódico, one of Barcelona’s most circulated newspapers. We all met up as a group outside of the building, which we were able to successfully find without getting lost (which now puts us at; MSU Spain: 1 Barcelona: 2). Cheryl had arranged for us to take a tour

Students outside of El Periódico.

with Ricard Grácia Ferrer, the head of the infographics department.

Ricard spoke English quite well, so he was able to tell us a lot about the paper. It’s published daily, with two identical editions in Spanish and Catalan. The Spanish versions are recognizable by their red flags — the Catalan in blue. He explained to us the difficulties of designing a paper that has to have identical content, both in the text and in the design elements, in two separate languages. One headline in Spanish might be longer than a similar one in Catalan, which means that images get moved around and text gets bumped. Knowing the time and effort put into designing a newspaper page, we all understood how big of a challenge that is!

The newsroom.

Ricard showed us around the entire building. He explained that they had moved into this building with the intent of finding an open, airy space — and they achieved just that. A lot of us were impressed with the size of the newsroom and how, despite the number of desks and people in it, it didn’t feel cramped at all. All of the different departments were located in the same room, just at separate desk clusters. We toured the design department, where he talked to us about how their website is finally moving to flash; the photography department, where he told us that photographers have much more control over which pictures run in the paper and how they appear; and even “la mesa”, the table, where it is ensured that reporters aren’t covering the same events.

We even ventured into the depths of the building and into the archives, where very few journalists even are allowed. Cheryl continued to refer to it as the morgue: “Where old papers go to die.” Ricard seemed puzzled by this reference to the great space where all of the old versions of the paper are

The archive, or "morgue", for the paper.

kept. We young journalists were enthralled by it, of course. I imagine it was a place that strongly resembled my own personal heaven.

In the conference room, we spoke with Ricard about Karl Gude (he was really excited when he heard the name), how he feels about Barcelona, and his time covering the ’92 Olympics when they were located in the city. He told us that he usually comes into work about 10am but doesn’t leave until 11 at night. Those kind of hours are crazy to us Americans!

As we were leaving, Ricard gifted each one of us with a free copy of El Periódico. Giving journalism students a free newspaper is like giving puppies to three-year-olds. We were ecstatic. Many of us have already sliced ‘n diced the papers up to use as collages in our visual journals.

The moral of the story: we are learning a lot about serious journalism, despite our many field trips. But we still know how to have fun.

Laura F.



Filed under Barcelona, El Periodico

“Wasn’t Picasso a Ladies’ Man?”

My old paintings do not interest me… I am much more curious about those I still haven’t painted yet.

Pablo Ruiz Picasso, reflecting on his own work at 80. But while Picasso may have had no interest in what was already done, the rest of the world does. So for class today, we wandered over to the Museu Picasso, a showcase of his life’s work as an artist with an emphasis on his time spent in Barcelona.

The museum staff had our group divided up into two smaller clusters, probably to keep congestion in the museum at a minimum. While some of the

Part of the group out at breakfast!

students went on ahead, the rest spent some time getting traditional Spanish desayuno at a nearby cafe, where the drink of choice is café con leche (think of it like a really strong cappuccino), accompanied by croissants or other baked goods. After breakfast, we picked up some post cards from the nearby tiendas to send home to friends and family.

Finally, it was into the museum we went. It was an impressive collection, with some pieces there on loan and others donated by his widow, Jacqueline. The pieces spanned nearly his entire life, but there seemed to be much more attention paid to his early life. I noticed a lot of works that were done when he was only 15 — impressive!

Cameras weren’t allowed in the museum, but I was naughty and snuck a

Picasso's "Margot"

photo, anyway. This piece was called Margot, and might look familiar.

I was surprised to learn that Picasso had a relatively successful career as an artist long before his infamous cubist works. Although there was a section devoted to some of his paintings during his cubism period, the vast majority of the collection consisted of various sketches and oil paintings, created long before he was dabbling with square heads and disjointed profiles. There was a particularly fascinating exhibit that looked at an extensive analysis Picasso did of another painting called Las Meninas. He did a number of paintings inspired by that single piece of art, and each painting focused on a different portion and altered the style slightly. It was really cool to see how the rest of the world saw the painting, and how Picasso saw the painting.

The sign outside for the museum.

I have to say that, personally, it was more interesting to read about Picasso’s early life than to see the paintings. Each room focused on a different period in his life, and featured text on the wall explaining where he was living at that point in his life, who was influencing him, and how it all showed up in his art.

Another interesting tidbit: Picasso didn’t just paint. He dabbled in ceramics and sculpture, also featured in the museum. There was also some photography of him by others, not pictures he’d taken himself.

After all of the students had finished exploring the museum, we took some time in the gift shop, where they had a huge array of Picasso-themed merchandise from t-shirts to bags to stickers. It was an interesting but more relaxed way to spend our morning.

¡Ciao! Laura F.

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Filed under Barcelona, Picasso