¡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
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!
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
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.