1. Day 3. Strategy and Journalism 2022. Time to talk about the operational level. Which is to say, actually employing the strategic thought and resources over some particular time, with some particular event, to try to start doing some of that independent journalism.
2. At the grand strategic level, we can ask about our reporting effort and history, with the technologies of 2022, about our effort against abuses of authority or as the voice of some oppressed person somewhere, or about the real independence of a particular media project.
3. We also see problems or obstacles at that level that have come about over the years and that affect everyone. Internet, mobile phones, social media, attention and polarization, for example. What is "better reporting" when we are all being flooded by a tsunami of data?
4. Based on our beliefs and convictions at the highest level, we move down to the next one to try to find the possible strategic paths and formats that we might have at hand. Because we can't do everything in this life. You have to choose, and resources are always limited.
5. It would be difficult for me alone to do a national TV news programme, or a superficial morning chat show. An newsy YouTuber option could be a possible use of resources, a possible value proposition, but taking everything into account, that's not where we're going.
6. In my case, I believe in independence, in criticism or even impertinence to those in power, the illustration of the complexity of life, human struggle within a system that is too big for all of us, or the importance of documenting today for the future, when it will be history.
7. Independence guaranteed directly by readers, without any gatekeepers, works. It is a historic technological and economic opportunity. The technology of 2022 offers us 1,000 possible formats to talk about different issues, and thousands of possible news stories to choose from.
8. Yesterday we had settled on three formats that will serve us and that have served us in the past: i) daily notes, threads and analysis with a video blog, ii) a podcast conversation to talk about everything and iii) video reports and photo essays to go deeper into topics.
9. Now we have to ask ourselves if these concepts and choices at the higher levels translate into something practical in real life. I can compare and ask myself these questions with regards to the recent past, all the years the project has existed and the plan for the future.
10. Which is to say, with that selection of elements in terms of formats and tools, would I have done better reporting from Angrois in 2013, or during the abdication in 2014 or the elections in 2015 or the beginning of the pandemic in 2020? What about 2022 and the future?
11. And those examples give you another way of conceiving the idea of “a news operation”. Those complex moments we mentioned yesterday, with a national impact and uncertain consequences, that last several weeks or months, and that require some reporting dedication.
12. The regional elections in Castilla y León would be an immediate example of a news operation this year. A period of time, focused on a reporting deployment, that requires a certain combination of resources, equipment and skill to achieve the aim.
13. Other examples this past year would have been the volcano in La Palma or the sudden migrant crisis in Ceuta. Not that I would have done the same reporting as others, but they have certainly been stories of national relevance this past year in Spain. News operations.
14. There is also room for media criticism at this level. The Kabul affair and Spanish media this past summer, for example. With plenty of resources and money, why didn't any of them get over there to report back to Spaniards, like the BBC or Sky or CNN did in English?
15. If you have made it this far with the threads, you now understand better and can correctly describe the differences between the different media actors you see on a daily basis. From TVE's nondescript lunchtime news to polarised viral Christmas messages on WhatsApp.
16. Each media participant (journalist, politician, propagandist) believes in certain things and has certain interests and funding in the long-term, uses his technological options in different formats over time and presents the stories he chooses in a certain way.
17. Would we have liked to have had more daily updates, the audios recorded with the priest or the fireman or the ambulance boss in podcast format and more photos and videos of everything to explain the details of the train crash in Santiago in 2013..? I think we would.
18. In fact, the conclusions I reach almost a decade later about formats and strategies are not so very different from that initial approach I had for The Spain Report in 2013, from that initial impulse, then completely undeveloped and without the experience of the next 10 years.
20. From 2017 and 2018, I also started publishing stories in Spanish, at the request of readers, and we discovered Twitter threads as a news format. They came in very handy for the Catalan separatist trial in 2019 and the first months of the pandemic in 2020.
21. But so many trials in 2019 or all the reporting on Catalan separatism in 2017 was very analytical, lots of documents. After the first months of the pandemic, I felt the need to go out and illustrate reality with images again. Statements and documents don't do the job.
22. So with better technology to record, reports and details like this came out, which we had not yet seen from hospitals after months of a historic pandemic in Spain. The health workers themselves were able to begin to tell their stories from the inside.
23. Reader asks about interviewing ordinary people. Becuase if this is about seeing, recording and illustraing Spain, talking about Spain, then Spaniards, of course, are important. I have always liked the difference in perspective between those at the top and those at the bottom.
24. To the point of discovering that it was possible to do video blogs or reports on the Covid situation in a hospital from inside the Covid area in question. The next day, the regional government kicked me out of the hospital for the rest of that wave.
25. Reporting + documents + sources + images + videos + audio + even the podcast format with Dr. @pascualpinera, with reader interaction on Twitter Spaces to ask him questions about the situation. Formats, knowledge, technology applied to a news subject.
26. Which is to say, over time, over years, and the different news topics that have been interesting from one year to the next, the right journalistic formats have come out and have been able to be applied and improved. This is the way. I just needed to bring it all together.
27. With all the technology options we have in 2022, all the distribution options, all the news topics that never stop as part of that tsunami of data and information that washes over us all, I couldn't see the path so clearly, but it was there all the time.
28. But I think we now have something coherent here from the three levels we have analysed: the grand strategic, the strategic paths and the operational bit. There is an answer that comes out of the real experiences of past years and will serve us for tomorrow's stories too.
29. Still one more level to analyse: news battles, the day-to-day, contact with reality and the antagonist resistance. Tomorrow we will talk a bit about that and see if it all ends up fitting well with the three levels that we have looked at so far. Thank you for reading.