Journalism students tell stories from the Caño Martín Peña.
By Natalia Santiago Pérez
A distinguished group of students from the Ferré Rangel School of Communication presented their immersive journalism project, El Barrio es otra cosa, at the Caño Martín Peña community in San Juan.
This project was part of a new course focused on immersive journalism, led by Professor Lilian E. Agosto, where the students worked hard in getting to know the Caño for a period of six months. There, they gathered information through interviews with residents in order to find out about the ecological and social problems faced by the community.
This group of 13 student journalists from Sagrado developed journalistic content about history, struggles, and community organization in text, photo, audio, and video format. However, beyond the development of new journalistic tools, this experience helped develop a greater sense of humanity and solidarity in these new professionals.
“This project was a unique opportunity for students to increase the sense of humanity in the profession and to break with stereotypes,” said Gabriel Paizy, director of the Ferré Rangel School of Communication.
In this course, which breaks ground in the area of immersive journalism, a journalist doesn’t just narrate the facts as testimony, but experiences them him or herself. To achieve good coverage, the journalist must become fully immersed in a social issue for a determined amount of time, and then tell the stories from a personal perspective.
The project describes the struggle of the community in favor of dredging, recounts interesting stories from some of the community leaders, and showcases social initiatives such as its literacy courses. The residents of the Caño Martin Peña were grateful for the exposure given to the neighborhood, which has 26,000 inhabitants, a number of citizens that is greater than the number of residents in some municipalities of the Island.
“Thank you for giving us a voice, for showing that our struggle is not a whim,” a community resident said emotionally.
The activity, held at a community center in Santurce, was attended by Gilberto J. Marxuach Torrós, president of the University; Gabriel Paizy, director of the Ferré Rangel School of Communication; Luis Alberto Ferré Rangel, chief social innovation officer at Grupo Ferré Rangel and editorial counselor at GFR Media; and several leaders of the Caño community.
The presentation ended with an exchange of ideas, where those present took the opportunity to chat and thank the students and teachers once again for this initiative, which gave a voice to those who didn’t have one and turned into the perfect opportunity to transform a community, the citizens, and the country.
The reports were published during the month of January 2019 in El Nuevo Día newspaper and you can find them on its digital platforms.
You can read some of the news stories here.