‘Global Voices Can Help Explain Catalonia to the World’



Violeta Camarasa, editor of Global Voices Català.

This article was originally published [ca] by the independent online  journal Vilaweb [ca]. We republish it with permission.

Interview with Violeta Camarasa, Global Voices Online‘s Catalan-language editor (Twitter) [ca]. Although Global Voices published their first Catalan-language article [ca], the project took a year to gain momentum. Today, Global Voices Català publishes regularly, with all the rights and responsibilities as Global Voices’ other language editions. On Wednesday, February 27th, Barcelona's Pompeu Fabra University [ca] hosted a panel discussion between Saül Gordillo [ca], Sílvia Cobo [ca], Cristina Vaquer (Twitter) [ca] of the collaborative reporting network People's Witness [ca], and Violeta Camarasa, editor of Global Voices Català.

Two Examples: Al Jazeera and The Washington Post

Global Voices Català has demonstrated over the past several months that it has the capacity to explain Catalonia to the world, supplementing the mainstream media's historical neglect of the region. For instance:

1) Al Jazeera highlighted their coverage of Catalan politics in a The Stream show video about September 11th's million-person protest in the context of the growing rift between Catalonia and the Spanish Government. In the video, The Stream's host thanks  Global Voices Català for calling the team's attention to the issue with an article published [ca] days before and also through Twitter (see minutes 11.33 and 28.19).

2. In a blog post about the Cafè amb Llet affair, The Washington Post cited Global Voices articles. The blog post was later revised after Ms Camarasa critiqued the piece.

What is Global Voices Català's ultimate purpose?

Global Voices Català is one piece of Global Voices Online's international puzzle. We function like a network, and within this network, every language edition has a double-mission. First, translating into that language (in our case, Catalan) to explain to its audience all of the ideas and polemics that charge worldwide online debate. It's also our duty to explain to the world the topics of debate on the Catalan-speaking web.

You often discuss the concept of online debates

Sure, and they're complex. These debates can circle around questions that arise directly online; they can also be online conversations about current, offline events. In this way, we are able to offer the world a unique vision of what's going on in Catalonia, supplementing what is usually presented by the mainstream media.

Can Global Voices therefore help explain Catalonia's secessionist movement to the world?

Of course! Just consider that last year, the world's vision of Catalonia was constructed exclusively by media outlets based in or heavily influenced by Madrid. Global Voices is a fresh, direct window into Catalan current events. And we can explain a lot more than the sovereignty process as well: for instance, the drama of evictions as a result of the economic crisis, corruption, and all other issues relevant to contemporary Catalan society. One issue doesn't negate the other and they are all related to the country we long for.

So what will we find online at Global Voices Català?

We often publish analyses that transcend conventional editorial agendas. We work exhaustively to produce a large volume of content, perhaps larger than any one person can consume. We write a lot about Catalan society so that other language versions may translate it, and we translate what other editions of Global Voices have produced, which results in diverse stories from around the world. It's important to provide thorough filters so that readers can find articles about the languages, regions, and countries that interest them.

Has building the Catalan edition been tolling?

Well, Global Voices was founded in 2005 and was initially an (exclusively) English-language publication that focused on stories emanating from the developing world. Global Voices linguistic domain eventually expanded to Spanish and French and today includes thirty languages. The Catalan edition was founded in 2010 but took a while to gain momentum. By 2011 we were publishing regularly, but it wasn't until 2012 that Global Voices Català was producing a large enough body of content to leave ‘BETA’ phase and be considered a full-fledged edition of Global Voices.

Engaging with Global Voices is also a way to get connected with the world...

Indeed. All of the content we produce for Catalan readers about worldwide conversations is extremely valuable. Moreover, we — that is, the GV team — are present in that content. Historically, international news has been disseminated by larger media outlets and to a lesser extent, diplomacy. Global Voices is one of the networks that has helped to break that down. Also, Global Voices allows readers to engage with the journalists and bloggers who produce the content. The communication is direct.

And how does the Catalan team work?

Right now, we're about twenty volunteers, but in recent weeks we've received more applications than usual. Hopefully, the presentation at Pompeu Fabra University will help us grow even more. We do the double work that I talked about earlier. We translate from other language editions, often adding a little extra context for our readers, and we report on the conversations that define the Catalan blogosphere. It's important to note that we're not talking about blogs and tweets by politicians, journalists and celebrities. In fact, it's quite the contrary. We want to give visibility to the voices of people outside the mainstream media's spotlight. In this regard we want volunteers with “journalistic” backgrounds, but that's not to say that you need to be a professional journalist to collaborate.

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