Podcast

Podcasting is on the rise due to its many advantages and its accessibility. By definition, podcasting is “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.” Podcasting refers to the audio and sometimes video about a certain subject. There are many benefits of podcasting, such as the accessibility, automatic processes, from push medium to pull medium, no gatekeeper, and more specific content. The accessibility of podcasting is what makes it so popular. Podcasts are portable, making it easy for people to listen to on the go. People are able to listen to podcasts on their phone, Ipod, computer, and more. Once you subscribe to a podcast, new podcasts will automatically download to your device, making it accessible to listen to at your own convenience. According to Learning Times, these are the seven benefits of podcasting.

There are many different types of podcasts, ranging from culture and information to advice, discussion, and drama. Here is a list of some examples of podcasts to listen to in 2017, according to Buzzfeed. A podcast that I enjoy listening to in my free time is Pop Culture Happy Hour. In this podcast, the hosts discuss all things going on in pop culture. During the weekly podcast, the hosts each discuss something that makes them happy. I prefer this type of podcast, and recommend them to others, because the news on television is full of hate, so this is a nice way to hear about all the good going on in the world and brings good vibes to its listeners. Podcasts give listeners the option to listen to what they want to listen to based on the topics of the podcasts.

Making a podcast is almost as easy as listening to one! Here are the steps needed to take in order to make a podcast. The first step to making a podcast is to create an audio file on a good recording software. Once you record your podcast, you must upload it to an online service, such as YouTube or Soundcloud to name a couple. After you upload the podcast, you must distribute it to the web on a site like podomatic so that people can listen to what you have to say. Once it is distributed, anyone can listen to it, it is that easy. Below I have attached my very own podcast where I will talk about my study abroad experience in Barcelona, Spain for the Spring 2017 semester.

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Ate my way through Italy

Over the past ten days, I traveled throughout Italy for Easter Break, where I ate pizza, pasta, and gelato for every meal. My trip began in the Amalfi Coast, where my friends and I relaxed in the hot, Italian sun for five days. Our next destination was Florence, Italy, where we climbed to the top of the Duomo. We finished our spring break in Rome, Italy, where we got to explore old ruins, the colosseum, and of course, live our childhood dream of being Lizzie McGuire by making a wish at the Trevi Fountain.

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We arrived in Sorrento, Italy on the morning of April 7th and  had already fallen in love with it. it was a gorgeous, sunny day, so we decided to relax by the pool at our our beautiful hotel, Hotel La Vue d’Or, which seemed to be the our game plan almost every day we were in Sorrento. For dinner, we finally got to have our first, true Italian meal… pasta. I have to say that it definitely surpassed my expectations. We ate at a very local Italian restaurant, Il Ritrovo, and I had the most delicious gnocchi of my life, I am still dreaming about it. One of our days in Sorrento, we decided to take a boat tour over to the island of Capri. All I can say is WOW. I now know where I want my future wedding to be. We boarded the boat bright and early and headed over to Capri, where we were able to spend 4 hours exploring the breathtaking island. It is by far the prettiest, cutest, most quaint little island I have been to. After exploring the island by foot, we hopped back on the boat and cruised around the island, stopping into several grottos along the way. e were able to go inside one of the most famous grottos, the Blue Grotto. it costs 14 euro to enter, and if you tip your guide, he will let you swim in it! My friends and I were feeling pretty brave and decided to take a dip in the freezing cold, gatorade blue colored, blue grotto. It was literally breathtaking because of how cold it was, but I highly recommend doing it if you ever get the chance. After a long day of exploring and boating, we headed back to the hotel for another delicious pasta dinner.

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Next on our agenda was Florence, Italy. Unfortunately we only had two days here, but we definitely made the most of it. The second we got to Florence, suitcases and all, we headed over to a very popular pizza place recommended by many of our friends, called Gustapizza. Just our luck, it was closed. Luckily, they have a sister restaurant just down the street, so we headed over there for a delicious margherita pizza, followed by gelato. The next day, we walked around the fairytale like streets and came across the Duomo, which looks like a cartoon building. We waited in line for a little over an hour only to find out that the climb to the top of the Duomo was sold out. We were still able to climb 403 steps to the top of the bell tower, which overlooks all of Florence as well as the Duomo. After the treacherous climb to the top, we deserved another gelato, so we headed over to the famous bridge, Ponte Vecchio, where we enjoyed a tasty, refreshing gelato. For a pre-dinner snack, and our last day in Florence, we HAD to eat at another highly recommended place, All’Antico Vinaio, for the tastiest panini of my life. If you ever find yourself in Florence and are unsure of where to eat, you must go to this place… it is life changing. Afterwards, we headed over to Piazzale Michelangelo for sunset, which overlooks all of Florence. From there, we headed to dinner at Trattoria ZaZa for another delicious pasta dinner.

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Our last stop for our spring break adventure was Rome, Italy. I was amazed at how ancient everything, including many of the buildings, is. When we arrived, we headed over to the colosseum and took a tour of the inside, which was really cool to see something so old still standing, even though a lot of it has been updated. After that we headed over to the markets at Campo de’ Firori, where they have fresh fruit, pasta and pizza spices, jewelry, leather wallets and purses, and much more. It was a really cute area with many restaurants and gelaterias. For dinner we headed over to my favorite restaurant of the entire trip, Thats Amore. you seriously HAVE to eat here if you travel to Rome!!!! Its a couple blocks away from the Trevi Fountain, and they have the best pasta I have ever eaten, and will probably ever eat in my life. I ordered the fettuccine al ragú bolognese, but everything looked exquisite. To finish off our trip to Rome, we headed over to the Trevi Fountain to bring out our inner childhood dream of making a wish at the Trevi Fountain, just like Lizzie did in the Lizzie McGuire movie, so I guess we will see if my wish comes true! Overall it was an unforgettable spring break and I will 1,000% be returning to Italy in my future endeavors. Ciao for now!

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Guest Speaker

Having guest speaker Ana López come and speak to our class the other day about advertising and brand marketing was a really cool and interesting experience. I was able to learn an incredible amount about different types of advertisements and how they affected the company she works for, Estrella Damm. López studied journalism and worked for 3 years as a journalist at a communications agency. She has a masters in communications and marketing and currently works for Estrella Damm.

Estrella Damm is the first brewery in Catalonia and the third brewery in Spain. The brand advertises that drinking Estrella Damm will provide good moments and a mediterranean way of life. They advertise this through music videos, short film, music, culture, friendship, gastronomy, and party time. In 2009, Estrella Damm created a short music video, which increased their YouTube views and brand awareness by 225%. The music video, which worked with a not so well known Swedish band, ended up being the most downloaded song of the summer in Spain and Fromentera, the location of the music video, was the preferred travel destination that year.

In 2015, Estrella Damm created a 10 minute short film (shown below), featuring Dakota Johnson. After this video was published, their brand awareness increased by 5% in Spain and 30% in the UK. YouTube awarded Estrella Damm as the best campaign in Spain. Afterwards, more than 1 million people followed Estrella Damm on at least 1 social media platform. During this campaign, Ana López was leading a team of more than 30 people from inside and outside the company (agencies that work for Estrella Damm). The Estrella Damm budget increased from 100,000 euros in 2009, to 1 million euros by 2015. The way Estrella Damm advertised worked very well for the company and was able to successfully increase their brand awareness, not just in Spain but all over Europe.

After their huge success in 2015, the company began to look for the creation of growth and communities, they searched for campaigns that would fit in with every type of social media platform, not just YouTube. They also formed relationships with key partners, such as the media, Google and YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram communities. In order to grow their comapany and grow digitally, they collaborated with partners from restaurants, to festivals and football teams. One thing that the company learned through all of their success is that it is so important to match the interests of the brand with the interests of your target audience. In order to achieve this, one must put the community first (find the motivations and beliefs of the company and its target), reach media influencers, advertise online and offline, and work with agencies that understand the companies needs.

 

Politics 2.0

The use of social media played an enormous role in the recent United States election. Using social media for campaigning became a smart tool back in the 2008 election when Barack Obama brought new ideas to his presidential campaign. In the 2012 election, there were obvious differences between the use of social media for campaigning between Obama and Romney. In 2016, we had the highest rate of social media use for a presidential campaign yet.

Former US President Barack Obama used a numerous amount of social networking sites in his 2008 campaign. The tools used in the Obama Online operation were his own personal website, Twitter,  YouTube,  Facebook,  Myspace, SMS/ callcenters, online advertisements, and a blog. All of these tools are what helped increase people’s knowledge of Obama and his ideas if he were to become President of the United States and helped him to win the 2008 election. By using various social media platforms, Obama was able to get the support of many young Americans who use those social media websites on a daily basis: “Obama had won nearly 70 percent of the vote among Americans under age 25– the highest percentage since U.S. exit polling began in 1976” according to US News. Ever since the 2008 election, the use of social media for political campaigns has become more and more necessary for winning elections.

In the 2012 US Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, it was evident that Obama knew about more social network platforms in order to reach out to young voters, where as Romney, who is older than Obama, was not as up to date with social media, so he used far less social media platforms for his presidential campaign. When comparing the Obama and Romney, Obama used about 10 different social media sites to campaign for the election, where as Romney only used 5. Campaigning on social media platforms helped Obama get the attention of young voters and keep them up to date with his campaign.

In the most recent US election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, campaigning on social media platforms was extremely important in order to succeed. Facebook played a big role in the election, especially for Trump. One of the biggest scandals from the 2016 election was about the fake news on Facebook. There were many articles posted on Facebook that were bringing a lot of attention to Trump, and although it was not all good news about Trump, it still brought a lot of attention to him. Stanford did a study on social media and fake news in the 2016 election, where they looked at the changes in media and politics and how fake news affected the presidential campaign. Considering that many people use social media sites, such as Facebook, to get news, when these people saw the fake news stories posted on their Facebook they actually thought that they were real because often times real news is shared on Facebook. Because of this, some people believe that campaigning on social media platforms skews the election results. Over the past several years, we have seen how much campaigning with social media has influenced the outcome of the election.

 

Marketing and Advertising

Nike is a well-known brand around the world that does a fantastic job with marketing and advertising their brand. Nike gets their name out into the world by sponsoring athletes, sports teams, and by advertising their sportswear to all types of people, whether they are an athlete or not. Recently, they became the first sportswear company to make a hijab so that Muslin athletes have comfortable apparel to workout in.

 Nike advertises their apparel to many people throughout the world. They successfully do this by sponsoring some of the most well-known athletes and sports teams in the world, so that their fans will see them wearing and using Nike gear, so they will want to buy Nike apparel also. Nike will have the athletes that they sponsor post advertisements on social media so that their fans can see what is new as well as the latest trends. Social media sites, such as Instagram and Facebook, are becoming more popular ways to advertise brands. Here is an example of Roger Federer, one of the greatest tennis players of all time, posting an advertisement for Nike on his Instagram.

Laced up and ready to take flight. #NikeCourt

A post shared by Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) on

Another way that Nike successfully markets and advertises their brand is by having catchy slogans. Nike is well-known for their slogan “Just do it”, which is meant to motivate people and help them to prove themselves that they can do it. Nike’s mission is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body you are an athlete*”. Nike does not only make their brand available to one type of person, but they consider everyone an athlete, so anyone is able to buy their apparel. They recently came out with their line of hijabs, which will be available next year. They are the first athletic brand to make hijabs for Muslim athletes so that they are more comfortable and have sweat wicking material when they workout. Nike wants to inspire female athletes who face barriers in sport by creating the hijab: “The garment is designed to tackle performance problems associated with wearing a traditional hijab during sports, taking into account its weight, lack of breathability and the potential for it to shift during action” as stated by Nike on The Independent.

Nike does a fantastic job of marketing their brand to all different types of people from all around the world. They have motivating and catchy slogans that help to attract people to their brand and they sponsor many of the most well-known athletes, causing their fans to want to buy the same apparel that their role models wear.

 

Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism is becoming a more popular way to spread news throughout the world. It is “a citizen, or group of citizens, with an active role in different processes: picking up news, analysis, and spread news and information.”  People have many different opinions on citizen journalism. One side that many professional journalists agree with is that journalism is a professional job which cannot be used for everyone. There are certain rules and ethics that must be followed and respected. The other side of the argument is that people view this form of journalism as a citizen incursion in the information society and think it is helpful.

After doing some research about the positives and negatives of citizen journalism, I can see why there are two differing opinions on the subject. According to For Starters: Pros and Cons of Citizen Journalism, the pros of citizen journalism are, “it provides the community with a different perspective, it helps to get local citizens more engaged in the issues affecting their lives, for activism, and it makes possible the coverage of events that the mainstream media might otherwise miss.” I would agree with all of these pros because citizens journalism has opened up a new side to journalism where people can see all different sides of a news story, the side from the media as well as the view from a citizen. It has also given people the opportunity to contribute to newspapers by sharing their photos, videos and videos with journalists. Local citizens are more likely to become involved in the issues affecting their lives if they are able to contribute and share their stories and have people listen to them. Really all someone needs to be a citizen journalist is a camera, information, and communication; it is similar to mobile journalism. Although many positives come out of citizen journalism, many people, including journalists, do not share those opinions.

Taking a look at the negative side of citizen journalism, there are very valid reasons for why people are against it. The cons that are given in For Starters: Pros and Cons of Citizen Journalism are that, “citizen journalists have no formal training in reporting, citizen reporters don’t have any ethics training in how to handle certain situations that may arise, and how exactly do we define news? There is a big discrepancy in this, as everyone has their own idea of what is considered important.” In order to be a journalist, journalists go through extensive training and have studied for years in order to get to where they are. It is not fair to them if they spend all of this time studying and taking the time to follow the path to become a journalist, when citizen journalists do not have any training or background in journalism.

Both of these opposing sides give valid reasons as to why citizen journalism is good or not. It gives many people the opportunity to share their opinion on certain topics and people become more involved in the the problems that affect their lives, but it is also unfair to journalists who have put in the time and effort to become a journalist.

Multimedia Project

Montserrat, also known as the Magic Mountain, is located about 30 miles to the West of Barcelona, Spain. It is easily accessible by train, cable car, road, or even a scenic hike to the top and entry prices will vary depending on the visitors mode of transportation (about 7 euro for the cable car to the top of Montserrat). This beautiful mountain is most famous for Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat as well as a museum where visitors are able to see works of many famous artists, from Dali and El Greco to Monet and Giordano. On a clear, sunny day, visitors are able to see magnificent views of Catalonia, and sometimes even the island of Mallorca, from the pristine mountain top. Montserrat is one of the most visited tourist attractions to see when visiting Barcelona, and there are many reasons why. The main reasons for visiting the Magic Mountain are to explore the amazing architecture, learn about the history of Montserrat and Spain, and to enjoy the amazing views that Montserrat has to offer. According to Castle Experience, the name Montserrat means “serrated mountain”. It is called this because if you look at the shape of the rocks that surround Montserrat, they are sharp and jagged, as if someone sawed  them into these unique rock formations. Legend has it that “Angels came down from the sky and serrated the mountain with the golden saw to create a throne for the Virgin Mary”. You will definitely not be disappointed with your visit to Montserrat.

 

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Here is a short interview with a visitor, Jordyn Duncan, who highly recommends that visitors take the cable car, also known as the Aeri de Montserrat, up to the top of the mountain because it has fabulous views and it is quick and efficient. Aside from all of the tourist attractions at Montserrat, there are also many places to cure your hunger. As Jordyn mentioned, right off of the exit from the cable car is a delicious cafeteria where you can get all types of food for a cheap price. There is also a small farmers market where visitors are able to try many different cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. Aside from the cafeteria and farmers market, there are a few cafes and restaurants scattered throughout Montserrat.

Although she decided to take the cable car up the mountain the first time, she said in a later interview that next time she would like to try the hike, which takes most people several hours to complete and is a grueling, yet scenic, hike. If visitors decide to do the hike, there are many different routes to choose from, so choose wisely and do your research before hand. Throughout the hike, hikers will have magnificent views of Catalonia as well as the intense rock formations of Montserrat. Saint Jerome is the highest peak at Montserrat, measuring in at 1,236 meters above sea level, so one can only imagine the views from the top and throughout the hike. To get to the tip top of the peak, it takes hikers an average of 2-3 hours to complete, but it is all worth it in the end. Along the hike there is a popular rock formation called the Cavall Bernat, so be sure to look out at the view from time to time, no matter how exhausted you might be.

Alongside many of the walls at Montserrat are picturesque tile paintings along with flowers that really catch the eye. All of the architecture at Montserrat is breathtaking. The Basilica was built between the Gothic and Renaissance time periods, and was then damaged during a war and was unable to be reconstructed until the late 19th century. The church was built with Gothic arches, which marks the transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance time period, but was later destroyed by Napoleon’s army, so there are very few original walls still standing there today. Another piece of beautiful architecture at Montserrat is the Atrium of the Basilica. When visiting the Atrium, be sure to look down at the ground and admire the gorgeous black and white marble floors. There is also an iron sculpture of St. Benedict sitting at the entrance of the Monastery where the monks live, although visitors are forbidden from entering this area. Throughout the walls of the Atrium, there are designs on the right hand side of the wall that signify the most important shrines and Basilicas throughout Christianity, where as the left hand side of the wall has designs that show a brief history of Montserrat. All of the architecture is astonishing and visitors can truly see the history within the monuments. If you are a big fan of architecture, there is even an option to take an architecture tour of Montserrat.

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Here is a short video of a glimpse of the amazing views that you can see from Montserrat. As you can see from the video below, Montserrat has a “Stairway to Understanding”, also known as “the Stairway to Heaven” monument that overlooks all of Catalonia on a clear day. The Stairway to Understanding/ Heaven sculpture was inspired by a Majorcan philosopher. The sculpture contains eight stairway blocks that climb in a spiral-like shape. Each step represents a diverse being: stone, flame, plant, beast, men, angel, and God. The steps are named in a hierarchal manner, with God being at the top of the statue. Many visitors enjoy climbing to the top of the monument to take pictures, but it is not recommended, due to safety reasons.

There is so much to do and see during a visit to Montserrat, so bring your hiking shoes, a camera, and get ready to learn all about the history of Montserrat. Spending a day at this magical mountain will bring you fun memories and some breathtaking pictures to look back at once the day trip comes to an end. Grab your friends and family and start planning your trip to Montserrat, the Magic Mountain of Catalonia.