Questions for Valentí Sanjuan

Valentí Sanjuan, a Spanish native, is a self-made athlete, journalist, and entrepreneur. His mother was diagnosed with cancer and unfortunately lost her life to the disease. This was a huge obstacle that Valentí Sanjuan had to overcome, but he did so with the help and inspiration of his sister. Through his positive outlook on life, he is able to take the obstacles he is given and turn them into something amazing. He first was working for Catalunya Radio for many years. He then left his work there and used his social networking sills to develop the company Gordon Seen. Now, he is their creative director. Additionally, he set up a Youtube channel called Visto Visto.


Athletically, he has also accomplished very much. 2 months before the Ironman of Lanzarote, he decided to participate and began training. He also participated in the marathon of Sables, crossed the desert in 7 days, and completed a total of 5 ironman competitions. One quote he said that particularly resonates with me is “there are people for whom do 5 kilometers each day has much more merit than I do this.” This resonated with me because he is able to put everyones accomplishments in perspective and seems like a very humble person. According to Valenti Sanjuan, he considers himself a “TV presenter, amateur sportsman, Mistake Maker and longboarder. Founder and creative director at Gordon Seen.”

I have many questions that I would like to ask Valenti Sanjuan. As introduction questions, I would be interested in if he played sports in his childhood and when he knew that he wanted to be an athlete. Was he amazing at sports as a child, or is this a talent he developed over time?  Is there a favorite sport he has, or does he enjoy all of them? Also, how did he train for an ultra man and iron man in such a short amount of time? I would also be curious as to what made him decide to go into journalism. Was it a passion he always had? Was it a passion he developed in his adolescent years? Out of all of the places he traveled for sports, I am curious as to which of the places is his favorite and what he learned from the trips.  I am also curious as to how he found hope and strength after the tragic death of his mother. What is the motivating factor that kept him going each day? How does his sister play an impact on his everyday life? In what ways does she inspire him? As far as his company goes, I am very interested in finding out how he got the funds to start the company he has. Also, I want to know how integrated social media is in his everyday life. I look forward to hearing Valentí Sanjuan  speak to our class and am excited to hear more about his life.


The Best and Worst of Citizen Journalism

On July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado, tragedy struck. James Holmes entered a movie theater during the playing of “The Dark Night Rises” and began opening fire. Twelve people died and many more were injured. While news of this quickly took the country by storm, it is citizen journalists that were truly able to share the harrowing details. Citizen journalism is the sharing of stories online by people who aren’t journalists. Instead, they are knowledgable citizens wanting to share their thoughts on a topic or event.

Adam Wick and his wife happened to be in the back of theater 9 that night and were lucky enough to survive. After the event, he went online to share with the world the events that took place that night.


He discusses the night, describing vividly the panic and confusion that took place that could only be understood by being there. This is something that surpasses what a journalist can do. Citizen journalism is changing the way that information is shared. Writing in the first person allows the story to be one that people can connect with more.

Another positive example of citizen photojournalism was found in an article describing the events that took place during the protests in Cairo, Egypt. These protests were against the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy’s decision to extend his powers. To keep these protests under control, police took  extreme measures. Through these harrowing images that could only be captured being there, this story is able to be accurately depicted.

Sonya Rehman, a Columbia graduate with a degree in journalism, shares with us many other positives of citizen journalism.

While citizen journalism has many positive aspects, there are also many drawbacks. Citizen journalists do not have the knowledge or degree in order to accurately relay information to people. It is hard to determine if the information is trustworthy because these people lack the experience, skills and training needed to be credible journalists.  Additionally, citizen journalism can often be bias. Professional journalists are trained to look at all sides of a topic, which is something that citizen journalists lack. With citizen journalism, copyright laws are often broken. Information or images of people could potentially be released without their permission, causing violation of personal privacy.

One example of citizen journalism gone wrong happened in October  2008. A citizen journalist posted online that Steve Jobs, the founder and CEO of Apple, had a heart attack and was rushed to the emergency room. According to CNN, this story caused Apple’s stocks to plummet drastically  Apple’s stock fell 10% in 10 minutes they reported.

However, this entire story was completely false. User generated content often is not regulated and can result in very drastic consequences to both other journalists and readers of the news.  As someone who relies on the news for my information on current events, it is concerning to me that often times this content is false. Being able to trust what you are reading is what separates storytelling from reporting facts and reliable news. While citizen journalism is valuable in certain instances, it is important for a reader to understand the difference between journalism and citizen journalism.

Best of Tucson



Ever since my college journey took me from Boston, MA to Tucson, Arizona, I have called Tucson home. Having never been to Tucson before I started school there, I had no idea what to expect. I have been very pleasantly surprised with the city, and have since fallen in love with it. The best part about it is that the weather is amazing. It gets hot in the summer, but the weather in the fall and winter is 70 Fahrenheit and sunny every day.

Here are a few of the things you should make sure you do if you ever find yourself in Tucson, Arizona.

Best Shopping 

University Blvd., right near the school, has some of the best shopping I have ever seen. The stores cater to college students, and the prices cant be beat. Here are some of my favorites:

Colette: This boutique is very girly and filled with everything from colorful rompers to sequined dresses 14713081_1206198836119632_4020844269015124464_o

Swindlers: This is my favorite store on University. This upscale boutique always has something great, and you can order online.

Favorite Hike:

7 falls is absolutely stunning. Located in Sabino Cannon, this beautiful hike with waterfalls is a great way to get out of the city and explore the beauty that the Sonoran desert has to offer.


Favorite Resturants: 

My favorite restaurant in Tucson is Vivace. Every time I come to Tucson I make sure to eat here. The pasta is amazing!

Gentle Bens: This is a local favorite, and a great place to experience University of Arizona games. The raspberry lemonade cocktail is delicious! My favorite dish is the spinach artichoke dip, the asian chopped chicken salad, and the pizzokies. Pizookies are melted cookies and brownies that have ice cream on top and are a great treat after a long day studying at the library. The service is also great!

The Good Egg: This breakfast restaurant has many locations and is amazing for healthy and nutritious breakfast filled with fresh ingredients.

Hotels: I have stayed at many hotels in Tucson, but the nicest are the following:

JW Marriott: This hotel is absolutely beautiful. When you get there if you rented a car, I recommend you self-park because it is 20 dollars each time you valet. Its main restaurant, Primo, is expensive but very good. They also have fire pits surrounding the outside lobby where you can order dinner (mostly finger foods) and listen to live music. The poolside bar is open during the day, and there is a lazy river. Great for families. Downside: its 25 minutes from campus in the middle of nowhere.

Westin LaPaloma: The Westin’s LaPaloma is great due to location. It is located right next to the upscale mall, La Encentada. This is a great area for amazing food and it is beautiful. The resort is also amazing!



Icelandic Adventure

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to travel to Reykjavik, Iceland. The flight from Barcelona to Iceland was 4 and a half hours. Once we arrived, we took a taxi to our hotel, Hotel Odds-on.



My first piece of advice for people traveling to Iceland: Make sure you arrange transportation from the airport to the hotel before hand. We didn’t, and our taxi was $165 USD. GreyLine tours provides transportation for 24 euros, which is the cheapest we were able to find. We had a great night enjoying watching the snow fall from the Jacuzzi. The next day, we went into Reykjavik to explore the town. Our hotel was only a few minute walk from the city center, so we ventured out in the cold when the snow stopped for a few hours.


Later that night, we went with Special Tours on a boat tour to see the Aurora Borealis. Special tours made the experience very enjoyable. We were able to arrange a hotel pickup and drop off, making it much easier. They provided warm overalls for us to wear which kept us cozy the entire time. As the night went on, we were able to spot the northern lights in the distance. They were green because of the altitude iceland is located. Before the science was discovered behind this (see video below for information on what the Aurora Borealis is) each region would have their own stories of why the lights were there. People from Iceland believed the lights were dancing spirits of children who died at birth. In Estonia, the lights were present when the whales were playing games.



The next day was what we were most excited for. We were going to the Blue Lagoon! The Blue Lagoon is a large, geothermal spa that originates 2,000 meters below the earth’s surface. The lagoon water picks up Sillia, algae, and minerals on its way to the surface, giving it the blue color. The water of the lagoon is between  37°C and 40°C. The day tours that day were canceled due to the weather, but thankfully ours still remained going. We went with Gray Line to the blue lagoon. It was a 40 minute ride from Reykjavik. Once we arrived, we jumped right into the water and stayed there for hours enjoying the sunset.screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-7-35-03-pm

Best of NYC

Visiting New York City is fun any time of year, and even better are the amazing things  to do there. Whether your there for a quick weekend vacation or are lucky enough to spend a longer amount of time there, its guaranteed you will fall in love with this city. Having spent much time in Manhattan over the years, I am going to tell you some of my favorite things to do while there.


  1. See a Broadway Showd636df5a-3e74-4a50-8b3a-5d3da1521c7a_560_420

New York is known for their broadway shows, and they are truly amazing! Seeing plays on Broadway is a incredible experience that can be done regardless of the weather, and is great for the whole family. Tickets can sometimes be expensive, so if you are planning on doing this I suggest buying tickets in advance. Wicked was one of my favorite broadway shows, here is them singing at the tony awards to give you a glimpse of how amazing these actors and actresses are!


2. Time Square and Empire State Building 

If this is your first time in New York City, Time Square is a place you are going to want to hit while you are there. This is the city that never sleeps, and you can be sure that there is always something going on in Time Square. It is located in Midtown, Manhattan between Broadway and Seventh Avenue. While you are there, you should be sure to get tickets to go to the top of the Empire State Building. They are only a few blocks away and the view from this 102-story skyscraper is amazing!


3. Where to Stay 

As far as hotels go, there are plenty in NYC! A few of my favorites are the following:

The Marriott Marque: This hotel is located in the heart of Time Square on 1535 Broadway, this hotel is always one of my favorites due to the location and convenience.

Trump SOHO: This beautiful hotel in lower manhattan has great service, as well as food. Also, this area is great for shopping and restaurants.

4. Shopping 
New york has some of the best shopping in the world! Soho, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan, is my favorite place to shop. One of my favorite stores to visit there is Dash, which is the store that the Kardashian sisters own. Located at 191 Spring Street, this chic store is a must go to.

Canal Street, also located in Lower Manhattan, spans from East Broadway between Essex and Jefferson Streets in the east, to West Street between Watts and Spring Streets in the west. Canal street is known for bargaining. Many of the open air stores in this buzzing commercial districts are known for selling bags, perfumes, and shoes. Most of the products are notoriously copied, with brand names on all the products.




Photojournalistic Storytelling

Storytelling has been a way that people share cultural and experiences throughout history. Previously, storytelling was passed down orally, through images, and books.  In this new digital age, storytelling is changing rapidly. Now, photojournalism storytelling has become a transforming way to tell and hear stories. Below, I am going to share with you some of the examples I found of photojournalism that have been successful and well written.


  1. Loosing Ground 

One example of photojournalism that was able to tell a story was “Loosing Ground.” This journalism project told the story of how in the past 80 years, 2,000 miles of coastal landscape has turned into open water. This has caused entire towns to be wiped off of maps, and the Gulf of Mexico moved near New Orleans. This was problematic because it caused a threat to a shipping and energy corridor that was vital to the nation economically.  One way they do this is through the use of satellite imagery on an interactive map. It also used interactive timelines that describe what happened during each year. Lastly, the ability to switch back and forth between a map before and after is helpful for people to understand the impact that took place. Mixed together with personal stories from people who live in the area, they were able to beautifully create a story of what is happening in New Orleans.


2. Freddie Gray Death

The Baltimore Sun released a photojournalism article discussing the 45-minute mystery of Freddie Gray’s Death.

This story took national news by storm, due to the puzzling circumstances that happened leading right up to his death. While this was covered on many media outlets, the Baltimore Sun was able to report the story in a different way. Through a simple yet effective timeline along with moving videos and a map with the location of Gray leading up to his death, the story was able to be chronicled in a visually pleasing way.
Exodus, released by the Washington Post, describes one family’s journey on the ‘Black Route’ as refugees in Europe. They are escaping from Aleppo to Austria. Through the use of large, compelling images of people, they are able to tell the story. Additionally, there is interactive maps used to show the journey they took while you are reading along with the story.
This story, by Reveal, discusses how California strawberry farms use a pesticide called fumigants on their fruit. This pesticide has been linked to cancer, ozone depletion, and developmental problems. Being a huge health risk to many people, this story is important to tell. Through the use of chapters and a video, they are able to tell their story.

Additionally, they have a data app that lets people find out if they are near the areas that use pesticides. This is very effective because it not only is sharing the story, it is helping people who may be at risk prevent themselves from harm.

World Tour

Our first weekend trip was to Copenhagen, Denmark. We stayed at Urban House, a modern boutique hostel in the heart of Copenhagen. We arrived early Friday morning and got lunch as soon as we arrived. We then were able to go to Christiana Island, an island known as “FreeTown Christiana”. This is a self proclaimed autonomous island where cannabis is widely accepted by law enforcement’s. It was very interesting to see the culture on this island.

After the weekend, it was time to head back to Barcelona to start another week of classes. The next weekend, we went to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Once we arrived, we had a cab driver who was very friendly. We were very surprised to learn that 95% of the people there speak English. We stayed in a little hostel called Hostel Orfeo. For the amount of money we paid this hostel was not worth it. We arrived and immediately noticed the horrible smell coming from the hallways. However, the location was amazing. The next day, we decided to visit the Anne Frank house. This was something absolutely amazing to see. She wanted to be a writer so badly, and it is great to see how successful she was. We did a canal cruise throughout amsterdam, and also went to vondelpark and walked around. This was one of the most beautiful parks I have ever been to! anne-frank-house4


The last weekend, we went to Dublin, Ireland. This trip was absolutely amazing. The people in this country are so kind! It was also a sweet relief to hear people speaking English. We stayed at an adorable airbnb on Dudley Street and the first night we got there we were exhausted so we just went to bed. The next day we decided the best way to see the city was to do the hop on hop off bus tour. This tour allowed us to see the city without being out in the cold walking around all day. Once we got to Temple Bar, we hopped off the bus and got the free beer that our tour provided. I am not a big beer person, but the dark guiness beer there was  great!

The following day, we got up at 6:30 am and boarded a bus to the west side of Ireland, a town called Doolin. Doolin is home to the cliffs of Moher, one of the most beautiful sites I have seen in my life! Our bus driver was very educated and shared with us much information about the history of Ireland. We ate a lunch at a local hotel and the bus took us to see the pier nearby. Overall a great day!

If you click here, I was able to construct a map of my travels thus far. Enjoy!


Cat-fishing: Deception online

Over the last few decades,  dating and fundraising has changed drastically. People are now able to go on the internet and search for a romantic partner who has the same interests and life goals as themselves.  1 out of every 10 American’s have used an online or mobile dating website, and 6% of all American marriages met online. One of the most widely used dating websites is Match. Crowd fundraising is also now frequently used on social media platforms in order to raise money. One popular site to do this is called GofundMe.  The ability to hide behind a computer developed a new concept: Cat fishing. According to Merriam-Webster, Cat fishing is “a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes”. Purposefully setting up Cat fishing is when people create deceptive identities online using a fake name, fake photographs, and fake personal information.


According to Dr. Phil’s website, he gives a few helpful tips on how to spot a catfisher online. One of the pieces of advice he gives is to avoid people who’s profiles have no pictures. Also, people in the modeling profession should be taken with caution. If a person has fewer than 100 Facebook friends, and if there are not other people tagged in the photos, this is also a red flag that the images may be stolen. One of the most frequent abuses of social media involves cat fishing with traumatic illnesses and injuries. When we hear of a traumatic injury that often seems too huge, this is a red flag.


One example of a catfish story that went to extreme lengths is the story of Warrior Eli. On mothers day, a Facebook post went viral.

The Dirr family’s story is one of grandeur. They are a fiticious family of 11 children, one of which is fighting for his life against cancer for the 4th time. On Mother’s Day, Eli’s pregnant mother died in a car accident. Thankfully the baby survived. After nothing was seen on the news when this story would usually be widely publicized online, there was speculation raised.  That same day, the entire families social media accounts were deleted due to the creation of a blog called Warrior Eli Hoax.

It was discovered  that JRs Twins were the children of a blogger in Australia.



As time went on, they found more and more lies. It is estimated that there was at least 71 fake Facebook profiles made to prove her legitimacy.  This was puzzling to many followers of Eli’s family, who saw the great extent that they went in order to deceive. The family had set up a blog going back for 5 years, a myspace filled with online photo sharing, and and a yahoo answers account posting questions about babysitters.


This came to a huge upset by many people on the internet, especially the hundreds of families with their own dying children who went to comfort the Dirr family. Thankfully, the lying has been stopped and the perpetrator has been identified.



Throughout my life, I have been very passionate about volunteering with children fighting cancer. I met Emma when volunteering at Children’s Hospital. She was being treated for Fanconi Anemia, a fatal bone marrow illness. She was bald, wore a brightly colored mask, had an NG tube coming out of her nose and dragged around an IV pole that was twice her size. Even while tangled with wires and beeping machines, nothing stopped her as she grabbed my hand and asked me to stack blocks together. Through all of her treatments, she remained unscathed. 11728717_10206936850368817_8892308090875889109_o.jpg

Facebook has been a very important tool for me to organize and mobilize people in order to make things happen for the greater good. After starting a Facebook page for her that now has 70,000 followers, I decided that I can use this account in order to try to make Emma’s wish come true.  Facebook is a very important tool for  to organize and mobilize people in order to make things happen for the greater good. Our campaign, #GetEmmaToMeetTaylorSwift, was born on her Facebook page, Prayers for Emma. Facebook Link

After we posted, the news to get Emma to meet Taylor Swift took the media by storm. Hundreds of people were retweeting #GetEmmatoMeetTaylorSwift and it even became trending on twitter. After thousands of people messaged the pop star on Twitter, her publicist finally responded and asked Emma to fly to Charlotte, NC to attend the show.

At the show, Emma got to meet her idol, Taylor Swift. After spending around 20 minutes together, Emma mentioned that she would love to dance onstage with Taylor. Originally she said no, but later on in the show we were surprised when she picked Emma up out of the audience for the song “Sparks Fly”

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Through the use of social media and twitter, this was able to be accomplished. Twitter has become a key source in motivating people in order to crowd raise and start grassroots movements. It works by building a community of leaders to propel ideas forward and make a change. Social media magnifies a message, making more people be able to see and act on things they feel drawn to. This in turn makes sure that the message is heard by people who are able to actually make something happen. If enough people share a message, anything can be accomplished.

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