Comunicar Journal Blog

The role of journalists in the face of political and economic pressures



Post written by Laura López Romero and translated by Daniela Jaramillo-Dent

In a context of political and economic turmoil, the gap between the work of journalists and the interests of large corporations is a heated ethical conflict. This is the basis of this article published in Comunicar 58, under the title “Conflicts in the professional roles of journalists in Spain: Ideals and practice”, written by professors Sergio Roses, from the University of Malaga, and María Luisa Humanes, from the University Rey Juan Carlos, in Madrid.

The methodology for this research is based on the results of a survey conducted between 2015 and 2016 with 122 journalists from four Spanish newspapers, in order to examine the extent to which these professionals perceive a gap between ideals and their implementation, and the most “conflictive” roles in the context of a polarized media system.

According to the researchers, “this study is the first to systematically and empirically assess the conflict of journalistic roles in press communicators in Spain, quantifying the magnitude of the perceived gap between ideals and journalistic practice.”

Some of the main conclusions reached by the study are that the confrontations were always resolved to the detriment of journalists’ ideals, which reflect the greatest gaps in the watchdog role -reducing control to power-, in the disseminating role -minimizing impartiality-, in the civic role -discouraging its role as a social catalyst- and in the role of services, reducing its capacity to advise in everyday matters.

The largest gap is perceived by journalists in the surveillance role of economic and political powers. “Professionals claim that they implemented less than the watchdog role would like. Similarly, they claim that they were forced to write information favorable to the image of political and economic leaders – a role that favors the status quo – more often than their ideals would dictate. Meanwhile, the infotainment role, has been promoted encouraging entertainment.

Roses, S.  & Humanes-Humanes, M.L. (2019). Conflicts in the professional roles of journalists in Spain: Ideals and practice. [Conflictos en los roles profesionales de los periodistas en España: Ideales y práctica]. Comunicar, 58, 65-74. DOI: 

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Motivation Through Twitter


Posted on July 29, 2019 by @Ana_Almansa Translated by Daniela Jaramillo-Dent

Rereading in issue 58 of Revista Comunicar, I discovered an article that, as an educator, interested me greatly, because it confirmed a lot of my perceptions. I am referring to the article “Exploring the influence of the teacher: Social participation on Twitter and academic perception.”

After extensive research, UNED professor and researcher Sonia Santoveña and Professor Cesar Bernal from University Rey Juan Carlos have found that Twitter is an extraordinary tool to stimulate motivation. They conclude that “students have placed a high value on Twitter as a means of communicating and interacting, contradicting other research that has highlighted the scarce conversations recorded on the Net (Arrabal, & de Aguilera, 2016) and the tendency to develop monologues rather than dialogues (Santoveña-Casal, 2017). The social network can be considered an environment that facilitates the adoption of new educational models based on connected learning and social participation, aspects highlighted by Jenkins (2012) and Gee (2004) as fundamental in the networked society.”

They also found that the role of the teacher, in the eyes of the student, is not influential in the perception of affiliation, belonging, but that the relationship between students is determinant. Therefore, the researchers consider that “it is likely that adopting a more passive role, leaving free space for interaction between students is a more appropriate methodology for learning in social networks.

As noted, this text is very useful for those of us who are dedicated to teaching, since it gives us many clues as to what we can and should not do when we prepare our classes.

How to cite the article: 

Santoveña-Casal, S. y Bernal-Bravo, C. (2019). Exploring the influence of the teacher: Social participation on Twitter and academic perception. [Explorando la influencia del docente: Participación social en Twitter y percepción académica]. Comunicar, 58, 75-84. DOI

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Bolivia: elections, fake news and citizen responsibility

Written by Claudia Rodriguez-Hidalgo Translated by Daniela Jaramillo-Dent


In October 2019, Bolivia will elect a president, vice-president, congress representatives and senators. The media, academia and government agencies foresee the greatest amount of electoral information to circulate through Smartphones, taking into account the number of mobile users in the country, according to the State of Internet Situation in Bolivia report, March 2019.

According to the report, in the last 5 years, the level of connectivity in the country doubled, a figure also included in the Digital Report of 2019 about Bolivia, where it is estimated that more than 94% of the population connects to the Internet via Smartphones.

Within this framework, one of the major concerns regarding the upcoming electoral process arises: how information circulates through these devices, and the effects of the manipulated or manufactured information on Bolivian voting decisions.

Videos, memes, audios, photographs, gifs, etc., circulate easily through messaging applications such as Whatsapp and Messenger, and their origin is almost impossible to determine, as warned by two organizations recently created in Bolivia for the verification of information: Verifica Bolivia and Chequea Bolivia, both led by journalists and academics with the mission of denying false information circulating on the Internet. The creation of these organizations responds to a need to alleviate the effects of false information and avoid its effects on election results, as evidenced in Brazil, where Jail Bolsonaro’s campaign used as one of its main fake news resources through Whatsapp groups supporting the candidate. The same has happened before in Brexit in the UK, and the US elections, where the final results are attributed to the fake news effect.

The report dated March 2018 published by the Masachussets Institute of Technology (MIT), states that fake news is 70% more likely to be disseminated and generate more impact than verified news, which they attribute to two key questions: the emotional appeal of its contents, and the surprise and impact it generates. In this sense, the creation of this type of content, far from being a mere phenomenon of the information society, has become, in certain contexts, a profitable business that captures the attention of users and exchanges it for clicks and advertising income, making the ways of identifying them complex, but not impossible.

Even so, in an electoral context, and generally speaking, when faced with the use of information, the first duty of user responsibility is to doubt, and then verify the information before sharing it.

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Why do we learn…or not?


Written by Ana Almansa   Translated by Daniela Jaramillo-Dent

“This article argues that a better understanding of human beings is necessary in order to implement what is defined here as design for deep learning”. With this phrase I am drawn to the article “Designing for deep learning in the context of digital and social media”, published in Comunicar 58.

James-Paul Gee, Professor at Arizona State University (United States), and Moisés Esteban-Guitart, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Girona (Spain), are the authors of this article. It theorizes about the human being as the main axis in the learning and interpersonal processes: “people become travel companions in a journey through life with others”.
It is, without a doubt, an article that invites reflection on people and how we act. The article appeals from beginning to end. And the ending in particular does not leave one indifferent: “Human beings are primates. School and inequality in society have killed the psychobiological passion for learning, for epistemological sensitivity (Bruner, 2012) and for solving problems in many people. We are faced with a large number of problems that are difficult to solve. Perhaps the problem with “design for deep learning” is not really that human beings don’t like effort, but that they need to discover what they really are: beings who grow up struggling and learning when they perceive that there are rays of light, recognition and hope”.

I invite you to read the full text here.


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Young people’s learning with digital media beyond school: From the informal to the formal

Author:  Ana Sedeño   Translator:  Daniela Jaramillo-Dent

priscilla-du-preez-XkKCui44iM0-unsplashThe paper “Young people learning from digital media outside of school: The informal meets the formal” published in issue 58 of Comunicar Journal, presents the research results of professors Sara Pereira, Joana Fillol and Pedro Morur from the University of Miño in Braga (Portugal). It deals with informal learning and its relationship to the school. This article was based on data from workshops, interviews and questionnaires collected from 78 young people aged 12-16 in schools located in northern Portugal.

The study undertakes a new bibliographical review of the reflections and studies in which the media have proven to significantly contribute complementary content to adolescents’ learning, as part of the Transmedia Literacy project, a European project that attempted to systematize different perspectives on this phenomenon. The study analyzes the informal learning strategies of adolescents, presented as an explanatory diagram divided by Trial/Error, Information Search and Imitation/inspiration.

It seems that students at these ages are aware of this cultural and educational gap and do not expect to learn about media in school: “They are two different worlds,” they say.

Some solutions provided by researchers include changes in educational policies and the production of resources to help teachers train in media topics and use them on a daily basis in the classroom, while at the same time develop transmedia literacy skills. You can read the full article here.