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December 15 2009

20:39

Portadista: the new role of looking after the home page

When I translated the sixth part of the Model for the 21st Century Newsroom into Spanish, I learned some of the new roles for journalists in news organizations.

Now I have the chance to write about a new role for digital journalists thanks to my Argentinian colleague Alvaro Liuzzi, who recently visited Spain to interview some of the directors of national news websites for his documentary on Hispanic online newsrooms (Argentina, Peru and Spain).

The Editorial Director of 20minutos.es, Virginia Pérez Alonso, told him about a new position they created to permanently control the long home page of the site to make sure everything is correct (links, images, headlines) and to track the most popular stories in each column, using their own software that shows real time stats.

They call this new position the “Portadista” (Portada is Spanish for home page). This is how it works in the newsroom:

  • The “portadistas” are journalists [This may seem obvious but it is important to note that it's necessary for the people in charge of this job to have journalistic skills].
  • There are three portadista shifts every day, and the first one arrives at 7 AM. They say it is a exhausting job so they change the people in charge every 15 days.
  • They receive all the information from the journalists via Google Docs and organize the home page according to that.
  • Then they proceed to review the hole home page, check the links, control that the verbal tenses are correct, the photos, etc.
  • They constantly monitor that the home page doesn’t exceed a maximum file size. If that happens they have to take out images, cut articles and reduce their size.
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