An interview with Chiqui Esteban

Interview with: Chiqui Esteban, Deputy Director, Art, Graphics & Maps at National Geographic and Graphic Media Consultant at Innovation Media

Interviewd by: Mario Pérez-Montoro, Professor at UB, Spain


How should journalism be taught?

1. Equilibrium theory and practice

  • Theoretical backgrounds depend on the university, especially in the US. Some of them focus more on data-based journalism; others are more narrative-centred.
  • Theory, in every case, should come prior to practice.
  • Theory is essential, but students realize this very late, when they start working. University programs should introduce practice before and include capacity-building courses on specific software.
  • Practice should be linked to real-life scenarios, not just to hypothetical ones.
  • A journalist should never stop learning and, therefore, updating her/his skills and theoretical background.

2. What about visual journalism?

  • To be a visual journalist, it is essential to be, first, a good journalist, founded on a deep theoretical background.
  • Not every story can be told using visual journalism. Students should learn to differentiate when a story needs words and when it needs images.
  • A visual journalist needs basic design skills: how to organize, present and arrange information in graphics.
  • A visual journalist needs to deal properly with several software tools and to constantly adapt and learn new programmes.

3. Entering into local media

  • Collaborating with local media should be essential in the journalist education process and should be included in university programs.
  • One example: Univision (a US television network in the Spanish language, located in Miami) is hiring interning students from the University of Miami to feed its blogs related to the mid-term elections.
  • First, internship in local media gives professional experience, and it is an easy way to start a career in journalism.
  • From local media is how the undergraduate can discover the actual needs of the labour market.