Hi! My name is Dana Bohince, and I am from Pittsburgh, Pa. I am a junior at Point Park University where I am pursuing a B.A. in multimedia with a minor in public relations and advertising. I work as the online editor for the school’s student-run newspaper, The Globe, and as a marketing and events assistant for the Career Development Center. In my spare time, I enjoy taking walks through the city and taking photographs of anything that catches my eye. I look forward to capturing photographs of the many wonders I come across in Spain and Portugal. This adventure will be my first plane ride and my first trip to Europe!
Today, in a zombielike state, I arrived in Madrid, Spain. I had been waiting for this moment for months, and it was finally happening. Not only did I experience my first airplane ride, but also my first trip to Europe. It was a funny feeling to be somewhere one moment and the next somewhere completely different.
Madrid was not how I pictured it. It was even better. After seeing this city, I wondered why I wasn’t living in a place as beautiful as this one. I can’t imagine living here, being able to grace the quaint side streets, which are surrounded on both sides with apartments with balconies, lined with flowers and shops and restaurants.
There were so many landmarks, parks, and meeting places in the city. The first spot I looked at was the Las Ventas bull-fighting ring. I really detest bullfighting, but I enjoyed seeing the outside of the giant building, which was decorated with an ancient style and pretty ceramic tiles.
Next I went to Retiro Park, one of the largest parks in Madrid. It was a great area to have a picnic in the grass, take your dog for a walk, or find a sense of calmness at the lake. The park was surrounded with trees, statues, monuments and walking paths. It buzzed with life as I heard birds chirping, mothers calling to their children, and friends laughing with each other as they paddled rowboats.
After that I went to the Royal Palace, which is Madrid’s official home for the royal family. However they do not reside there. It is only used for certain ceremonies. The palace is just as big and beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. Room by room was filled with fine art collections ranging from rugs, clocks, and paintings to instruments and a room completely made of porcelain.
I then spent the evening with a tour in the heart of Madrid, walking the many streets and plazas, and admiring the architecture. The city is filled with people and liveliness but also a relaxed state.
I finished off the day with a tapas dinner with about ten different dishes. My favorite one was the ham and cheese croquettes. I was extremely tired at the end of the day, still undergoing the affects of jetlag. I was in a different state of mind but extremely excited to see what the next two weeks would hold in store for me. So far, I loved where I was and couldn’t wait to see more.
Learning About Media and Business Trends at Universidad de Navarra and Condé Nast
To start off our first day of media visits, my class and I went to Universidad de Navarra a graduate fashion business school. There we met the charming and charismatic Professor Gustavo García-Mansilla who teaches media and entertainment management for the MBA program. Professor Gustavo gave us a lecture on the current Spanish media landscape and what it may be like in the future.
He explained that Spain’s economic crisis had a big impact on the media market, causing it to drop dramatically and terminate employees and businesses. With the growing trend of Internet usage, there has been a drop in newspaper, magazine, and cinema businesses. We got to see many graphics that put into perspective how badly the recession impacted the media market.
Spain ranks as the second country in Internet piracy. Many Spanish people use streaming and pirating to watch movies instead of going to the cinema. In comparison, the amount of people pirating in Spain is around the amount of people in the U.S. that pay for digital content such as Netflix.
Another fact I learned was that the most read newspaper is a sports newspaper called Marca. As Professor Gustavo said, people like to read their sports papers, have tapas, and enjoy life! He also explained that when it comes to political sides in Spain’s major newspapers, there are only black or white sides. A grey just does not exist. Professor Gustavo went through the top brands in the media market including the top newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations and channels and Internet sites.
He finished the lecture by describing what he thinks CEOs have in mind for the future of media including political, strategic, organizational, and marketing issues. Currently, content is delivered with the editors is mind instead of the customer. What he really wants to see in the future is the change in positions of managers putting consumers’ importance ahead of everything else. He wants them to have the philosophical viewpoint that the, “client is the reason of my business,” or, “the reason of your life is the audience.”
We also visited Condé Nast Spain, which is a family-owned company instead of public. It is the biggest private company in the world. It owns a big part of magazines and newspapers in the U.S. Condé Nast Spain’s main brands are GQ, Vogue, AD, Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler and GlAMOUR. I really enjoyed this visit! We were able to see Vogue’s newsroom, photography studio and model’s fitting room. It was just awesome in general to hear from people in high career positions at such a popular and successful media company. Below are some highlights from a few of the speakers:
- Natalia Gamero del Castillo, VP of Corporate Development, explained the importance of innovation to Condé Nast. Condé Nast Spain motivates their team to create and try new things. Natalia declared, “If you don’t fail, you don’t learn.” They want passionate people committed to what they do. Natalia advocated, “Be passionate about what you do, because it is the most important thing in life.” She also explained how consumers increasingly desire holistic experiences from the product. They don’t just want to read an article. They want to find an inner-sense of things. This has caused the company to redefine quality. There is a new trend of hedonism in which people are searching for the meaning of life and things that can impact them, and when a Condé Nast brand can provide that for them they are more pleased.
- Inés Lorenzo, Digital Editor of Vogue, explained that having a voice and distinguishable style differentiates Vogue from other magazines. She also explained how the digital field is all about change and adapting.
- Marta del Riego, managing editor of Vanity Fair, gave us the formula for their success. This includes glamorous people or people we look at in a different way on the cover, scandals, art, high quality writers, and aristocracy. Vanity Fair articles are typically short. They are exclusive and show new sides of reality. The articles are informative but not like a newspaper style of writing. For example an article may be written like a short story.
- Beatriz Palomo, Photo Edition Manger of Vanity Fair, described the breakthrough moment when she was able to research and find a photo of King Juan Carlos’s lover. It was a controversial topic and a special moment for Vanity Fair because there were no photos of the King’s lover. Vanity Fair was able to find a photo a photographer shot of her at an event years before. They erased two people in the background and it turned out to be a great profile shot. Beatriz pointed out that sometimes Vanity Fair might have a great story but not the photo to go with it and vice versa, so this was a win. Spanish people love a royal scandal!
That evening after the media visits I walked around Madrid and explored with my friend Alicia. We went to the market called Mercado San Miguel for dinner. The nightlife was in full swing. We stopped to see a symphony concert in Plaza Mayor, which is right in a central area in Madrid. Many seats and gates were set up in preparation for the upcoming festival on Friday. I found my way around and back to the hotel surprisingly well!
Today our class visited Ketchum and Havas Media Group. Because I have a public relations and advertising minor, I found both visits to be interesting and a valuable learning experience. It was exciting to see professionals who spoke so excitedly about what they do. I especially enjoyed hearing different campaign case studies at Ketchum.
One public relations campaign that stuck out to me was a campaign for Hugo Boss, a mens’ cologne, during the bottled 15th anniversary. The strategy for this PR plan was built on creativity, exclusivity and timings, digital media and 360-degree execution. The creative and powerful concept created for the campaign was this idea of, “the man of today.” This idea put forth that Boss believes men are the best they’ve ever been, and the man of today is successful, stylish, and moral. The brand ambassador chosen for the campaign was Gerard Butler.
There were two parts to the campaign. First they introduced the man of today concept. The next part was a global launch in which journalists around the world were invited to insure good coverage. Campaign communication put forth a manifesto of values of the man expressed, which became a direct link to why Hugo Boss fragrance was indeed the right one for the man of today.
Christmas and Father’s Day were both key consumption periods for the campaign. This is when they gave a call to action to find a man of today. Everyday men entered themselves as the, “man of today” to win a prize of a photo shoot in London. Six men from around the world captured the values that embodied the campaign concept. Announcements were made on social media. It was a very successful campaign, and I will remember it in the future if and when I need a creative spark.
Two Trips to Remember
Today we had lovely weather, and it was also a Spanish holiday. I was filled with awe when visiting The Valley of the Fallen, a Spanish Civil War monument dedicated to soldiers whose lives were lost. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. You can see it set in the mountain as you drive up the highway. A forest surrounds the giant, white monument. The millions of neighboring trees were all planted precisely to complement the monument. The monument serves as a church for the monks that live in the monastery on the backside of the mountain. When you walk inside there is a giant dimly lit tunnel with decorative stone and chapels lining the sides. As I walked through the tunnel and made my way to the church area I could hear the faint sound of a choir. I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a very sacred place. I was surprised to find that General Franco was buried in the monument. The engineering and architectural work it took to construct this monument is very impressive. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside but it is something I’ll remember forever.
After that visit, we made our way to Segovia. I absolutely loved it there! Therefore, I thought I’d share some facts.
Things I Learned in Segovia:
- Spain basically started in Segovia.
- Segovia was originally a Celtic area. Segovia is a Celtic name for “victorious city.”
- Barcelino, our bus driver, likes disco music.
- Segovia’s city walls are the orginal walls from the 11th century.
- Watching dogs play in front of a castle is as magical as it sounds
- The Aqueduct was built by Romans. Impressveily, the giant stones are not glued/concreted together. The stones are just set up on top of each other.
- The stones are different kinds from each other.
- It is quite hard to eat a kebab on a bench.
- No one dare mess with Mauricio, our tour guide.
- There is a good chance you’ll get dizzy while walking up the castle tower steps.
- Stork nests are kind of exciting to see.
- I’m very interested in shiny castle ceilings.
- If you’re in Segovia during the puppet theatre festival you may hear a puppet on the street playing a Simon and Garfunkel song.
- Suckling pig is as gross as it sounds.
- All it takes to give you some more pep after a long day is a jazz band walking through the street.
Today we went to Toledo, a medieval town. It is set on a hill and surrounded by a river making it a natural fortress. It has been inhabited since 3,000 years ago and has been considered an important place in Spain for centuries. I was in awe as I looked out over the town from an overlook. Steep slopes surrounded the town and the houses and buildings were packed closely together. I could see ruins of an Arab bath, a reminder that the town had been continually built over older remains.
Besides the town’s history, Toledo is famous for their crafts such as swords, daggers, damascene, and marzipan. Our group was able to see demonstrations of the crafts. As soon as we walked in the building I could smell steel and hear a loud, clanging sound as a man worked on a sword. Then we saw two men working on coins with intricate designs. These crafts must take years of practice and patience.
After that Mauricio gave us a tour of the town. It was very quiet with birds flying around and chirping overhead as we walked through the steep streets. We went into the cathedral and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. Everywhere I looked there was a carving or chapel or stained glass structure that I wanted more time to stare at. We were able to see the famous Disrobing of Christ painting by El Greco in the high altar, along with other amazing paintings throughout the cathedral.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a huge amount of time to explore Toledo, but that’s okay because we were making our way to Barcelona, Spain! The train ride there was relaxing, and it gave me a good chance to see the Spanish countryside. When we arrived in Barcelona we went to Mount Montjuïc, where you could see all of Barcelona. I was filled with excitement to explore the city and felt all my worries float away as I looked out over the Mediterranean Sea.
To get to our hotel we had to drag our luggage through small streets crowded with tourists. We passed by a man carrying a sign that said something along the lines of “tourism destroys,” and at the moment I couldn’t help but agree with him. It was a little frustrating trying to maneuver through the packed streets. I never thought we get there, but when we did I was very happy to be there.
Free Day in Barcelona!
Today was the first day on the trip I wasn’t required to set an alarm to wake up, and let me tell you, that was a beautiful thing! After catching up on some sleep, I headed out with a group of girls around noon to do whatever we pleased. We didn’t have any media visits or tours scheduled that day. First we stopped for lunch at a restaurant off of the La Rambla, a tree-lined street popular among tourists. I ate cannelloni au gratin, and it was delicious! Even though we didn’t have a set plan for the day, I’m pretty sure the beach was calling everyone’s name! We walked down to Barceloneta beach, and ended up spending a couple hours there. It was the first time I set foot in the Mediterranean Sea! It was a warm, breezy day, and the water temperature was perfect. I collected rocks out of the ocean so I could keep a piece of the sea with me when I went home. Then I laid in the sand with the group. That was the most relaxed I’ve been in a really long time.
After the beach we continued walking and got gelato. Mine was mango and raspberry sorbet, a perfect treat after soaking up the sun all day. Tents were set up with crafts, art and jewelry, and I enjoyed browsing them. One man carved designs and pictures into music records and put a clock on them. It was really cool! We made our way back to the Rambla where more tents were set up. There were so many things I liked, it was overwhelming! Kimmy, Alicia, and I walked up to an artist stand that caught our eye when we passed by earlier in the day. We were enthralled with beautiful paintings of Barcelona, which were painted with bright colors and thick dabs of paint. It was hard to choose which one to get, but we all ended up getting one. The talented artist was a shy and kind man named Edgard. He gave us a discount and let us pick out bigger canvases since all three of us were buying one.
That night we went out again to experience the nightlife. It was a lot of fun! For anyone who is traveling to Barcelona, I’ll let you know ahead of time that there are hecklers on the streets. Men shout obscene things, try to get you to go to a club with “get a free shot with a drink”, sell beer (who knows what it really is) at the entrance of every alley and small street, and many homeless people crying on the ground with their dogs. Despite all of this, Barcelona was a happening place, and overall it was a great day!
TV, Football, and Flemenco
Today we went to TV3, a Catalan television station. Here we learned the importance of using the Catalan language in mass media. It just wouldn’t be able to survive without it. TV3 is close to the Catalan audience and wants to preserve that because it makes them unique and the best option. Teresa Guitart, Head of International Sales, told us all about the company. Ferran Molines, Head of Image and Producing for the Marketing Department, talked to us about the promotion and branding of their channels and the company logo. After that we got a tour, and it was really cool to see what the inside of a successful workplace looks like and how it operates after studying that field. We got to see the room where they make masks and wigs for the fictional characters on their TV shows. I can’t believe it takes 6-7 months to make a wig! We saw the set from their most popular show, Crackovia. We even ended up observing a live magazine show broadcast.
After that visit we went to Camp Nou, the football stadium of FC Barcelona. It is the biggest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 99,354. It was really interesting to tour the stadium. We were able to see the press room, the visitors’ locker room, the press boxes, and even the chapel where players pray before a game. I would love to go back one day and see a game. Two years from now they will have a newer stadium.
For dinner we went to a flamenco show, and it was awesome! Because I’m around a dance community at Point Park I’ve seen a lot of dance shows but none quite like this! At first I was mainly focusing on the dancers body and hand movement, but once I noticed their footwork I was really impressed. I would definitely recommend a flamenco show to anyone who’s visiting Spain!
A One-of-a-Kind Place of Worship
Today we were scheduled to go to Park Guell, one of architect Antonio Gaudi’s famous works, and I was super excited to see it. Unfortunately, I found out we no longer had time to see it. Instead we went to La Sagrada Familia, also designed by Gaudi, which was sufficed as an awesome alternative.
The Sagrada Familia was unlike anything I’ve seen before. It was absolutely stunning. Just totally different from any other architecture or church I’ve seen. There is so much detail in the front of the church, I can’t imagine what the process was like to complete it. It kind of looks like mud, (haha) but in a really pretty way! Surprisingly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of the inside of the church, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was completely taken aback when I walked in. It was a massive area with sun shining through brightly colored stained glass windows leaving colored beams of light reflecting off the white stone walls and columns. The main altar has a figure of Christ, which was one of my favorite parts of the church. Underneath that altar is a small church where people were gathering for prayer. Visitors swarmed everywhere in the main area. People from all over the world were trying to take it all in. I think we can all agree it is hands down one of the most beautiful churches in the world. It is unique and sacred – a place people will never forget.
This church is unfinished and still under construction. It is interesting to think that Gaudi and a lot of the people who worked on the church never got to see it finished. Also, I can now say I saw the church while it was under construction! The final completion date is estimated to be in 2026, but it will probably never be constructed completely same as the original plans. Maybe I will use the completion date as an excuse to go back and see it… 😉
Saying Goodbye to a Special Person and a Special Place
It was sad saying goodbye to Mauricio, our tour guide, last night knowing we’ll probably never be graced with his presence again. We only knew him for a week, yet he made such a memorable impact on our trip. Not only was he filled with what seemed like never-ending knowledge, but also he had a warm personality that was fun and comfortable to be around. He liked to joke around and keep the mood light. He had a cute laugh and amiable smile that was contagious to those around him. I won’t forget following behind him around Spain as he walked with a slight limp and looked out for our group with a pair of glasses that magnified his eyes. His style consisted of checkered, button down shirts with a jacket, slacks, and brown shoes. He had a nice accent that I will miss hearing as he taught us many things about history and culture. I will miss the way he joked around like when we’d get off the subway and line up and he’d press up against the wall stiffly like in a criminal line up. Or when Sarah asked him what he had to drink at dinner and he staggered around and talked and acted like he was drunk. He made funny, little comments all the time, and this made a cozy atmosphere for everyone.
He also had interesting stories like the fact that he grew up under Franco and was arrested and put in jail for a secret meeting. He also told us about a time when he was approached by males trying to rob him. They pulled a knife on him, but he only had about 2 cents. They said they had the wrong guy and asked if he wanted to have a joint with them. He was so nervous and acted like he was in a hurry so he could get away from them. He reenacted the story in a funny way as per usual.
It is sad to say goodbye to someone you just got acquainted with and like. I wish that wherever I travel in the future, Mauricio could be my tour guide. I know that is not possible, but I’m certainly glad I had the chance to have him show me around and learn many things on my first trip to Europe. This adventure would not have been the same without him.
We bid farewell at the airport. Sadly, I was also just getting acquainted with Barcelona when we had to leave and move on to the next city Lisbon. Barcelona was a vibrant and exciting city, and I hope I can go back one day to explore it further! Stay tuned the next couple days for more on Portugal!
RTP, Global Media and Exploration
Today we visited RTP, a public service broadcaster in Portugal. It started in 1957 and for many years the radio and TV companies were separate. They now have 8 TV channels and 8 radio channels. A majority of the revenue is from public funding and the rest from advertising. Lopes de Araùjo, Director of International and Public Relations explained that people are asking why they have to pay. RTP needs to explain to citizens what they get from public service. Because of this, RTP needs to have proper programs to serve the audience or else they won’t have a public to fund them. He also explained how they are facing changes such as people watching TV in new ways. They are concerned and flowing carefully with these changes. There is not a clear picture of what is going to happen, and five years from now things may be pretty different.
After getting some great insight from Lopes, we toured the tv and radio studios. We saw a live news presenter taping, stood on a set and watched a live talk show and saw a famous fado singer being interviewd on the radio. What an awesome experience!
From there we moved on to Global Media Group. The CEO, Vitor Ribeiro, spoke to us, and he very clearly outlined the group’s goals and strategies. He really seemed to know the ins and outs of his business. He explained that the more profitable you are, the freer you are. Global Media is continually working on offering a quality product and increasing more refined advertising. They want to please the readers while also having profitable growth. I’ve noticed that pattern in a lot of our media visits here in Spain and Portugal. They seem to care more about what the audience wants.
After our media visits, we had some time for evening leisure. I got to explore the beautiful city of Lisbon, shop and dine with friends. I am sad that I don’t have more time here!
I’m Leaving Europe Tomorrow and Not Happy About It
I’m sitting here on my hotel bed as the clock reaches midnight. It is my last night in Portugal, and my last night overall on my trip. I cannot help but to question everyone else who has visited Europe. How do you come here and experience such beautiful places and then go home? Now that I have seen different cities and towns of the Iberian Peninsula, I feel like a part of me will always be here. Because it is my first trip abroad, Spain and Portugal will always hold a special place in my heart. And now that I’ve gotten a taste of travel, I want to keep going. I’d love to move on from Portugal to another European country, but sadly I have to return to Pittsburgh and face reality. Back to a mundane routine and scenes I’ve seen many times before.
Don’t get my wrong though. Visiting other places makes you appreciate your home. As I experienced other cultures and saw what sets them apart, it made me think of the unique ways of Pittsburgh and the strong citizen-support of the city there. The more I see, the more I feel like Pittsburgh will always feel like “home” to me. It’s what I known all my life, and it’s the place I feel most comfortable.
Part of me feels like this trip lasted a month, but I also kind of feel like it only lasted three days. I’ve seen so many beautiful places, gained great career insight at media visits, and in general just enjoyed myself more than ever. Something tells me when I go home I will go through European withdrawal…I hope more than anything that this is just the very beginning for me, and I will go on to visit many different places around the world.
Anyways, it’s been real Europe. I hope to see you again very soon. <3