There’s only a few media in Colombia that will actually inform you well. Most of them just want you to read or see their ads and some will almost intentionally misinform you. Political parties’ and trusts’ influence in the executive boards of established media, a 44 year long armed conflict and a yearly number of threatened, fled or dead journalists obviously are not helping good reporting.
Obviously not all mainstream media are evil. Canal Caracol is kinda okay and Caracol Radio and W Radio seem to do their best, but aren’t exactly perfect. They sometimes bring news out so quickly they forget to double check and later are proven to have exaggerated or misunderstood someone a little.
El Espectador — probably the newspaper with the world’s most interesting history — has done extremely well since they became a daily newspaper again and somewhere on top, always unbeatable for their incredible investigations, original approach to subjects and seemingly spotless independence is weekly magazine Semana.
Semana is holy. Semana probably has the smartest ever Colombian journalists working for them, the cleverest editors, the brightest director AND they have Soho. Semana, I repeat, is holy.
The only problem with Semana was that their articles are always so damn intelligently written that there’s hardly a gringo that has a clue what they’re saying. This gringo certainly almost always got lost somewhere in the introduction of an article and I have not yet found a gringo who, in normal English of Dutch, could explain me what the hell they were penning down this time.
This has been bugging me seriously and has been hurting my journalistic pride and ego. How can I pretend to be a journalist of any acceptable level when I don’t even understand what the country’s most respected weekly is writing? Semana has seriously made me feel very dumb and incompetent at times. Rightfully so, I guess.
You can not believe my relief when I saw their new website this morning. These guys don’t just understand journalism and simply are honest. They actually understand how internet works. Their new website is absolutely gorgeous, informative and doesn’t bug me with pop ups like most other Colombian news sites do.
But the best ever thing was they introduced an international section. In English even! ENG-LISH! Semana has opened their information gate to us gringos. I was actually able to read their complete feature article about the children of FARC leaders and understand every single word of it. Smashing.
I can now read their reporting on issues like parapolitics, the latest developments on Valencia Cossio’s arrest, Uribe’s re-election (or not) and whatever issues that actually matter and I, loving Colombia as I do, must know about.
Semana Thursday morning has gone from holy to being godlike. I don’t even feel like writing anymore. Why would I do so much work to have an English language website when my biggest heroes are doing a much better job than I could ever do? I don’t want to write articles anymore, I want to read Semana. All day long. For free.
Author Adriaan Alsema is editor-in-chief of Colombia Reports