Once upon a time not too long ago in 2008 in Madrid, Spain, a group of students expressed interest in developing a mobile app for citizen journalists to publish news directly form their phones. What now, eight years later, seems quite straightforward, – the concept of a mobile app and the mere term of collaborative “citizen journalism”, – was a novelty, -at least in Spain,- back then.
The students presented a proposal for the initial mobile app, and secured funding and office space from FACTHOUS, a B2B Digital Communications & Marketing Agency. After several months of development, the first ROOSTERGNN app became available for iPhone on the Apple Store. And while it contained some useful fun facts about types of beers and cocktails, the app ultimately did not meet the company’s expectations, and eventually, development stalled.
Meanwhile, I was working in the journalism and communications industry, writing for publications worldwide, in addition to monetizing what had started as my own travel blog, “MADbudget: a local’s guide to Madrid.” When FACTHOUS came across my communications background, the company recruited me in 2012 as Corporate Development Director to run its global marketing campaigns and talent recruitment programs. I was introduced to ROOSTERGNN, an abandoned baby, that, with all the corporate clients the company had to attend to, no one was really paying attention to.
As a journalist and communicator at heart, I took ownership of ROOSTERGNN. The neglected baby now had a mother – and a mission. My vision for ROOSTERGNN: to convert it into a bilingual non-profit news agency promoting freedom of expression and journalism education worldwide.
Together with José Luis Barrionuevo Quintela, Marketing Director of FACTHOUS, we presented a new project, complete with a revised design, technical specifications and international marketing plan, for ROOSTERGNN. José Luis, immersed in the launch of his own digital TV software, has always been passionate about new challenges and about communication in general. Thanks to his expertise in digital and corporate marketing, we presented a business plan with a defined strategy for ROOSTERGNN.
Our hard work and dedication was rewarded; in 2013, we received additional funding from the company to develop the new version, the current ROOSTERGNN was founded, and I became part of its Board of Directors.
In less than two years, we have grown ROOSTERGNN into a global, non-profit news agency promoting freedom of expression, with more than 700 contributors worldwide. We publish content in English and Spanish, and in 2015, opened up our first Italy Special. My previously insignificant blog, MADbudget, converted into an entire channel at the news agency, where multiple journalists publish their articles about Madrid.
Both established and aspiring journalists have a home on our collaborative platform, which in its current version allows users from all over the world to upload their content, with full freedom of expression. (Update January 25, 2017: RGNN.org just launched its 3.0 web version).
A social mission continues to be at the heart of ROOSTERGNN. The key step to establishing equality is through hands-on education. In a true democracy, merit, talent and hard work should be the leading factors to success.
It is for this reason that in 2016 we founded the ROOSTERGNN Academy. ROOSTERGNN Academy establishes an essential link between universities and academic education, and companies and practical training. During all of our programs, students learn and practice their skills side-by-side with an expert, a mentor.
Our specialty are our Internship & Mentoring Programs, in which students acquire hands-on training, attending Editorial Meetings, Workshops, Mentoring Sessions and Feedback, always with prestigious experts at their side.
Our first Journalism Internship & Mentoring Programs took place in Madrid in July 2016, offering practical training from students from all over the globe with experts from The New York Times and Reuters, amongst others, as well as workshops and site visits to the newsroom of El Mundo, one of the most important daily newspapers in Spain, and the press department at Matadero Madrid, one of Madrid’s most innovative cultural centers – and a former slaughterhouse!
This winter, we are offering our first Internship & Mentoring Program filled with adventure: a Travel Journalism & Photography Internship & Mentoring Program in Havana and Trinidad, Cuba. It is a historic time to travel to Cuba, and a key moment for the internationalization of our news agency, with Cuba as the entrance point to our main market: America.
In our mission to promote journalism education worldwide, ROOSTERGNN Academy has a series of benefactors, and moreover offers scholarships and financial aid for its students. In 2016, we moreover launched our first Journalism Evolution Awards to reward the talent of young journalists.
The future of ROOSTERGNN is bright and so, too, should the power of the fourth media as a whole. In 2017, we will be expanding our newsroom training opportunities, with Travel Journalism & Photography Internship & Mentoring Programs here in Madrid, Spain.
Update October 2017: For us, everything is about people and communication. We are passionate about all forms of expression that unite human beings. That is why we created ROOSTERGNN, and in 2017, the ROOSTERGNN Artist Residency, the logo of which is inspired by people, and specifically, a character of the Japanese language, the kanji character 人, which represents the concept of a “person.”
The first ROOSTERGNN Artist Residency is located in Madrid, Spain and open to writers, journalists, bloggers, photographers, filmmakers, videographers, digital artists, graphic designers, social media artists, creative programmers, coders, entrepreneurs and innovators.
Update January 2018: Given the high interest shown in our Madrid Residency, we are now offering a second Artists-in-Residence program at the ROOSTERGNN Artist Residency in Havana and Trinidad, Cuba.
Step on board, travel with us and kick-start your career.
We look forward to seeing you at RGNN.org!
Note. Corporate information and press releases are accurate on the day they are published. ROOSTERGNN keeps them online because they are part of our ever-evolving history.