Vida Sencilla, a journalistic project for a sustainable life

Written on July 13, 2010 by Roberto Arribas in Communication

     Who is Natalia Martín Cantero?

Natalia Martín Cantero is a Spanish journalist, blogger for the Spanish Public Television, yoga junkie and tree-hugger who teaches at the IE University-School of Communication.

She holds an MA in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia (2001; Fulbright grantee), and an MA in Journalism from the School of Journalism UAM-El País (1995). She worked at The Washington Times’ cultural and features beat before she moved to San Francisco (California, USA) with the main Spanish newswire service, Agencia EFE. She has written about an extensive array of topics, as an EFE correspondent and as a freelancer. She has a background in Creative Writing (University of California in Berkeley and Stanford University) and Holistic Health (San Francisco State University) and is a Certified Yoga Teacher. Before she moved to the United States, she worked at the Telecommunications desk of the financial daily Cinco Días (1996-1999) and at Canal Satélite Digital, among other media. 

     What is your new project about?

We launched Vida Sencilla because we believe that there is a spot in the Spanish online market for a magazine that rests on three columns: personal development, ecology and consumption and a healthy and sustainable way of life. The design by Ignacio Gros is clean and clear, the same as the content in the site.

It is structured around a main article, an image with a short text, a recommendation and a final thought. This simple structure does not necessarily translate into a lack of depth or sophistication of our world. Quite the opposite, we are looking for quietly approaching the monster of complexity and befriend it before it eventually eats us as individuals and as a planet.

     Who is the target of this Project?

Besides our “faithful audience” (people who already follow a harmonious way of life or consume responsibly), we target a curious audience that at the same time distrusts the media and their arguments on personal development and sustainable ways of life because they consider them esoteric and mystic, superficial and full of clichés. Vida Sencilla is neither one thing nor the other. We are not hippies with beautiful sunflowers in our hair. We have a solid training and experience behind our backs and we hope that this will be noticed with the publication.

People participating in the project go from a 20 yr. old intern to two retired professors. I think this really shows our target. We do not make any distinction based on age and this is a statement in itself. Of course, we neither do any distinction based on gender. The only thing that you/we need is being able to connect to the Internet.

Our aim is to help the readers who want to be less competitive and more cooperative, to help to be in peace with themselves and to have more time to enjoy the small things. We stand for a supportive way of life based on the respect of ecology, responsible consumption, and our physical and psychological health. This is our ideology. 

How have you implemented your strategy into social networks?

Social networks are what really make the difference as they let you reach and spread contents to a number a people that a few years ago we thought impossible to get without a generous marketing budget. We have a Facebook page and a twitter account. In the next weeks we will continue studying and broadening our presence in the social networks.


     What is in your opinion the future of digital journalism?

Very good for the readers, a little more complicated for those who try to make a living out of it. I think that our job as engaged journalists is convincing the readers that if they want good, quality and independent products, they must help financially with the media they use. The business model for the socially-engaged journalism, a.k.a. “sustainable journalism”, must be based on responsible advertisement policy and on the readers’ financial support. 

     What are your recommendations for a future journalism student?

I would tell him/her the same that to any other student: do whatever you really enjoy. Do not ever give up on your dreams and take advantage of what you like the most. Sooner or later, he/she will be able to write about it and people will notice the difference. There is nothing duller than an article written by a bored journalist.

     Lastly, any recommendation in order to have a simpler life?

Getting rid of what you do not need anymore is as obvious as difficult to get. I like to think that small changes in your life are the ones that in the long term really make the difference. The simile is to draw two almost parallel lines. They start separating gradually and inexorably from each other more and more. Thus, ten minutes of meditation per day can really make a difference and transform your life.


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