A digital multimedia magazine for Covilhã and the region of the University of Beira Interior. In 2019, a group of PhD students in Communication created the Vivacidade Project. The good results made the students' project become Viva Serra, a Portuguese local digital newspaper. Viva Serra, a Portuguese local media.
Re/media, the Cherry Festival and the "Cidade Plural"
The Re/media.Lab was a research project by Labcom, a communication research center at the University of Beira Interior. The focus of the project was a local media from the "Região Centro", a region of Portugal. Re/media had 3 components: media studies in the region; laboratory of new formats, contents, audiences and business models; incubator for new "media projects".
In the second component, Aline Grupillo, a Brazilian journalist and doctoral student at the same university, and I created a project to experiment with new formats: hotsite and multimedia coverage of news from the Cherry Party in Fundão, a city close to Covilhã. More information about this project here (only in Portuguese). The results were very interesting.
In addition to the Cherry Party project, I wanted to bring to Portugal Cidade Plural , my project applied in Blumenau, Brazil, about local journalism about citizenship, culture, tourism and urbanism.
In a conversation with Laura Gomes, another doctoral student, the Vivacidade Project began to be born. A combination of local journalism and tourism, Laura's area of research, was the starting point.
Laura and I took the idea of creating the Vivacidade Project to other doctoral students. The team was composed of:
- Giovanni Ramos – Journalist with experience in local media, researcher of new business models.
- Laura Gomes – Journalist with experience in local media, researcher in tourism and communication.
- Bruno Gueiros – Publicist with experience in digital marketing, data researcher and communication algorithms.
- Aline Grupillo – Journalist with experience in television, researcher in journalism and audiences.
- Maurília Gomes – Public Relations with experience in community projects.
Viva Covilhã, the Project
Vivacidade was a journalism Project to create a local digital magazine about culture, tourism and lifestyle. This product would be applied in different cities in Portugal. Each city would have its Viva and Viva Covilhã would be the pilot. The maganizes would have a content focused on multimedia, video, podcasts with topics far away from traditional hard-news journalism.
All the team participated the the editorial line creation. Gueiros created the design and identity. Ramos made the website and reports with Laura and Aline. Aline was the responsible for videos and Maurilia was the director of community projects and institutional relations.
Institutional relations were very important, because we were concerned with creating a new proximity to the region, in addition to local news. And because we were five Brazilian undertaking and doing journalism in another country.
Release and interest
Viva Covilhã aired on September 12, 2019, with a release event. Despite the site being written by Brazilians, Viva Covilhã was successful. After the premiere, a Portuguese businessman showed interest in turning the project into a company.
We decided to give the project to the businessman. The company Rede Vivacidade was created and became the responsible for Viva Covilhã magazine. The members of the team became members of the company. The hotsite Viva Serra da Estrela aired on December 30, 2019, talking about tourism of Serra da Estrela (Star Hill).
The Covid-19 pandemic crashed the projects of Rede Vivacidade and the website Viva Covilhã started to publish hard-news. The name of magazine changed to Viva Serra and culture, arts and tourism topics were left aside. Nobody wanted to know about tourism in Covid-19 pandemic, the audience stayed in home.
Nowadays, Viva Serra is a Portuguese local digital newspaper. The creators of Vivacidade Project were not on the team. The Viva Serra is very different from the original project, but it is a local media started by five Brazilian students.
Since Abril 2019, when Ramos and Laura talked about the idea for the first time, until December 2020, the Vivacidade project had some interesting things to the pointed:
- Focus on digital - something that was unusual in the Covilhã region. It was Beira Interior's first Mobile First project.
- Videos – There are few journalism videos in Beira Interior. Viva was an exception..
- Intagram – As a Mobile First project, Viva invested heavily on Instagram with live coverage that no one had done before.
- Connections – In a short time on the air, Viva had already established partnerships with social and cultural entities in Covilhã, strengthening ties with the community.
- The university opened doors. Re/media.Lab provided equipment, housed the project, and the Faculty of Arts and Letters supported it. Therefore, the University fulfilled its role of fostering and collaborating with the region where it is located.