As 2020 slowly approaches its end, Blaugranagram CEO, founder and chief editor, Omar Hawwash, has prepared this open letter as 2021 looms around the corner.
This year has been quite a year – obviously with a pandemic, somewhat in the rearview mirror, but it has tested us on all fronts: as human beings, people, students, workers, employees and employers. It’s no secret that 2020 has been a dark year for some reasons, but I genuinely believe that for many, this year brought many positives with it too – outside the test centers and hospitals.
For Blaugranagram, we took many huge steps this year.
Let me start off with the thing I know many have been thinking this year: what happened to Blaugranagram?
Fact of the matter is that although some people will claim we ‘fell off’, we’ve never been in a better position. Yes, Blaugranagram used to be a sole Twitter account doing its reporting solely on Twitter – and then Instagram – but we have since moved on to be a proper news outlet, with over 20 staff members, exclusive sources, and much more. The quality of our sources was perhaps best showcased during our coverage of Martin Braithwaite’s situation in Barcelona, in addition to the Sergiño Dest coverage regarding his transfer to Catalonia, where we came out on top with our reporting in the latter stages of the American defender’s move to the Camp Nou.
We understand – believe me, we do – we understand that to many of you, it may seem like a very drastic change to make, and we did pivot. I recognize that, but rest assured that we haven’t forgotten about those of you that have followed us from the start; those that have interacted with us from the start, helped us while we were on the come-up, the friendships made – and so on and so forth. None of that has been forgotten, at least not on our end, but I know that the feeling is not reciprocated – and that is fair.
We know that the aspect that helped Blaugranagram grow was its interaction with its followers, and so we, in recent times, have attempted to replicate that in an appropriate manner. In that sense, things are going well – and we have ideas that will make things go even better than they have been. I’ll explain more about that here in a bit.
Merchandise and partners
Towards the end of 2019, we launched our merchandise shop, and that has since had new additions. We teamed up with several partners this year: SPORD, whose holding company is co-owned by Netherlands legend Wesley Sneijder, Goal Click, a company aiming to make change in the world through stories told by people living or having lived in subpar conditions, and we continued our strong partnership with the Big Heads Media Podcast Network, now housing both The Driven Shot and several other podcasts, another one of mine included. We’ve also partnered with our good friends over at Rush Sports to help provide a virtual stadium-esque environment for fans around the world – something we are very excited by, and a concept we see going very far as we head into 2021.
2020 truly was the year of collaborations for Blaugranagram and its staff members. We have worked together with FC Barcelona, publicly, on numerous occasions through their Live Match Center and the club’s exclusive platform, Barca TV+, and we are, of course, hopeful that the solid working relationship between our entities will continue to strengthen itself in 2021. With Bleacher Report, I alongside others helped contribute to Dean Jones’ piece on Lionel Messi potentially leaving the club last summer.
One of our editors, Aina Canales, took part in an interview of presidential candidate, Joan Laporta, alongside a good friend of mine in Adrián Sánchez from Más que Pelotas, Victor Palacios and Miguel Ángel Ruiz from El 10 del Barça. The interview made the rounds and can be read here, for those interested.
Other than the things mentioned above, we have done collaborations with different entities, with publicity ranging from none to very high – and we hope to continue that stride as we enter the new year.
The podcast network
One thing that we’re definitely happy with is the establishment of the Blaugranagram Podcast Network. The network has without a doubt strengthened Blaugranagram and the ones involved in the network, status-wise, and allowed everyone in the network to add another dimension to the coverage of Barcelona, both in quality and quantity.
We have also re-branded our YouTube channel: it now is Blaugranagram TV and houses Bleeding Blaugrana, which is our real-time reaction show, where two Barcelona fans, whether from Blaugranagram or from our audience, react to the game in real-time, giving their insight and analysis – and interact with the viewers in the chat.
The Driven Shot has also taken quite a twist: while it used to be a pre-recorded podcast, it now is a live show airing weekly with occasional guests, where the focus is on interacting with the audience while the host – myself – gets to voice his opinions regarding the ongoings of Barcelona and European football in general.
The podcast network includes two very high-quality podcasts: the first one is Barça Talk – an English podcast with a team from around the world, discussing Barcelona’s games and the ongoings of the club, every Monday. The second one is ADN Barça, a Spanish podcast hosted by Alejandro Villegas and Mariána Gúzman, where the hosts analyze the trending topics around the team, from the stands and press box of Camp Nou, to the American continent.
The inclusion of those in the podcast network is a huge step that we’re happy to have taken, and we’re confident that the network will continue to grow going into the new year.
Introducing: The Fans’ Voice
Speaking of the audience and our readers and followers: this one is for you.
We are very pleased to announce the introduction of The Fans’ Voice. The Fans’ Voice is YOUR bi-weekly corner of Blaugranagram, where you, as the reader, get to voice your opinion.
Interested? You can read all about it right here!
And lastly: there’s only one thing left to say – thank you. Thank you for supporting us daily, whether on social media, through the website, through private messages, or financially, which you can do through Patreon – it all means a ton to us, and makes our tireless work day after day worth it.
We realize that we aren’t perfect, and we realize that – maybe – we lost some of you along the way. We hope that you’ll hop back on the wagon after reading this message, and we hope that we continue to live up to your expectations of a respected news outlet covering Barcelona on a daily basis.
We’ve got big things coming in 2021, and we’re just getting started.
Thank you all – may you stay safe, sane, and may your losses be compensated. I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and that you’ll have an even better New Year’s.
May 2021 be the year of change, forgiveness and success to you all.