When Elías Meza entered 2021 to study journalism at the UDD, Concepción campus, he not only arrived with the desire to learn, but also with experience in reporting and with his own media outlet under his arm: the newspaper La Fontana.
While he was in high school in his native San Carlos, Ñuble Region, it struck him that his commune hardly appeared in the news. So, in a self-taught way, he created a web platform to disseminate cultural events in the area, since he participated in the orchestra at his school and was a related subject.
“I would do interviews, write some notes and try to read local history. I started taking photos, I took charge of the communications of a restaurant and what I reported was sent to Crónica Chillán, only with the tools I had, because I was in the second medium. Besides. I began to collaborate with a magazine that was printed in San Carlos where I also wrote some things, ”he tells about his first forays into the world of journalism.
It was precisely this last thing that gave him the network of contacts to create “La Fontana” at the end of 2018, shortly before completing third grade. “The magazine was finished, but the printer offered me to make a rudimentary newspaper, very basic, but thanks to that I could be there. A college student could hardly enter that world, ”he says.
Among the many anecdotes, he managed to get accredited to cover the different presidential visits, both by Michelle Bachelet and Sebastián Piñera, on the occasion of the creation and installation of the new Ñuble Region. He says that sometimes he had to miss school and take a bus to Chillán to be able to report; or that the day Ñuble was made official as a new region of the country, the milestone with the authorities occurred at midnight, so his mother accompanied him, since there was no transportation at that time.
The growth of “La Fontana” was rapid. They started with a print run of one thousand eight-page copies once a month and soon after they reached two thousand copies, with sixteen pages and distributed in almost 30 points in San Carlos and surroundings. All of this financed by the local business that paid for advertising, after efforts made by Elías himself. However, with the pandemic they could not continue printing and he had to find a way to reinvent himself in order to continue.
It formalized it as a journalistic company of which it has 100% and which is recognized by the State of Chile as a digital newspaper, so they can publish legal notices and be filed in the legal deposit of the National Library.
Regarding her time at UDD Journalism, where she is already in her third year, she says that “everything that is learned in school has been enriching, because it is the professionalization of this. I did it ex officio and it could have done wonders, but the truth is that all the foundation that they give in the university is super important.”
He says that he decided to enter the Universidad del Desarrollo because of the years of his degree and the various internal scholarships, which in his case he received as an entrepreneur. In addition, he highlights that “it is very important to be able to do things from the first year. Going out to report as it is in real life, makes a difference. It helps a lot to be able to be on the ground ”, he concludes.
Elías Meza: the UDD Concepción journalism student who has his own media outlet from college – Welcome to UDD