Rodrigo Alvarez is the director of Bulb! Magazine, an independent title with a unique view on the communications industry, and a trade press reference in Chile. Rodrigo kickstarted his career behind a camera, and after a few years he slowly made his way into the editorial room. He told us a bit about his unique point of view on the industry and his passions.
What essential qualities and skills do journalists need to thrive in today’s media landscape?
The same as always I think: create knowledge, and share it. I think that today the search for truth is still our guiding compass, along with the diffusion of interesting projects, individuals, and ideas. For me, it has always been easier to tell stories with images than words, I am still learning.
How important is the relationship between journalism and the creative community, and how can it be further strengthened?
It's very important, not only to the creatives but also to those responsible for the execution of the creative ideas, such as the marketers who are not always from creative backgrounds. The meetings, interviews, photo sessions, WhatsApp’s groups, congresses, seminars, and awards also help.
What’s your role at Bulb! Magazine - and what are the latest developments there?
I am the director of Bulb! Marketing Magazine in Chile, a platform that includes a printed magazine and weekly digital newsletters with topics that unite creativity and business. I lead the work of a team of journalists, photographers, illustrators, designers, and producers who make our media possible. We are still in love with paper and printed magazines, there is nothing like reading a good article on paper and seeing a great well-printed photo. Lately, we’ve been working to launch a podcast with Studio Mantra, where we’ll present a series of interviews of Chilean creative directors and marketers: "Nos pusimos creativos".
What inspired you to become a journalist and how did you get into the profession?
I have loved photography since I was a teenager. I remember taking photos when I was very young in the 80s with a Fuji 110 that had a zoom, and after with a 35mm Minolta X300. I think reading old Life magazines and the National Geographic classics was the first step. Then, 24 years after having studied photography and design I got into press and advertising photography. I then quickly drifted to editorial design, and finally to magazine edition, to which I have dedicated myself since the 90s. I have been into creativity all this time: in press, advertising, design, and photography.
What role do you see journalism playing in promoting and advocating for diversity and inclusion within the creative industry?
As someone who has always valued freedom and equality, I think it is going too far. Maybe I am getting old. We are losing the ability to confront different worldviews. There are no more discussions, and we are losing our sense of humor as well.
As a member of the Epica Awards jury, how do you approach evaluating and selecting the best creative work from around the world?
With the same philosophy as Epica: finding unique creativity and exceptional execution. I think the best works are always easy to identify, standing out remarkably from the rest.
How d’you stay informed and updated on the latest trends and developments in the creative industry?
I am subscribed to everything and follow my references. The problem today is that there is too much information. It’s impossible to see and digest everything.
What are the most memorable campaigns or creative projects you've covered and what made them stand out for you?
I think the use of humor makes memorable films and campaigns. They are intelligent pieces that you can remember for a long time after. I remember a funny Escudo campaign made by Porta, featuring a medieval squire. Still today, Escudo is a very popular Chilean beer.
What distinguishes Chilean and Latin American advertising from creative approaches in other markets?
Today the world is very interconnected, with technology and information being almost predominantly online. Everything is very homogeneous. I believe that in Latin America, Brazil and Argentina are still at the forefront in terms of creativity. But apart from these two cases, I don't think there is a Latin American view on advertising that differs from the big global markets.
Who are your role models or mentors in journalism and the creative world? And what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
I am a fan of freedom of speech, and obviously of freedom of the press and its famous personalities, like Seymour Hersh and Julian Assange. I’m also into the history behind The Washington Post. I recently rewatched "All the President's Men", the 70’s movie of the Watergate case with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffmann. Great movie.
Photography: Jorge Brantmayer