A Juanes of all trades? Art meets news in Colombia

ImagePhoto: Juanes Tiny Desk Concert, by Mike Katzif (mikekatzif) via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.

by Allison Dickinson

As the saying goes, if you can walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing. If you can sing…you can make it in journalism? Colombian music sensation Juanes is about to find out. Bésame radio reports that Juanes will serve as director of Colombia’s biggest daily newspaper, El Tiempo, for one day on Sunday, September 23, 2012. The Colombian English-language news website Colombia Reports adds that fellow Colombian music phenoms Shakira and Miguel Bosé will be pitching in as columnists.

This special edition will come just after the United Nations’ International Day of Peace; according to Spanish internet news daily Republica.com, the theme of the day’s paper will be peace and national reconciliation, right down to the classified ads, which will feature organizations working for peace. Colombia Reports points out that the peace-themed paper will come out around the same time as upcoming peace talks between the Colombian government and rebel group FARC. While the timing is admittedly coincidental, according to El Tiempo editor Roberto Pombo, it seems a fitting turn of events to surround the paper’s big celebrity day. Even now, hope for peace in Colombia is growing. Colombian Senate president advocated on Thursday, September 13, for the FARC’s future peaceful participation in the country’s governance as an established political party.

The idea of a renowned musical artist crossing into journalism to support a cause is becoming a time-honored tradition. Mexico’s Diario de Yucatán cites Bono’s May 2006 AIDS-awareness-themed editing cameo for Britain’s newspaper The Independent as inspiration. Even Lady Gaga has gotten in on the fun with an anti-bullying guest editing spot at global newspaper network Metro.

Hopes are high for a more peaceful Colombia, but whether Juanes has what it takes to quit his day job and become a journalist remains to be seen.

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