You’ve probably seen it these days. Thousands and thousands of tweets on Twitter alluding to the user @gerardromero and with the hashtag #CalmaKounde. A trend that hides much more than meets the eye. Because Kounde is the surname of the soccer player Jules Koundé, who plays for Sevilla but could end up, according to all indications at this time, at FC Barcelona. and #CalmaKounde is the label with which the journalist Gerard Romero has defended against all odds his information that placed him in the culé team. Insults, threats, pending accounts and all the hate (hate) that spreads like wildfire through social networks is intermingled with a paradigm shift in sports journalism on the Internet. An exciting story that goes beyond the simple signing of a footballer, and that we are going to try to explain in this article.
And who is Gerard Romero?
Behind @gerardomero is Gerard Romero, a journalist who had made his career on the radio in Catalonia, but decides to make a complete turnaround in the midst of a pandemic. In 2020 creates its own Twitch channel, called JijantesFC. A space in which he shares direct every day to talk about the latest news from FC Barcelona. Until then, all within the logic of many journalists who seek to make the leap to new platforms. But Gerard Romero wanted more, and he surrounded himself with collaborators to make his channel a journalistic space, which looks for the news wherever it is produced. The famous «cages» with which Jijantes seeks to hunt down new signings arriving at the airport or managers having meetings to discuss the future of soccer players have become really popular.
With the arrival of this summer and the spectacular transfer market that FC Barcelona is carrying out, the popularity of the JijantesFC Twitch channel has multiplied, to the point that It already has more than 200,000 followers and direct more than 30,000 people that surpass even streamers like Ibai. Among his top moments to date we find the arrival at the Aubameyang airport in the winter transfer market when nobody expected him or the haka (Maori dance used in American football to intimidate the rival) that he carried out in the middle of an interview to Luis Suarez.
So what is this #CalmaKounde
One of Barça’s goals for the summer market has been Sevilla’s central defender Jules Koundé. The fact is that it is also from Chelsea FC, which had already been related to this club last summer. Sevilla needs to sell him to undertake various operations and between the English and Spanish clubs a battle has been carried out to get his services. Until then, the daily bread. From the Andalusian city it has been leaked constantly that Sevilla has not received offers from Barcelona and that the agreement with Chelsea was imminent. Information that clashed head-on with that given by Gerard Romero on his Twitch channel and some (few, very few) other journalists from Barcelona.
And the way in which Romero told the information he had and asked the culé fan of his channel for patience was that «Calma Koundé» which he later turned into the hashtag #CalmaKounde. In his speech, he asked for respect for his information and the rest of his colleagues. In fact, at the beginning he was not blunt in the fact that Koundé was going to reach Barça, although he was in the fact that the culé team had options to sign him. The problem is that when this hashtag was transferred to Twitter, a total war ensued, with sports information accounts from Seville calling the journalist a «clown» and coming to say that the information was rubbish and a lie. According to Gerard Romero, the attack also came through a multitude of offensive messages through direct messages and on the Jijantes account.
The fight between Twitter users from Barcelona and Seville intensified, and to this was added the Chelsea fans who also fired back from their side with hashtags like #JulesIsBlue. Gerard Romero also fueled the fire, orchestrate from his channel waves of tweets from the followers of the channel with the aforementioned hashtag #CalmaKounde. In recent days, the information about the future of Jules Koundé has clearly turned towards his signing for FC Barcelona, with several English media considering Chelsea withdrawn from the bid. And it is evident that in this media war, Gerard Romero and his approach to a new journalism through Twitch seem to be more and more the winner.
A broader reflection on journalism
Ibai already said it at the time. Sports journalism is changing. Although the streamers do not try to appropriate the traditional journalism of a lifetime, the results are there. Ibai managed to accompany Messi to his presentation with PSG when almost no interviews had been achieved from traditional journalism in a dozen years. And in a really brilliant speech, Gerard Romero explained that what they were looking for was get people involved in journalism again and return to that journalism of going out on the street, that anyone with a camera can go to this or another place to look for the news, to get involved in the news process. That is one of the great keys why this JijantesFC Twitch channel has become one of the sensations of the moment. Create a community that feels part of the news. Will Twitch be the new newspaper of the future? Only time will tell, but the truth is that, in my opinion, initiatives like Gerard Romero’s are a breath of fresh air for a too stagnant structure.