Domingo speaks at a Society of Professional Journalists meeting
“Brilliant researchers and very nice people” attracted Professor David Domingo to The University of Iowa. Here on a three-year appointment from Catalonia, Spain, Domingo teaches several courses including Online Journalism, News-Editorial Problems and Communication Technology and Society.
With a Ph.D. from Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Domingo has focused his work over the last 10 years on online journalism.
Much of his work strives to “explain why the Internet is not changing how things are done in journalism as much as [academia] thought it would,” he said.
After learning of the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication position and discussing it with on-leave faculty member Jane Singer, whom Domingo met at an International Communication Association (ICA) meeting, he decided to apply. After the first round of selection, Domingo was invited for an interview.
Due to the distance between Domingo’s home in Catalonia and the UI, the search committee opted to conduct the interview via video conference.
“[The video conference] was a new experience for all of us,” said Judy Polumbaum, J-MC faculty and search committee member, via e-mail.
The search committee and several members of the faculty attended the technological interview.
“It was something like an hour long video conference—all this bunch of faculty and then me alone,” Domingo said with a smile and hands indicating a large group of people.
Domingo said that during the interview he felt a good intellectual connection and that the J-MC school would be a strong fit for his desire to teach and surround himself with research opportunities.
After accepting the job and wading through the red tape of living abroad, Domingo arrived with Iowa City’s first snow on January 14, 2007.
“Snow is something for me that is almost magic,” he said. “My hometown is a Mediterranean town. We don’t get much snow. Maybe one day every 10 years.”
The snow may be a distinct difference from Spain, but Iowa City reminds Domingo of home in ways that surprised him. The many small shops in downtown Iowa City make having a car a luxury rather than a necessity, and the shopping website, Craig’s List, made furniture shopping a surmountable task. Even some of the restaurants downtown have caught his attention, he said, calling downtown a “wonderful variety.”
But Iowa City is not Domingo’s first experience with the United States. When he was 16 he visited Manhattan for a month with his family, and over the following years Domingo returned to the United States to visit friends and family.
“I love to get to know people and their cultures,” he said.
Domingo has traveled to a litany of countries including Finland, France, Germany and much of South America. As a testament to his knowledge of the global world, Domingo is trilingual, speaking his native Catalan, Spanish and English.
In addition to adjusting to Iowa City, Domingo has had to become accustomed to teaching American students.
“Here, students have a more active attitude in their willingness to learn,” he said. “It’s very rewarding when you teach—to see that they really want to collaborate.”
Ryan Hower, a J-MC senior, from Palatine, Ill., is in Domingo’s Online Journalism class. Though Hower was unaware who his professor would be prior to the first day of class, he has only positive things to say about Domingo.
“[Domingo is] extremely knowledgeable and passionate about his work,” he said. Hower explained that Domingo’s excitement for his work makes the class interesting.
One of the few cultural differences Domingo has experienced with his students is in the syllabus.
“[Students] want you to give them very specific instructions,” he said. “[This is] something I’m not very used to.”
Domingo explained that American students want to know exactly what they will be tested on, including book chapters and discussions. In Spain, students assume whatever has been discussed in class is fair game, and this can include seeing new studies and analyzing them on the spot.
Domingo said looks forward to March when he will travel to Texas for the Symposium of Online Journalism. Later he plans to attend the ICA conference in San Francisco.
Outside the classroom, Domingo is still adjusting to Iowa City. Finding a weekly pick-up game of basketball and venues for live music are at the top of his list. He has had little trouble finding people willing to answer questions about Iowa City and the UI.
“[I am] happily surprised of everything,” he said. “Iowans seem to be very warm. They care a lot.”