Argentinian President Faustino Valentín Sarmiento — also widely known as Domingo Faustino — was a politician, writer, teacher, journalist, military member, and statesman who set the course of Argentina, as well as Chile, in the 1800s.

In 2018, Diario Los Andes launched a multi-platform editorial project to celebrate the history and legacy of Sarmiento. Through a series of three video documentaries, 12 weekly fascicles, and social media activity, the news media company highlighted the life and work of Sarmiento, as well as his influence over Argentinian culture.

Objectives of this initiative included:

  • Commemorating the 130th anniversary of the death of San Juan Domingo F. Sarmiento and the 150th anniversary of his presidency.
  • Boosting Thursday circulation through the publication of 12 weekly printed fascicles (from August 5 to October 26) with academic content produced by local and national experts.
  • Engage younger audiences via social networks of Diario Los Andes, including Twitter and Instagram.
  • Establish an agreement with the Federal System of Public Media and Content of the Argentine Republic.
  • Capture the interest of new advertisers.

The year 2018 marked the 130th anniversary of his death and the 150th anniversary of his presidency. In this context, Diario Los Andes newspaper celebrated Sarmiento through diverse platforms to reach different audiences.

Twitter provides minute-by-minute, real-time accounts of people’s lives and national or worldwide events. With this scenario surrounding us, we wondered: How would our Argentinean eminent leaders share their lives if they had access to social media?

This question became a central part of our Sarmiento coverage. Since 2017, Diario Los Andes has been honouring historical figures by asking this question, and we believe Domingo Faustino Sarmiento would have certainly been a great Twitter user. So, we gave him a username, @DSarmientoLA, and wrote a brief biography:

“Departing from the hillside of the snowy Andes, I have traversed the land and traced all the small leading lights of my country … I leave behind me a lasting trace in education and in military columns in the buildings of the schools that will mark in America the path I followed.”

The social media profile images of Sarmiento and the other historical figures were created by illustrator Gabriel Fernández, and behind them was the work of the Mendocinean historian Luciana Sabina.
The social media profile images of Sarmiento and the other historical figures were created by illustrator Gabriel Fernández, and behind them was the work of the Mendocinean historian Luciana Sabina.

We created profiles on Instagram and Twitter under the hashtags #Sarmiento130 and #Sarmiento150. Other significant characters accompanied Sarmiento on Twitter, as they did in life, including his mother, Doña Paula Albarracín (@PauAlbarracinLA) and his great love, Aurelia Vélez Sarsfield (@AureliaVelezLA).

Sarmiento, “the father of the classroom,” first saw Aurelia when she was a child to whom he did not pay any attention. Ten years later, they met and fell in love. He was 44 years old, she was 19, and both were married. Sarmiento was considered an early feminist and spent his life in a world where women were his main allies. He was always surrounded by great women: mother, sisters, daughter, and friends. He even expressed with certainty that “the degree of civilisation of a nation can be judged by the social position of women.” He always believed in equal rights to education and he struggled to make it possible.

When we talk about Sarmiento, we should also mention Facundo Quiroga (@FquirogaLA) and Juan Manuel de Rosas (@ElRestauradorLA), as well as Juan Bautista Alberdi (@AlberdiLA) and Bartolomé Mitre (@BartoloMitreLA). We included all of them in our tribute.

Diario Los Andes produced a series of three video documentaries about Sarmiento, in addition to 12 weeks of fascicles printed in the Thursday edition of the newspaper.
Diario Los Andes produced a series of three video documentaries about Sarmiento, in addition to 12 weeks of fascicles printed in the Thursday edition of the newspaper.

This initiative quickly captured many new followers and generated plenty of exciting social media activity. Sarmiento and Alberdi were the most active of our historical figures on Twitter, attracting 3,327 and 3,624 followers respectively, although Sarmiento had the most interactions — more than 12,000! The most influential audiences were Bartolomé Mitre and Facundo Quiroga. The project generated a total of 18,402 interactions and 12,867 followers.

The 12 printed fascicles published on Thursdays increased circulation by 2 percent. The documentary series, “Enter the story: Sarmiento, 130 years after his death,” consists of three 13-minute videos, which were found on the Diario Los Andes Web site and broadcast on two digital television channels in Mendoza on the national platform of the Federal Media and Content System of the Argentine Republic.

It was also broadcast on the channel of the Universidad Pontificia de Valparaíso (Chile) and on its Web site. In addition to the support of the government of the province of Mendoza, we attracted a new advertiser: the government of the province of San Juan.