Files under General | Mar 31st


Obama arrived a few hours ago to London and French President Sarkozy threatened to walk out of the summit if world leaders cannot agree over tighter financial regulation.

A fierce Sarkozy said:

“I want results. It’s in everyone’s interest to get them…We have to get results, there’s no choice, the crisis is too serious to allow us to have a summit for nothing.”

Welome to la Comédie Française!

(Picture by Reuters)


Files under General | Mar 31st


The Daily Telegraph’s Jon Swaine does a great job with this numerical guide about the G20 London Summit (bolds are mine):

19 leading economic powers + the EU = the G20

2 other countries – Thailand and Ethiopia – taking part in the London Summit

64 per cent of the world’s population live in the G20 countries

90 per cent of the world’s GDP is produced by them

80 per cent of the world’s trade is done by them

10 years since the G20’s foundation

1933 the last time London hosted a major world economic summit

£19 million estimated cost of the London Summit

500 official delegates to attend

1,000 translators and security guards to accompany them

40 armed convoys will ferry political figures and diplomats between meetings

4 hours 35 minutes total duration of formal talks in which to strike an agreement

3 meals, including a Downing Street dinner cooked by Jamie Oliver, in which to carry on discussions

20 million new jobs that could be promised, according to a leaked draft of the Summit’s communiqué

2 percentage points boost in global output could also be pledged, according to the draft

$500 billion boosted budget for the IMF to be promised, according to David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary

30 religious leaders have urged the Summit not to forget the world’s poorest

£7.5 million estimated cost of policing the summit

84,000 police man-hours allocated to the police operation

6 different police forces contributing officers

0 hours of leave permitted for Metropolitan Police officers during the summit

60 Westminster council CCTV cameras set to be turned off due to a legal ruling that their picture quality is too poor

160 CCTV cameras in Westminster to stay switched on

2,500 international journalists accredited to cover the event

100 acres covered by the ExCeL exhibition centre site, the London Summit’s venue

7 officially registered demonstrations during the summit

67 protest groups affiliated with the G20 Meltdown organisation

4 months until the next G8 summit in Sardinia, which may incorporate the entire G20

(Picture by AFP/GETTY)

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Files under General | Mar 31st

1653158595-workers-lay-red-carpet-ahead-arrival-mexico-s-president-felipejpgThe balance right now is not very good.

Gordon Brown is traveling around the world trying to save… his premiership.

American and British newspapers are selling the 20G spin:

“Britain and the USA are doing too much, and you need to do more.”

The newspaper coverage has been a mix of gossip: from who wants to sit next to the Argentinian president and what goodies the UK will include in the gift bags, to how many cooks Obama is bringing in his Air Force One.

But almost nothing about the real discussions.

Nothing about the real agreements.

Nothing about the real disagreements.

Nothing about the real expectations.

Nothing… except that when all our newsrooms were distracted with the trivia, Der Spiegel, yes, a German news magazine, reported what we needed to know.

The position papers for the meeting.

The real stuff.

But, of course, almost nobody spent much time with these boring (but crucial) papers.

It’s is easier to play the spin book.

The good guys (Obama and Brown) against the bad boys (Merkel and Sarkozy).

The rich against the poor.

The bankers against all of us.

Globalization versus protectionism.

A “black and white” world.

The problem is that this is not the reality.

Reality is always more complex.

And you need to work hard.

Report the facts.

Find the papers.

Read them.

Understand them.

And tell us what’s going on.

Not just the gossip of Obama and the Queen.

Or the desperate lobbying efforts by the Spanish prime minister to be in the picture.

Summits are hard to cover.

For everyone except the TV crews.

They are made and produced for TV consumption.

As a rule, when 2500 international journalists are accredited to cover an event… you cannot expect too much.

So, now more than ever, we need more Der Spiegel journalists.

More watchdogs.

And less spin.

And keep in mind that the G20 draft communique is now done.

So you don’t need to wait until the real circus is finished.

You can read it now in the FT.



Files under General | Mar 31st


Cover and content index of our 2009 INNOVATIONS IN NEWSPAPERS World Report.

Bigger and better than ever.

With a fantastic and provocative preface by Rupert Murdoch.

In his own words:

“This annual report demonstrates powerfully how newspapers around the world are being reinvented in the digital age”

In a few days we will have the first printed copies.

But a PDF edition in English and Spanish will be available very soon.


Files under General | Mar 29th


17 years ago — oh my God! — we started the Malofiej Infographic Awards at the University of Navarre’s Journalism School in Pamplona.

From the beginning, we said that these were the Pulitzers of the infographics world…

Well, this was too much, but before long we got more and more entries, great judges… and they became, really, the worldwide benchmark for visual journalism.

So, now it is time to thank all the people who made these awards possible.

First, to professor Miguel Urabayen who “found” this Argentinean visual journalist.

Then, to Pablo Sirvén and Gonzalo Peltzer, who introduced us to Alejandro Malofiej just a few months after he died.

And to his editor at Tiempo Argentino, Raul Burzaco, and his wife, Hilda Mouro, who donated many original pieces of Alejandro’s work to the university.

The late Peter Sullivan was also very influential and controversial.

He is the one who set up very, very high standards for the judging.

And let’s remember the first judges: Jean Claude Boksembaun, David Gray, John Monahan, Ole Munk, George Rorick, Peter Sullivan and Deborah Withey.

Thanks to Alvaro Moncada, Antonio Martín, María and Esther Armendia, Ignacio de la Fuente, Juan Corrales, Javier García Sayés, Diego Cenzano, Piluca Calero, Julian Altamirano, Chiqui Esteban, Joan Piqué, Quique and Luis Infante, Diego Delclaux, Guillermo Catalan, Maximo Bandres, Mariana Caetano, Maria del Mar Lopez, Maria Lozano, Luis I Muñoz, Mariola Moncada, Virginia Plana, Maribel Marin, Helena Sanz, Pablo Muñoz, Pilar Molina, Carla Garcia Tapia, Rafael Esquiroz and dozens of students who became the fantastic team behind the awards…

Cristina Gallego, Sofía Matínez, Valentina Villegas, Marta Torres, and Marta Valdés had to deal with the student force.

Nicola Bovoli, Francesco Farruggia, Tomasso Prennushi, Paloma Garcia and Francisco Lillo from Eurometing were the generous and visionary sponsors of the annual book in our first two years.

Like Cosme Delclaux, Jose Ramon Gonzalez, Xavier Lasa and Ricardo Villa with the first CDs, and Ricardo Bermejo with the design of the first books.

And the pictures of Jose Ramon Belzunce, Eugenio Zuñiga, and the great Jose Luis Zúñiga.

And Toni Piqué later, and Javier Errea now, were the great organizational masters.

But nobody did more or better work than my PA at the time, Maite Martínez.

More than anyone, she deserves a very special recognition from the infographics world.

Maite made the SND Spanish Chapter possible.

Maite made the “Show don’t Tell” workshops possible.

And Maite made the Malofiej Infographic Awards possible.

Without her, believe me, today’s 17th awards would be impossible.


Files under General | Mar 28th


Next week, London is hosting the 20G Summit.

Leaders from different countries and different parties will have to accept that not one of them was able to avoid the current financial crisis.

No one from the left.

No one from the centre.

No one from the right.

So, what’s the role of ideologies in a global world?

Malcolm Muggeridge was right many years ago when he said that:

“We like to persuade ourselves that our leaders betray the trust imposed in them and distort the aspirations of those who elect them.

Actually, they represent us all too exactly.”

And the same with our newspapers.

Our politicians, like our newspapers, are very much like us.


Files under General | Mar 27th


Claude Erbsen and I will be in Brussels speaking at the INNOVATION Conference organized by the European Journalism Center and the European Union.

Here you can find more information about this three-day meeting.


Files under General | Mar 27th


It’s now public, so let me confirm that we have started to work for Libération.

The INNOVATION team includes Juan Señor, our director in London, as the project manager, and  Andrew Jaspan (Australia), Juan Caño (Spain), Javier Errea (Spain), Deborah Withey (UK), Antonio Martin (Spain) and Sophie Bugneres (France) as the first consultants.

In the last few days, we have asked some of our French-speaking consultants and friends to read Libé.

Their comments and reactions have been very useful for us.

If you have any suggestions please send them to me at

The Change Committee from the Libé newsroom has been very cooperative and open minded, so we are very happy with the first steps of what needs to be big change for the new Libé.

This is going to be a very exciting project.

Libération is not just a great brand, but a great newspaper.


Files under General | Mar 26th


The preface written by Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News International, for our 2009 INNOVATIONS IN NEWSPAPERS World Report will include this fantastic portrait made by Luis Grañena.

You can see Luis’s illustration portfolio here.

A great preface with a great illustration.


Files under General | Mar 25th


Yesterday, I told you about O DIARIO DO NORTE DO PARANA in Maringa (Brazil).

Today, its front page announces that two of the three supermarkets that rejected inspectors to compare food prices with the newspaper now will give access to the researchers.

Shame on the third one!

Figthing for your readers will always work.