I just arrived to Spain after one week in Brazil.
Reading some national, regional and local Spanish newspapers, my first reactions are:
1. They are some of the best designed newspapers of the world (Mario Garcia has not done too much work here but having Javier Errea, Ricardo Bermejo, Guillermo Nagore, Miguel Buckenmeyer, Carlos Pérez Diaz, Antonio Martin, Toni Cases, Al Treviño, Herminio Javier Fernández, Carmelo Caderot, Diego Areso or Ferran Grau, the Spanish newspapers don’t need too much foreign help).
2. They have some of the best infographics of the world (The Malofiej Awards are an example of their fantastic creativity)
3. They have a lot of pages, sections, supplements and magazines (El Mundo launched this week a better than ever VIAJES section, and a few weeks ago they produced a terrific new Sciences supplement, EUREKA).
4. They cover almost everything (La Vanguardia, El Pais, ABC and El Mundo have more foreign correspondents than the main USA, French, German or Italian newspapers).
5. They comment about almost everything (I just had breakfast here in Seville, reading El Correo de Andalucia, a local newspaper that opens his editorial page with a piece about Haiti!)
6. They are very cheap (1 euro is the average price for single copy buyers).
7. They don’t have subscribers (except La Vanguardia in Barcelona) so the “Reader Clubs” are an exception.
8. They “buy” readers with very good but expensive “give-away promotions” (Spain has some of the leading newspaper promotion companies of the world).
9. They don’t have too many classified pages and too much advertising: including local and regional newspapers, ads are controlled by big a few big Media Buyers that neglect print media and have killed the advertising market for newspapers.
10. So in the last few years, many of these newspapers are losing money, many readers, and a lot of advertisers.
My feeling is clear:
Spanish newspapers have, with a few great exceptions, some of the worst business managers of the world: financial, human resources, IT, production, circulation, advertising and marketing departments are very poor.
Spanish newspapers have better editors than publishers.
Spanish newspapers have some of the most mono-media newsrooms of the world.
Spanish newspaper newsrooms have not understood the Internet challenge and they are dramatically des-integrated.
Spanish newspapers favor quantity to quality and they have lost the opportunity to develop more compact and compelling newspapers.
Spanish newspapers are too predictable, too clonic, too politically correct, too yesterday-news oriented, and too wordy.
Spanish newspaper need better owners, publishers and managers.
Better multimedia editors and journalists.
Better integrated newsrooms.
More compact and compelling newspapers.
More politically incorrect newspapers.
More why and what’s next journalism.