When I arrived in Barcelona (Spain) on Thursday night, I went to the first newsstand at the airport on my way to get a taxi.
The rack of newspapers was almost empty.
It was 9 pm.
No La Vanguardia.
No El Periodico.
No El Mundo.
No El Pais.
Three La Razon.
Publico is the new national newspaper launched a few days ago following a massive free-DVD campaign.
So, the “testing” is over.
And if this rack says something, it is that they are printing a lot of copies, but selling very few.
The cover price is just 0.50 euros ($0.70) against the one euro for the competitors.
I asked the newsstand vendor about Publico.
His reaction: “The free paper, you mean?”
Well, it’s not a free paper I said.
“Si, pero parece un gratuito” (Yes, but it looks like a free one)
The comment is quite serious.
This was the same reaction that many readers of El Periodico had after this kind of design a few years ago (too much color, too many boxes, too many short stories…)
El Periodico lost more than 30,000 copies and La Vanguardia has been the clear leading paper in Barcelona since then.
Will Publico be another Pagina 12 of Buenos Aires, Liberation in Paris or The Independent in London?
A viewspaper for a minority?
A non-profit newspaper?
Publico and its young and combative newsroom deserve a better future.