Spanish journalism seems to be in a place of transition. After the fall of Franco, Spanish press seems to flounder between ownership and being corporately owned. Press Reference notes Spanish journalism as characteristically having, “low circulation and equally low per capita readership, at least in comparison to presses in other modern European countries. During the twentieth century the press became decentralized, and newspapers were established that focus more on the concerns of Spain’s regions and autonomous communities often publishing in regional languages such as Catalán, Basque and Galician.”
Furthermore, most Spanish citizens choose to receive their news from a televised source, not a printed one. This means that new-wave facets of journalism that are becoming popular in the United States, such as “do good” and peace reporting, are almost irrelevant in Spain.
Spanish journalism tends to lean more towards traditional journalism as they attempt to regain their footing after economic and political upheaval. Headlines from popular Spanish news source El Mundo give a taste of “safe” stories like, “Mariano Rajoy congratulates Emmanuel Macron on his victory in the French presidential” and “6 year-old girl dies after inflatable castle bursts.” After such societal turmoil, it seems Spain is keeping its press simple, local, and back to basics.
As I said in my previous article, the same ethical standards are not applied to Spanish journalism as they are (or at least used to be) in the United States. The journalists in Spain are a mix of those who could be bought out, and those who have either been laid-off and started anew or were simply rookies who wanted to hit the ground running and do things their own way. Currently, old Spanish media doesn’t have the best reputation, but the new wave is trying to change that.
Of course, it is possible to go to school for writing and journalism, but its not as popular an area of study as it is here in the United States. The absence of an Associated Press or what seems to be any press-related moral compass, really, gives Spanish journalists what I can only equate to the same reputation as an American lawyer: shady and easily sold out. Perhaps the new wave will mend this reputation, but as of right now its still pretty shaky.
Some modern Spanish journalists who seem to have escaped the blanket of a bad-rep include: Javier Marías, Pedro J. Ramírez, Federico Jiménez Losantos and Juan Manuel de Prada. These journalists have not only shown their prowess in news and columns, but have also gained respect and prestige working in other literary areas including novels and essays. However, they are most famous for their work in journalism and press.