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El País

El País
El País headquarters in Madrid
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) PRISA
Founder(s) José Ortega Spottorno, Jesús de Polanco y Juan Luis Cebrián
Publisher Ediciones El País, S.L.
Editor-in-chief Antonio Caño
Associate editor Lluis Bassets
Founded 4 May 1976 (1976-05-04)
Language Spanish
Portuguese (online)[1]
Catalan (online)
Headquarters Madrid, Spain
Circulation 267,000 (April 2014)
Sister newspapers Cinco Días
Diario AS
ISSN 0213-4608
Website .com.elpaiswww

El País (   ; literally The Country) is the highest-circulation daily newspaper in Spain and one of three Madrid dailies considered to be national newspapers of record for Spain (along with El Mundo and ABC).[2] El País, based in Madrid, is owned by the Spanish media conglomerate PRISA.

Its headquarters and central editorial staff are located in Madrid, although there are regional offices in the principal Spanish cities (Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Bilbao, Santiago de Compostela) where regional editions are produced. El País also produces a world edition that is printed and distributed in Latin America.[3]


  • History and profile 1
    • Editors-in-chief 1.1
  • Appearance 2
  • Electronic edition 3
  • Supplements 4
  • Ideology 5
    • Criticism of Che Guevara, the "populist left" and the Government of Venezuela 5.1
  • Bans 6
  • Notable contributors 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11

History and profile

El País was founded in May 1976[4][5] by a team at PRISA which included José Ortega Spottorno and Carlos Mendo.[6] The paper was designed by Reinhard Gade and Julio Alonso. It was first published on 4 May 1976,[7] six months after the death of dictator Francisco Franco, and at the beginning of the Spanish transition to democracy. The first editor-in-chief of the daily was Juan Luis Cebrian.[8]

El País was the first pro-democracy newspaper within a context where all the other Spanish newspapers were influenced by Franco's ideology.[9] The circulation of the paper was 116,600 copies in its first year.[10] It rose to 137,562 copies in 1977.[10]

El País filled a gap in the market and became the newspaper of Spanish democracy, for which role El País was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and the Humanities in 1983, at a time when the transition from Franco's dictatorship to democracy was still developing. The paper's first Director (until 1988) was Juan Luis Cebrián, who came from the daily newspaper Informaciones. Like many other Spanish journalists of the time he had worked for Diario Pueblo (meaning People's Daily in English) which was a mouthpiece for the Francoist sindicato vertical.

Its reputation as a bastion of Spanish democracy was established during the attempted coup d'etat by Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero of the Guardia Civil on 23 February 1981. During the uncertain situation of the night of 23 February 1981, with all the members of parliament held hostage in the Congress building and with tanks on the streets of Valencia, and before the state television station could transmit a speech by King Juan Carlos I condemning the coup, El País published a special edition of the newspaper called 'El País, for the Constitution'. It was the first daily paper on the streets that night with a clear pro-democracy position calling on citizens to demonstrate in favour of democracy. It was widely discussed in the news media that the then director of El País, Juan Luis Cebrián, telephoned the then director of Diario 16, Pedro J. Ramírez, in order to propose that both newspapers work on a joint publication in defence of democracy and Ramírez refused, claiming that he would prefer to wait a few hours to see how the situation developed. Diario 16 was not published until after a television broadcast by the king. Along with its commitment to democracy before the attempted coup of 23 February 1981, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party's election victory in 1982 with an absolute majority and its open support for the government of Felipe González,[11] meant that El País consolidated its position during the 1980s as the Spanish newspaper with the most sales ahead of the conservative leaning ABC.

In 1986 El País was the recipient of the Four Freedom Award for the Freedom of Speech by the Roosevelt Institute.[12]

In 1987 El País received the largest amount of the state aid.[13] Both the rigorous journalistic standards and the fact that it was the first Spanish newspaper to establish internal quality control standards have increased the standing of El País. It was also the first Spanish daily to create the role of Reader's Advocate (equivalent to the Press Ombudsman in Britain) and in publishing a "Style Guide" that has become a benchmark for quality amongst journalists.[14] El País has also established a number of collaborative agreements with other European newspapers with a social democrat viewpoint. In 1989, El País participated in the creation of a common network of information resources with La Repubblica in Italy and Le Monde in France.

At the beginning of the 1990s, El País had to face a new political and journalistic challenge. The increasing political tensions caused by corruption scandals involving the socialist government of Felipe González polarized both the Spanish political classes and the press of the left and right wings. Since that time both the Partido Popular and the media aligned with it have accused El País and the other companies owned by PRISA.[15][16] along with Sogecable[17][18] of supporting the interests of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). Despite this, El País has managed to maintain its position as the best selling generalist daily in Spain, although its lead over El Mundo has been reduced. Both in 1993 and 1994 it was the best selling newspaper in the country with a circulation of 401,258 copies and 408,267 copies, respectively.[19] In the period of 1995–1996 El Pais had a circulation of 420,934 copies, making it again the best-selling paper in the country.[20]

Since October 2001, an English language supplement of El País has been included in the Spanish version of the International Herald Tribune. This content can also be found on El País' internet site

In 2001 El País had a circulation of 433,617 copies[21] and it was 435,298 copies next year.[22] The paper had a circulation of 435,000 copies in 2003.[23]

El País was awarded the World’s Best Designed Newspaper™ for 2006 by the Society for News Design (SND).[24] Based on the findings of the European Business Readership Survey the paper had 14,589 readers per issue in 2006.[25] The circulation of the daily was 425,927 copies between June 2006 and July 2007.[26]

On 26 September 2007, the paper published the José María Aznar, shortly before the invasion of Iraq.[27] In 2007 the circulation of El País was about 400,000 copies.[28]

During the premiership of the PSOE's José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero El País published several articles criticising or opposing the policies of the Zapatero government. This provided opportunities for new entrants to represent the centre left, such as the appearance of the daily newspaper Público.

The 2008 circulation of El País was 435,083 copies, making it the most read daily in the country.[29] It was 267,000 in April 2014.[28]


El País has had five editors-in-chief since it was founded in 1976. In February 2014 it was announced that Antonio Caño would be proposed as new editor-in-chief, appointment that was ratified by the Board of Directors and became effective on 3 May 2014.

Years Editor-in-chief
1976–1988 Juan Luis Cebrián
1988–1993 Joaquín Estefanía
1993–2006 Jesús Ceberio
2006–2014 Javier Moreno
2014– Antonio Caño


The appearance of El País is characterized by its sobriety, in both its treatment of information and its esthetics. Most pages contain five columns arranged in a neat and clear manner with distinct journalistic sub-categories. Photographs and graphics play a secondary, supporting role to the written word. The newspaper has had the same design from its foundation until the end of 2007, with hardly any changes (it used only black-and-white photographs, although the current format includes colour and more imaginative design, mainly in the varied supplements), and the same Times Roman font.[30]

The newspaper's format was revamped on 21 October with changes to its printed form, its digital presence on the Internet and the replacement of its historical motto 'Independent morning daily' with 'Global Spanish language newspaper'.[31] The paper began to be published in tabloid format.[32] Other notable changes are the inclusion of the acute accent in its title header and the substitution of Times Roman by Majerit.

Opinion polls cited in El País are all carried out by a separate company called Instituto OPINA.

Electronic edition

In the mid-1990s, El País was the second Spanish newspaper to publish an internet edition, El País digital (the first was the Catalan newspaper Avui). On 18 November, it became the first Spanish newspaper to introduce a payment system for access to the contents of its electronic version, which drastically reduced the number of visits to the website, to the extent that El Mundo, which maintained open access to the majority of its contents, became the leading Spanish digital newspaper. After taking this decision El País digital was suspended in 2002 by the Oficina de Justificación de la Difusión for four months because of two serious breaches of OJD regulations.[33] The El País digital website opened again on 3 June 2005 with free access to the majority of the contents. Subscription was required to gain access to multimedia contents and to the newspaper's archive.

In October 2014, El Pais launched a digital edition in Catalan.[34]


El País produces a number of supplements:

  • Wednesdays:
    • Futuro, (English: Future) supplement on science.
  • Thursdays:
    • Ciberpaís, supplement on computing and electronics,
    • Icon, monthly supplement for men (from Fall 2013)[35]
    • The New York Times, a Spanish language version of the American original.
  • Fridays:
    • EP[3], previously known as El País de las Tentaciones, (English: The Country of Temptations) youth supplement.
    • Ocio, (English: Leisure) supplement on cultural activities.
  • Saturdays:
    • Babelia', cultural supplement specializing in literature and
    • El Viajero, (English: The Traveller) on travel.
  • Sundays:
    • the magazine El País Semanal (English: El País Weekly) previously called EP[S] on fashion, reports and opinion,
    • Negocios, (English: Business) financial supplement.

The supplement designed for children, Pequeño País (English: Small Country), ceased publication in 2009.

A number of publications issued in installments have also been produced throughout its history:

  • Classic and Modern Comics (1987).


The paper's ideology has always been defined by a leaning towards Europeanism. Politically, it was situated in the centre-left[10] during most of the transition. After a series of disputes with the Socialist administration of Jose Luis Zapatero (2004-2011), the paper is considered to be less predictably in sync with its traditional support for the centre-left. [36] Today the newspaper's position with regard to the challenges of Catalan independence movement is strongly in favor of maintaining the territorial integrity of Spain and following the legal processes of the Constitution. It regularly criticizes the Conservative government of Mariano Rajoy (2012-present) over corruption scandals, economic performance and a "do-nothing" approach to the Catalan crisis.[37]

In the late 1970s and 1980s El País had close connections with the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE).[11] The paper has repeatedly supported King Juan Carlos I for his contribution to the consolidation of democracy, especially, for his decisive intervention in aborting the coup of 23 February 1981.[38] The paper is characterized by the amount of space it gives to the reporting of international news, culture and information regarding the economy, as well as Spanish news. It has specific columnists and contributors from different social backgrounds contributing to the democratic and pro-European editorial line of the newspaper.

Criticism of Che Guevara, the "populist left" and the Government of Venezuela

The paper has criticized figures such as Che Guevara and his idea of armed struggle.[39]

More recently, it has also shown its clear opposition to the popular leftist movement in Spain called "Podemos".

El País has also been critical of the so-called "populist left" in Latin America. In April 2002, it termed the failed coup in Venezuela as a "coup against a tyrant", accusing Hugo Chávez of authoritarianism and of eliminating the separation of powers.[40] The paper criticized Chávez again regarding the Venezuelan constitutional referendum of 2007, accusing him of holding the referendum without the least "minimal guarantees", of restricting the actions of the National Electoral Council, and of tampering with the electoral roll.[41] The Venezuelan government, through the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information, considers El País to be one of the Spanish newspapers most critical of the left-wing governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia.[42]

On 24 January 2013, El País published a false report about the health status of then Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, with false photography of an unknown man from a 2008 video.[43][44] The Venezuelan government announced legal action against El País,[45] and criticized both the violation of journalistic ethics as well as the violation of the patients' rights of President Chávez and others.


The 16 February 2012 edition of El País was banned in Morocco due to the publication of a cartoon which, according to the Moroccan authorities, tarnished King Mohammed VI's name.[46]

Notable contributors

See also


  1. ^ Keila Guimarães (26 November 2013). "El País lança edição digital no Brasil". 
  2. ^ "Spain: Media and publishing".  
  3. ^ "El Pais - Corporativo". El Pais. 
  4. ^ Richard Gunther; Jose Ramon Montero; Jose Ignacio Wert (2000). "The media and politics in Spain". In Richard Gunther; Anthony Mughan. Democracy and the Media: A Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Alan Albarran (10 September 2009). Handbook of Spanish Language Media. Routledge. p. 20.  
  6. ^ "Bis'El País' Co-founder Mendo Dead at 77".  
  7. ^ El PaísBreve historia de , El Pais.
  8. ^ Francisco J. Pérez‐Latre; Alfonso Sánchez‐Tabernero (2003). "Leadership, an essential requirement for effecting change in media companies: An analysis of the Spanish market". International Journal on Media Management 5 (3).  
  9. ^ Nuria Almiron; Ana I. Segovia (2012). "Financialization, Economic Crisis, and Corporate Strategies in Top Media Companies: The Case of Grupo Prisa" 6. pp. 2894–2917. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c Katrin Voltmer (2006). Mass Media and Political Communication in New Democracies. Psychology Press. p. 19.  
  11. ^ a b Frank R. Baumgartner; Laura Chaqués Bonafont (2014). "All News is Bad News: Newspaper Coverage of Political Parties in Spain" (PDF). Political Communication. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Four freedoms awards Roosevelt Institute. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  13. ^ Rosario de Mateo (1989). "The evaolution of the newspaper industry in Spain, 1939-87" (PDF). European Journal of Communication 4. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  14. ^ was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Communication and the Humanities in 1973El PaísFor which role Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ «Eva Cuesta, el penúltimo fichaje del PSOE en PRISA». Artículo de Periodista Digital (24 January 2007).
  16. ^ «Prisa y PSOE se apoyan mutuamente para seguir en el poder: dinero y publicidad a mantas». Artículo de Por Andalucía Libre mencionando declaraciones de El Mundo 7 February 2007. Archived 31 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Sogecable responde a la llamada del PSOE y pide al Gobierno que Canal+ emita siempre en abierto", Artículo de Libertad Digital, ya solo consultable en
  18. ^ "CC y PSOE prorrogan a Sogecable el contrato de la Televisión Canaria y el PP anuncia que lo impugnará". Libertad Digital 9 May 2007
  19. ^ "Facts of Spain". Florida International University. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  20. ^ Media Policy: Convergence, Concentration & Commerce. SAGE Publications. 24 September 1998. p. 7.  
  21. ^ Jagdeep S. Chhokar; Felix C. Brodbeck; Robert J. House (17 June 2013). Culture and Leadership Across the World: The GLOBE Book of In-Depth Studies of 25 Societies. Routledge. p. 644.  
  22. ^ David Ward (2004). "A Mapping Study of Media Concentration and Ownership in Ten European Countries" (PDF). Dutch Media Authority. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  23. ^ Roland Schroeder (2004). "Interactive Info Graphics in Europe-- added value to online mass media: a preliminary survey". Journalism Studies 5 (4).  
  24. ^ "World’s Best-Designed winners (2006)". Society for News Design. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Craig Carroll (1 September 2010). Corporate Reputation and the News Media: Agenda-setting Within Business News Coverage in Developed, Emerging, and Frontier Markets. Routledge. p. 177.  
  26. ^ Andrea Czepek; Melanie Hellwig; Eva Nowak (2009). Press Freedom and Pluralism in Europe: Concepts and Conditions. Intellect Books. p. 279.  
  27. ^ on Bush, Aznar, and Iraq".El País" Harper's Magazine. September 2007.
  28. ^ a b Anne Penketh; Philip Oltermann; Stephen Burgen (12 June 2014). "European newspapers search for ways to survive digital revolution". The Guardian (Paris, Berlin, Barcelona). Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  29. ^ Alan Albarran (10 September 2009). Handbook of Spanish Language Media. Routledge. p. 25.  
  30. ^ «Unos buenos tipos». El País 14 October 2007.
  31. ^ " será el periódico global en españolEl País", El País (9 October 2007)
  32. ^ Jesús del-Olmo-Barbero; Sonia Parratt-Fernández (2011). "Typography and colour: A comparative analysis of the free and paid-for newspapers in Spain". Revista Latina de Comunicacion Social (66). Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  33. ^ « por faltas gravesEl País DigitalLa OJD sanciona con cuatro meses de expulsión a ». ABC. 24 July 2002.
  34. ^ EL PAÍS launches digital edition published in Catalan language, El Pais, 6 October 2014
  35. ^ "El Pais to launch new men's magazine Icon". Publicitas. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ «Injurias a la Corona». Editorial de El País (28 July 2007).
  39. ^ Caudillo Guevara, editorial de El País, 10 October 2007.
    ... Che Guevara [..] belonged to that sinister saga of tragic heroes, still present in the terrorist movements of various types, from the nationalists to the Jihadists, who try to hide the fact they are assassins by claiming to be martyrs, prolonging the old prejudice inherited from Romanticism. The fact that Che Guevara gave his life and sacrificed those of many others does not improve his ideas, that drink from the springs of one of the great totalitarian systems. [..] the only attestable contribution of the insurgent followers of Guevara to Latin American politics was to offer new alibis to the authoritarian tendencies that were germinating on the continent. Thanks to his armed challenge, the right-wing military dictators could present themselves as a lesser evil, if not a inevitable requisite opposing another symmetrical military dictatorship, such as that led by Castro [..] In the four decades that have passed since his death, the Latin American left and, of course, that in Europe, has completely expedited his goals and fanatical methods. To the point where today the only people who commemorate the date of his execution in La Higuera are the governments that subjugate the Cubans or those that invoke Simón Bolívar in their populist harangues.
  40. ^ Golpe a un caudillo (editorial sobre el golpe de Estado en Venezuela contra Hugo Chávez) El Pais. 13 April 2002.
  41. ^ La careta de Chávez, editorial de El País, 18 November 2007.
  42. ^ El PaísLa guerra mediática contra Venezuela desde el diario español
  43. ^ EL PAÍS retira una falsa foto de Hugo Chávez | Internacional|El Pais 24 January 2013.
  44. ^ Spanish Paper El País Makes a Fool of Itself |
  45. ^ | AVNEl PaisVenezuela to take legal actions against
  46. ^ "Morocco bans Spanish paper over royal cartoon". Doha Center for Media Freedom. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  47. ^ "El dibujante chileno Fernando Krahn muere en Barcelona",  

Further reading

  • Merrill, John C. and Harold A. Fisher. The world's great dailies: profiles of fifty newspapers (1980) pp 238-41

External links

  • El PaísElectronic edition of (Spanish)
  • El PaísMobile edition of (Spanish)
  • International Herald Tribune in English with El País
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