Editor, novelist, TV and radio journalist and EL PAÍS founding member Juan Cruz was named the 2012 recipient of the National Prize for Cultural Journalism on Monday.
A writer since the age of 13, the Tenerife-born Cruz started his career at local weekly Aire Libre. Since then there are few jobs in the creative and communication spheres that he hasn't tackled, combining his literary work with his day job as a journalist, as well as round tables and other behind-the-scenes work that in recent years has helped unite Spanish culture from both sides of the Atlantic.
One of his primary concerns has been the task of reporting itself, reflecting on the topic in works such as 2010 essay Periodismo: ¿vale le pena vivir para este oficio? (or, Journalism: is it worth living for this trade?) and in the interviews he has conducted with leading press figures such as US Latin American expert Jon Lee Anderson and Italian journalist and La Repubblica cofounder Eugenio Scalfari.
For the 64-year-old Cruz, the word "cultural" is as important as "journalism" in the name of his prize. As the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset said, the trade of reporter is an intellectual activity of the first order. "All journalists must aspire to be cultural journalists," he explains via telephone from Buenos Aires after receiving the news from Education, Culture and Sports Minister José Ignacio Wert. "Journalism is a cultural investment; it is writing, it is art and it is also a commitment to reality." The jury highlighted his "intellectual curiosity and passion for culture."
"This acknowledgment has very special sentimental and biographical significance for me," he adds. He is celebrating 50 years in the profession.
An assistant editor at EL PAÍS, Cruz writes the blog Mira que te lo tengo dicho and is very active on Twitter, where he has several thousand followers.