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Forty years of EL PAÍS

The newspaper is embracing the future with a spirit of freedom, independence and innovation

Part of the EL PAIS 40th anniversary exhibition at Madrid's Cibeles Palace.
Part of the EL PAIS 40th anniversary exhibition at Madrid's Cibeles Palace.ULY MARTIN (EL PAÍS)

On May 4, 1976, EL PAÍS was born “under the aegis of an inalienable democratic conviction” (so said its first editorial), and with a firm will to be an independent champion of liberty. Today, on the 40th anniversary of its foundation, those principles are still fully applicable as we address one of the greatest challenges facing the global media today: embracing the technological revolution and the ongoing change of paradigm.

This daily was a pioneer in the defense of freedom in Spain, and now it is a trailblazer in innovation as it seeks to turn challenge into opportunity and remain the indisputable world leader of the Spanish-language press, as well as a point of reference in the creation of public opinion that reflects the plurality and independence required of a democracy.

There is always something nostalgic about birthday celebrations; this is a time to remember all the people who made possible the story of this institution (besides its readers, who are the reason why we’re here and the fundamental recipients of our work).

The time has come to take stock of these four decades and of the role played by this newspaper in the shaping of Spanish democracy

The special EL PAÍS 40th anniversary issue published today contains some of those memories in stories written by leading contributors, in interviews with relevant figures and in features about what’s happened in Spain and the world during the course of these 40 years.

The time has come to take stock of these four decades and of the role played by this newspaper in the shaping of Spanish democracy and in our country’s development in an increasingly globalized world. But it is also time to lead these new times with a spirit of innovation. We are in a scenario of permanent transformation; digital society represents a revolutionary change that can only be addressed with courage and with decisions that break with the past, whenever necessary.

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Coinciding with its 40th anniversary celebrations, EL PAÍS has inaugurated a brand new newsroom in Madrid. Its structure and new working style aim to become an example of an audiovisual, interactive type of journalism. It would be a mistake to think that technology is the enemy of journalism. On the contrary, the digital world is breaking down barriers and opening up a new way to communicate with a broader, more diverse public. Today, our newspaper has more than 16 million monthly readers, half of whom read us from their cellphones.

EL PAÍS has embarked on this new period with the decision of a leader and the ambition to keep defending its founding principles. The channels and the medium might change, but journalism remains what it always was: find the news, decide whether it is relevant, find contrasting views, tell it well and publish it freely. And that’s where we are right now.

English version by Susana Urra.

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