Like any other business, running a newspaper - or a news-site - is primarily about making money. In the Media, there is naturally a competition to see who does it best (the journalists having one view, those who sell advertising leaning towards another). The more copies sold is a good indication of how many readers one has, the quality of one's reporting and the impact of one's editorials. There are auditing companies (the OJD is the leader in Spain) who check the print-run and the copies returned, or they fathom the readership-numbers (that copy we left in the bar was read by twelve people!) to arrive at the figures to be presented to the advertisers. There is, inevitably, a certain amount of fudging.
To increase newspaper sales, one can lower the cover-price (as some British red-tops do) or give away gifts or discounts of some sort to readers, or run an 'advertorial' (a paid-for item disguised as news) or take a small commission on products sold through the newspaper.
One can also increase the pages, or throw in a weekly magazine - but paper is ever-more expensive and indeed, many Spanish newspapers no longer even own a press, preferring to have their copies printed in production-intensive printers. There's one in Valencia for example - AGM - that prints 24 dailies plus a few weeklies and various other goodies.
With newspaper sales falling - El País has gone from 469,000 copies sold daily to 60,000 in its 45 years of operation - it makes sense these days to print elsewhere and save on the staff.
But progress once again came to the attention of the editor (and the proprietor), with the arrival of the cyber-edition which costs nothing to print, nothing to distribute and there are no copies returned to be pulped. The dot com revolution has changed newspapers for ever.
However, the journalists, the bean-counters and the office cleaner still need paying, so with a free cyber-edition one must still search for income. The ad-blocker on most computers puts a dent in advertising revenue, so they endeavour to take some income from the readers.
Thus we have both subscriptions and pay-walls.
Which understandably weakens the number of visitors, but brings in some income.
News being news, it can of course be easily found elsewhere - from the TV to the other competing news-sources which remain free to use, along with the blogs ('citizen's journalism') and the social media posts (which are sometimes corrupted).
It's understood that one newspaper (or a pool) sends a correspondent to the Ukraine with all the expense and organisation that entails, and then along comes a scrivener and just hacks those stories without any guilt, but still. an event belongs to more than just its reporter.
Thus a pay-wall can only be of any moral use for protecting editorial or opinion.
After all, you can't copyright or own a news-story.
Few people will be paying subscriptions for two or more news-services (in the hope of receiving a wider spread of news and opinion), and anyway, there are still many free news-sites to visit.
Furthermore, many pay-walls can be breached easily enough - search the same headline on Google, and we find that someone has likely pinched it; or use 12ft Ladder or an archive of an earlier posting with Remove Paywall ('Read articles without annoying paywalls'), because, yes, precisely, they are annoying. Other pay-wall protected sites flatly can't be opened without a credit card, so (frustrated or not), we don't read them.
After all, are you going to subscribe to a page for just that one article?
A news-site may ask the reader to turn off his ad-blocker before being able to access the page: which seems reasonable enough. You do have the ad-blocker app, right?
Some cyber-news sites post a photo-version resistant to copy and paste. To copy, one must solemnly type out the text. Or maybe 'take a screen-shot'. Others are of course easier.
The copy-justification is called 'fair-use', and needs to be brief, delivered within quote marks and with a link to the original (which, no doubt, brings traffic). Google is an obvious example of this practice. Meneame is another. Plagiarism (or 'intellectual copyright') occurs when a larger chunk of text is copied, unattributed to the medium where it came from.
Does the pay-wall system work? - Well, it brings extra income through subscriptions and, after all, news-sources can't live entirely from advertising - except in Spain, where massive amounts of money are given as 'institutional advertising' to those news-sites which are 'close' to the administration. For example, the National Government, says The Objective here, has earmarked over 145 million euros in publicidad institucional for 2023.
Give me a slice of that, amigos, and I'll write nice things about you.
The Guardian is an example of a major news-site without a pay-wall - it relies on voluntary subscriptions and, since it's free, it can expect more readers. The Press-Gazette however thinks that with more dedicated clicks from subscribers (presumably anxious to get some return for their investment), the paper would receive quality visitors. Now that's silly.
From 20Minutos, reporting from Valencia: 'Drug-dens, insults, dirt. The daily life of some neighbours affected by the okupas: "They bring dangerous dogs and they threaten us"'.
From Spanish Property Insight: 'Podemos - the hard-left junior partner in Spain's governing coalition - will propose a new law to prosecute anti-squatter outfits that claim to get squatters out faster and/or cheaper than going down the judicial route. "We are going to register a law to criminally prosecute this trash (gentuza) that profits from persecuting the vulnerable," said Podemos Minister of Social Rights Ione Belarra about squatter-eviction companies.' El Mundo has the story here 'UP present a bill to punish people or companies that charge for "harassing" squatters'. (The UP leader Ione Belarra wears a tee-shirt in the article's photograph, bearing a picture of Isabel Díaz Ayuso's hard-to-find brother Tomás, who made a killing on the surgical masks at the onset of the Covid). One leading anti-squatter agency, called Desokupa, charges 3,000? and up to remove tenants says 20Minutos here. The suggestion is that they don't do it kindly. But, what comes next, asks an article at Naiz here - maybe a (totally legal and honest) company that one can hire to beat up land-lords? Yes, friends - it's election time.
From El Economista here. 'The Housing Law: How long does it take to evict squatters in other European countries and how are they punished?'. An okupación, says the Penal Code, is understood to be "when someone occupies, without due authorization, a foreign property, home or building that does not constitute the residence of anyone". An empty home, in short. It'll take an average of 18 months to remove such a person/family, says the article. Allanamiento (breaking in and living in someone's home) is something different, liable to anything up to four years of prison. The article contrasts the legal situation in France, Germany, the UK and Italy.
'Four years in prison for coercion and aggravated theft for a Pamplona multi-property landlady who left a refugee and her baby on the street after hiring a locksmith to change the locks and furthermore keeping her belongings while the mother was outside. The tenant was up-to-date with her rent says Noticias de Navarra here.
Can Spain bring in restrictions against foreigners buying property (as Unidas Podemos would like to see)? The answer, says 20Minutos, is 'no', although there are several European countries with certain laws against foreign ownership - Malta, Croatia, Finland and Denmark.
From The Telegraph here: 'Ranked and rated: Spain's 20 greatest seaside towns. Our Spain expert reveals her 20 favourite coastal delights, plus a gorgeous place to stay in each'. The photo for Mojácar - for some reason - shows the desert of Tabernas, which is about 65kms away. (Thanks to Jake).
The banks that take the most from the elderly in commissions are revealed here. A short YouTube video on the subject (en castellano) is here.
The municipal elections, together with certain regional ones (where foreigners can't vote) will be held this Sunday May 28th. The regions holding elections are Aragón, Asturias, Illes Balears, Canarias, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, País Valenciá, Extremadura, Comunidad de Madrid, La Rioja, Región de Murcia and Navarra.
El Mundo asks - Why does nobody worry about the normal voter - the average person isn't an indignado, a feminist or an LGTBI says the piece. 'The forgotten vote of ordinary people: "Nobody addresses them anymore, they also vote but nobody knows who they are". The electoral market, focused on conquering ever smaller niches, has ignored the middle-aged citizen who supports the system and finances the promises of others. However, his (or her) vote will once again be decisive'. The silent majority, in short.
In a face-to-face in the Senado on Tuesday last week, as the PP continued with its attack on Pedro Sánchez via the E H Bildu party and ETA (the party has a number of ex-prisoners in its local party-lists), Sánchez made an interesting speech about how the PP likes to raise the spectre of an organisation which disappeared in 2012, which culminates with his reminder that 'the largest act of terrorism in Spain, indeed in Europe, in recent times was the Madrid train bombings just a couple of days before the elections in March 2004' (wiki), where 193 people died. The Government of Aznar claimed it was ETA behind the attack although the true agents were al-Qaeda (Aznar's government had joined with Bush and Blair in the war against Saddam one year earlier).
Vox withdraws its candidacy from Pozuelo de Calatrava, a town in Ciudad Real, after its candidate declared that he didn't know any of the people on the rest of the party-list and most weren't even from his town. He admits he'll be voting for the PP says El País here.
Much on politics this week as we approach voting-day on Sunday. The Junts candidate for Barcelona is a one-time mayor there (2011 - 2015): Xavier Trias. He says (in this city which is impatient with so many visitors) 'If you don't want tourism, then expect to go hungry'. There's an interview with him at elDiario.es here.
From Politico here: 'Nigel Farage, one of the biggest advocates of Britain's departure from the European Union, reckons Brexit has failed. Speaking on the BBC's Newsnight program Monday night, the former Brexit Party leader - one of the most famous figureheads of the Brexit cause - admitted the U.K. had not benefited economically from leaving the bloc.'. From The Guardian here: '.You can watch the clip over and over, for it is something to behold. Here is the arch-Brexiter himself, the man who dedicated his life to the cause of rupture from the EU, admitting it has been a disaster. Of course, as we shall see, he and his fellow Brexiters do not blame that failure on the idea itself, but it's the admission that counts.'
Sometimes we Brits fret over not having the right to dual nationality with Spain. From Levante here: 'Romanian citizens residing in Spain may now have dual nationality without giving up their original nationality. There are 150,000 of them resident in the Valencian Community and more than a million in all of Spain. This has been confirmed by the Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares.'
The weather-app on my cell-phone seems convinced that I'm somewhere in Granada rather than Almería, but we can both agree that the rain is set to stay with us for a while to come. Global Warming has become Global Flooding. El Huff Post says that the DANA, the heavy storms, will continue in much of Spain until the middle of next week. The Olive Press - referring to Monday's rainfall, says that in Almería it rained more in one day than is usually seen in the entire month of May.
One of the ways around the (nearly) fool-proof Spanish voting system is to help a voter decide, along with a modest monetary tip, with his postal vote. That way, none is the wiser and you've just bought yourself a vote. Why? Well, there are advantages once one is in office (and is clever, or at least, is crafty). Thus, Melilla, where the scandal has broken. Says one fellow to Málaga Hoy here - 'I was offered 150? for my vote, and I needed the money'. At least two parties are said to be in the game. In general, the postal vote is around 3%, whereas in Melilla, it's running at over 20%. El Huff Post ups the ante here: 'Vote-buying, assaults on the postmen and street fights: the explosive cocktail that is shaking Melilla before the Sunday elections'. By Tuesday, at least ten people had been arrested over the issue says CadenaSer here.
Not that Melilla is the only place that buys postal-votes. Mojácar (Almería) is well known for this practice, without anything much coming of it hitherto (2011 and 2015). Onda Cero says that seven people have been arrested this time around for postal-vote fraud, two of them being high on the local PSOE list for Sunday. The story is in all the Spanish media (once again, Mojácar is famous for all the wrong reasons).
A scandal under wraps is how elDiario.es describes the situation with the Mayoress of Marbella here. The National Court has the investigation into the alleged corruption under lock and key says the news-site (who, in turn, is being sued by Ángeles Muñoz for their several articles published on the subject).
Leapy Lee is a one-note columnist for the Euro Weekly News (a freebie available in some English-speaking resorts in Spain). He appears to be a Brexiter and only writes about UK politics from what might be described as an old-fashioned viewpoint. The EWN says it doesn't necessarily agree with Leapy's production, but it nevertheless continues to pump it out to its readers. In last week's edition nº 1976, he suggests that in the UK the voting age should be raised to 21, since the young, he claims, lack experience.
He adds ''...So, to all the young voters, who believe the Woke, Maoist propaganda, 'all men are equal, tax the rich and ban the Monarchy' that issues from the left, are the answers to what ails us, I suggest you all think again. I'm not saying it's all going to be plain sailing, but at least with the Right we have a chance...'
And then, on the letters page of The Weenie (print edition only), which rarely fails to post a pro-Leapy letter from a reader, there's this:
'Hi Leapy, Well done for your comments ref the blacks...' (It gets worse).
To say that this kind of stuff would be banned elsewhere is of course superfluous.
'Mama, I've lost my phone, this is my new number.can you send me some money?' and so on. These days, there are so many scams says Maldita. Indeed, from Genbeta, we learn that there are machines that can pump out as many as 120,000 scam messages per hour.
From BroadBand TV News here: 'The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) has shut down Spain's top illegal streaming and torrent service, AtomoHD. According to ACE, AtomoHD was launched in 2020 by a group of individuals, some of whom had prior convictions in Spain for intellectual property infringement and to evade justice, had fled to Andorra.'.
La Voz de Almería takes a kindly view of the farming miracle of the invernaderos, which are the plastic farms gathered principally around El Ejido, Vicar, La Cañada, Nijar and Campohermoso. A film El Receteo Verde has been made (trailer here, full film here) and we read: 'This documentary focuses on analysing the sustainability of the greenhouse network in Almería and the importance of developing biological pest control and creating a network of green infrastructures between the greenhouses to improve biodiversity, thus improving the health of the ecosystem and guaranteeing the survival of the local flora and fauna while ensuring the long-term economic sustainability of the region'.
From Bird Guides here: 'Doñana National Park 'on brink of extinction'. The Doñana National Park in southern Spain is on the verge of extinction due to an array of threats including illegal water irrigation practices. Doñana, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, is home to a great range of plant and animal species, many of which are at risk of extinction. Yet the use of illegally extracted water from the already-overexploited park's aquifers is causing significant damage to this delicate ecosystem.'
From Hojas del Debate here: 'Who rules the roost?' The article pulls no punches about a powerful behind-the-scenes religious group. 'The Opus Dei is a secret organization. Its members must maintain discipline and obedience to the leadership of the sect. The ideology is extreme right. Many of its members hold key positions in the state apparatus and in the most prominent companies and multinationals in the country, as well as in the media.'
Clunia (full name Colonia Clunia Sulpicia) was an ancient Roman city. Its remains are located on Alto de Castro, at more than 1000 metres above sea level, between the villages of Peñalba de Castro and Coruña del Conde, 2 km away from the latter, in the province of Burgos. It was one of the most important Roman cities of the northern half of Hispania and, from the 1st century BC. It was located on the road that led from Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza) to Asturica Augusta (Astorga). The city declined during the 3rd century and was largely abandoned by the Visigothic era. Clunia is a toponym of Arevacian origin.'. Wiki has the info on this largely forgotten Roman city here.
The population of Spain now stands at 41,969,601 Spaniards and a further 6,227,092 extranjeros, says La Vanguardia, giving a total of 48,196,693 souls as of April 1.
'Andalucía concentrates twelve of the fifteen Spanish cities with the highest unemployment and ten of the fifteen neighbourhoods with the lowest income, according to data published this week by the National Statistics Institute (INE)' says Europa Press, adding that La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz) has the highest unemployment in Spain at 29.3% followed by Linares in Jaén at 25.9%. The article also considers the number of foreigners. (standing at 11.7% total in Spain). Torrevieja (40.7%), Fuengirola (37.6%) and Benidorm (29.6%) lead the pack for 'cities'. The INE has a breakdown of nationalities for 2022 here, including Brits: 293,171. Germany: 116,122. France: 115,320. Ireland: 19,491. The Netherlands: 50,278. Romania: 627,478. Russia: 82,380. USA: 41,953 and Canada: 5,385. Chinese citizens are 223,999. The total for EU citizens stands at 1,907,944.
Should we men help around the house? The Guardian here reports that 'Spain hopes a new domestic tasks app will ensure men pull their weight. The free app will be designed to shed light on 'mental load' overwhelmingly carried by women when it comes to chores.' Antena3 also has the story here.
Are the orcas learning to attack yachts? Vista al Mar believes so, says the 'killer whales' aim for the rudder. So far the orcas have managed to sink three of their floating enemies.
Why do the big pop-stars play Barcelona, but not Madrid? El Español gives the answer here as 'better location and more venues'.
From ECD here: 'Tattoo artists begin to have to pass an official course to be able to practice'. I thought all they needed to do was to make sure the customer was drunk. The headline continues: 'Andalucía is the first community that requires professionals to pass specific training. The sector expects it to soon be extended to all of Spain'.
For those who prefer to see Business over Tapas online, the bulletin is also available a day or two late at the Spanish pages EMG here and Distrito7 here. Enjoy.
Some splendid caves for spelunker-fans - once things dry off a bit, at Muy Interesante here, with video.
La Llorona (The weeping woman) is a Mexican folk song. Its origins are not certain, but, around 1941, composer Andres Henestrosa mentioned hearing the song in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. He popularized the song and may have added to the existing verses. This performance on YouTube here by Angela Aguilar.