At 7:30 last Sunday afternoon, there was only half an hour left before the polling stations closed. The EL PAÍS newsroom was fully operational while a very special visit awaited. The newspaper opened its doors to a group of subscribers to learn how to cover the municipal and regional elections. “Since I was little, I read EL PAÍS,” said Rodrigo, 16, who came to the newsroom accompanied by his father to test election night. This initiative is part of the exclusive activity program of EL PAÍS +.
Pedro Zuazoa, Communications Director of EL PAÍS, welcomed them and explained how the newspaper is organized: “A newspaper is a point of view shared by thousands of people.” Visitors were amazed when the clock struck 8 am, silence fell in the editing room and everyone crowded in front of the multiple screens, waiting for the first results of the polls to be published.
From that moment on, the various specialists who were working on the coverage explained to readers what their jobs were on such an information-intensive night. Mohie Atyar, the editor-in-chief of photography, showed them the system they work in the department, which aroused a lot of interest. How many photos are discarded per day? , “Is it all from your paparazzi?” How do you choose your cover photo today?
The subscribers went to the room where the front page of the newspaper was scheduled each day and where they were able to follow the live program of EL PAÍS as they learned the results in real time. Claudie Pérez, deputy director of the newspaper and former Brussels correspondent for the newspaper, compared election nights in Spain to those in Belgium and revealed that “when the number of votes reaches 15% the headlines start to be updated on the Internet”. They also have the certification of Pablo Ordaz, from Country Weekwho was helping election night get the print paper out. The journalist explained that in elections, the first closing is postponed at 12:00 am, “when there is already final data,” while it would normally be 10:00 pm.
The tension in the newsroom increased as the audit progressed and Quino Petit went into the room to welcome subscribers “for a special evening at the paper”. The editor of the national section put the visitors in context and made a ray of what this election entailed: the issues that characterized the campaign, what the poll results were and the importance of the conversations. between the political forces after the elections. One participant asked, “Are the independent communities voting on the basis of universal suffrage?” “Caution is very important. Today’s picture could change a lot six months from now,” replied Pettitt, without thinking that Pedro Sanchez would bring forward the general election just one day later.
“But she was on TV awhile ago!” A subscriber screamed as Carlos y Cuy ran across the room after appearing live on EL PAÍS Vídeo. The journalist compared the results that were taking place with previous elections such as those of 2007, 2011 or 2019. In addition, he explained how vote counting works in elections and how well the system works in Spain: “We are among the fastest in the world to audit, in Italy or England the system is slower “.
“The night has just begun,” Borja Andreño, data journalist for EL PAÍS, joked as he arrived in the room. It was nearly ten o’clock. Andreno showed subscribers what the process looks like from the moment a file of data arrives until it is shared on the newspaper’s website. Special maps that reveal what is being voted on in every polling station or on every street were the most interesting maps for readers and they asked the journalist about. Andreno replied, “We’ll post it at three or four in the morning, and that’s what people are looking for the most.”
EL PAÍS President Carlos Núñez and EL PAÍS Director Pepa Bueno also spoke with subscribers. Núñez shared with readers how the newspaper subscription scheme grew and how the model spread across Spain.
The director explained how they had worked to cover the entire election campaign and especially that related to election night, and explained in detail when he would start determining the contents of the hard copy. “Nowadays a journalist no longer just does an article, he writes for the newspaper, tells how he gets to that information on the podcast and then steps in to the live programme,” Bueno said regarding the change in the way he writes in his years. from the track. The director also thanked the newspaper’s team for the unprecedented coverage, which began at eight o’clock in the morning and ended at dawn: “The secret of this journalism’s work is to get the best.”
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