Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spanish newspapers

When I say Spanish newspapers I really mean El Pais.

Apart from the local rag, El Canfali, published every Friday and obviously written by a journalist who believes there's always a longer and worse word I can only comment on El Pais because it's the only paper I buy.

It's compact, not a broadsheet, and the headlines never dominate the front page. The rather blurred picture of the front page reproduced here is pretty typical. By UK standards it lacks photos and there are several pages of editorial comment and featured writers with no photos at all though they usually put in a political cartoon to break up close spaced text. The standard of photos is high especially on the Sports pages which take up quite a lot of space. The only sport that competes with football (i.e. with Barcelona and Real Madrid) for top billing is Formula 1. Alonso seems to be a bit of a hero.

Articles have a bold first paragraph to encapsualte the main point of the story as they do in the UK but the paragraphs are not quite so punchy and it doesn't seem to be a rule that the verbs have to be active as they nearly always are in the UK. Although my language skills are obviously a bit weak to comment on the literary style the articles seem to be generally well written. Strangely though Spanish newspapers seem to have a tendency to use words that may not be so common in everyday speech. I seem to remember that UK newspapers were good at using common everyday words whereas the Spanish equivalents is to use words that are "only" used by newspapers. Difficult again to translate but in loose translation people fail rather than die and accidents become disasters.

Quite a strange thing by UK standards is that, as a national newspaper, El Pais has a section dedicated to Valencian news. Spain is divided into Autonomies, or Regions, which in turn are generally subdivided into provinces. So we are in the Valencian region in the province of Alicante. We get the Valencian edition of the paper. I presume there's an Andalucian one, a Catalan one, a Basque one etc. This means it acts as a local paper so I can use it to check what's on the local TV or at the nearby cinemas.

The only reason I thought to comment was that one of today's articles roughly translates as "Blair's swansong" and it's about selling peerages, sleaze and Gordon. I find it quite odd how much UK news there is in the Spanish media in general. They must be interested in us as a nation.

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