Turning an intangible newspaper to a tangible one

Going from an almost artisan model to one in which most tasks are completed electronically for the production of the newspapers, has been one of the most exciting experiences in my half century career.

In this new journalism ecosystem, already accustomed to a combined print-digital redaction model, the priorities of this job required a gradual sense of pendulum so that the paper wold maintain serious focus in terms of deep content, analysis, chronicles and reports, which are journalistic genres of occasional use.

With these efforts, we focused on our reinvention strategies toward the digital priority, envisioning a future already defined by the trends of the new generations of users who are straight up replacing the printed edition with the digital one.

What had never crossed my mind was that a printed newspaper could be made from a practically empty newsroom due to the urgent confinement of all staff, as a precautionary measure in the face of the arrival of the current pandemic.

This unexpected situation of emergency suddenly put us under a novel and challenging scheme: teleworking with barely any employee doing a reporting job in the streets.

Without digital technology, which was an intrinsic part of our modus operandis at the reinvention stage, we wouldn’t have experienced the unique challenge of producing the paper as if we still were physically present in the editorial office.

The secret was to turn our homes into “mini-newsrooms” and from here, connected through teleconference networks, we distributed the tasks, while relying on a minimal amount of street coverage, with employees being dispatched on rotary waves.

With this, we realized that, in real terms, we’re now dedicating more hours than normal to work and that this process becomes more inclusive, because nobody, regardless of hierarchy, is exempt from pushing the cart. More looks at each of the preparation phases helped us forge a better consensual strategy for our content.

And up to two new digital editions of our traditional newspaper were inaugurated at this stage: ‘Sunday readings’ and ‘Extra’, which consist of investigative reports that prepare us early for a fully digital future, no matter if under regular conditions or remotely, as we’ve seen ourselves forced to, and that’s this pandemic’s bright side for us.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.