El Pas

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For other uses, see El Pas (disambiguation).
El Pas
El Pais logo 2007.svg
Sede de El Pas en Madrid.jpg
El Pas headquarters in Madrid
Type Daily newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) PRISA
Founder(s) Jos Ortega Spottorno, Jess de Polanco y Juan Luis Cebrin
Publisher Ediciones El Pas, S.L.
Editor-in-chief Antonio Cao
Associate editor Lluis Bassets
Founded 4 May 1976; 39 years ago (1976-05-04)
Language Spanish
Portuguese (online)[1]
Headquarters Madrid, Spain
Circulation 267,000 (April 2014)
Sister newspapers Cinco Das, Diario AS
ISSN 0213-4608
Website www.elpais.com

El Pas (About this sound listen ; literally The Country) is the highest-circulation daily newspaper in Spain and one of three Madrid dailies considered to be national newspapers of record for Spain (along with El Mundo and ABC).[2] El Pas, based in Madrid, is owned by the Spanish media conglomerate PRISA.

Its headquarters and central editorial staff are located in Madrid, although there are regional offices in the principal Spanish cities (Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Bilbao, Santiago de Compostela) where regional editions are produced. El Pas also produces a world edition that is printed and distributed in Latin America.[3]

History and profile[edit]

El Pas was founded in May 1976[4][5] by a team at PRISA which included Jos Ortega Spottorno and Carlos Mendo.[6] The paper was designed by Reinhard Gade and Julio Alonso. It was first published on 4 May 1976,[7] six months after the death of dictator Francisco Franco, and at the beginning of the Spanish transition to democracy. The first editor-in-chief of the daily was Juan Luis Cebrian.[8]

El Pas was the first pro-democracy newspaper within a context where all the other Spanish newspapers were influenced by Franco's ideology.[9] The circulation of the paper was 116,600 copies in its first year.[10] It rose to 137,562 copies in 1977.[10]

El Pas filled a gap in the market and became the newspaper of Spanish democracy, for which role El Pas was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and the Humanities in 1983, at a time when the transition from Franco's dictatorship to democracy was still developing. The paper's first Director (until 1988) was Juan Luis Cebrin, who came from the daily newspaper Informaciones. Like many other Spanish journalists of the time he had worked for Diario Pueblo (meaning People's Daily in English) which was a mouthpiece for the Francoist sindicato vertical.

Its reputation as a bastion of Spanish democracy was established during the attempted coup d'etat by Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero of the Guardia Civil on 23 February 1981. During the uncertain situation of the night of 23 February 1981, with all the members of parliament held hostage in the Congress building and with tanks on the streets of Valencia, and before the state television station could transmit a speech by King Juan Carlos I condemning the coup, El Pas published a special edition of the newspaper called 'El Pas, for the Constitution'. It was the first daily paper on the streets that night with a clear pro-democracy position calling on citizens to demonstrate in favour of democracy. It was widely discussed in the news media that the then director of El Pas, Juan Luis Cebrin, telephoned the then director of Diario 16, Pedro J. Ramrez, in order to propose that both newspapers work on a joint publication in defence of democracy and Ramrez refused, claiming that he would prefer to wait a few hours to see how the situation developed. Diario 16 was not published until after a television broadcast by the king. Along with its commitment to democracy before the attempted coup of 23 February 1981, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party's election victory in 1982 with an absolute majority and its open support for the government of Felipe Gonzlez,[11] meant that El Pas consolidated its position during the 1980s as the Spanish newspaper with the most sales ahead of the conservative leaning ABC.

In 1986 El Pas was the recipient of the Four Freedom Award for the Freedom of Speech by the Roosevelt Institute.[12]

In 1987 El Pas received the largest amount of the state aid.[13] Both the rigorous journalistic standards and the fact that it was the first Spanish newspaper to establish internal quality control standards have increased the standing of El Pas. It was also the first Spanish daily to create the role of Reader's Advocate (equivalent to the Press Ombudsman in Britain) and in publishing a "Style Guide" that has become a benchmark for quality amongst journalists.[14] El Pas has also established a number of collaborative agreements with other European newspapers with a social democrat viewpoint. In 1989, El Pas participated in the creation of a common network of information resources with La Repubblica in Italy and Le Monde in France.

At the beginning of the 1990s, El Pas had to face a new political and journalistic challenge. The increasing political tensions caused by corruption scandals involving the socialist government of Felipe Gonzlez polarized both the Spanish political classes and the press of the left and right wings. Since that time both the Partido Popular and the media aligned with it have accused El Pas and the other companies owned by PRISA.[15][16] along with Sogecable[17][18] of supporting the interests of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE). Despite this, El Pas has managed to maintain its position as the best selling generalist daily in Spain, although its lead over El Mundo has been reduced. Both in 1993 and 1994 it was the best selling newspaper in the country with a circulation of 401,258 copies and 408,267 copies, respectively.[19] In the period of 19951996 El Pais had a circulation of 420,934 copies, making it again the best-selling paper in the country.[20]

Since October 2001, an English language supplement of El Pas has been included in the Spanish version of the International Herald Tribune. This content can also be found on El Pas' internet site http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html.

In 2001 El Pas had a circulation of 433,617 copies[21] and it was 435,298 copies next year.[22] The paper had a circulation of 435,000 copies in 2003.[23]

El Pas was awarded the Worlds Best Designed Newspaper for 2006 by the Society for News Design (SND).[24] Based on the findings of the European Business Readership Survey the paper had 14,589 readers per issue in 2006.[25] The circulation of the daily was 425,927 copies between June 2006 and July 2007.[26]

On 26 September 2007, the paper published the Bush-Aznar memo, a leaked transcript of a closed-door meeting between U.S. president George W. Bush and Spanish Prime Minister Jos Mara Aznar, shortly before the invasion of Iraq.[27] In 2007 the circulation of El Pas was about 400,000 copies.[28]

During the premiership of the PSOE's Jos Luis Rodrguez Zapatero El Pas published several articles criticising or opposing the policies of the Zapatero government.[citation needed] This provided opportunities for new entrants to represent the centre left, such as the appearance of the daily newspaper Pblico.

The 2008 circulation of El Pas was 435,083 copies, making it the most read daily in the country.[29] It was 267,000 in April 2014.[28]


El Pas has had five directors since it was founded in 1976. In February 2014 it was announced that Antonio Cao would be proposed as new director, appointment that was ratified by the Board of Directors and became effective on May 3 of 2014.

Years Director
19761988 Juan Luis Cebrin
19881993 Joaqun Estefana
19932006 Jess Ceberio
20062014 Javier Moreno
2014 Antonio Cao


The appearance of El Pas is characterized by its sobriety, in both its treatment of information and its esthetics. Most pages contain five columns arranged in a neat and clear manner with distinct journalistic sub-categories. Photographs and graphics play a secondary, supporting role to the written word. The newspaper has had the same design from its foundation until the end of 2007, with hardly any changes (it used only black-and-white photographs, although the current format includes colour and more imaginative design, mainly in the varied supplements), and the same Times Roman font.[30]

The newspaper's format was revamped on 21 October 2007 with changes to its printed form, its digital presence on the Internet and the replacement of its historical motto 'Independent morning daily' with 'Global Spanish language newspaper'.[31] The paper began to be published in tabloid format.[32] Other notable changes are the inclusion of the acute accent in its title header and the substitution of Times Roman by Majerit.

Opinion polls cited in El Pas are all carried out by a separate company called Instituto OPINA.

Electronic edition[edit]

In the mid-1990s, El Pas was the second Spanish newspaper to publish an internet edition, El Pas digital (the first was the Catalan newspaper Avui). On 18 November 2002, it became the first Spanish newspaper to introduce a payment system for access to the contents of its electronic version, which drastically reduced the number of visits to the website, to the extent that El Mundo, which maintained open access to the majority of its contents, became the leading Spanish digital newspaper. After taking this decision El Pas digital was suspended in 2002 by the Oficina de Justificacin de la Difusin for four months because of two serious breaches of OJD regulations.[33] The El Pas digital website opened again on 3 June 2005 with free access to the majority of the contents. Subscription was required to gain access to multimedia contents and to the newspaper's archive.

In October 2014, El Pais launched a digital edition in Catalan.[34]


El Pas produces a number of supplements:

  • Wednesdays:
    • Futuro, (English: Future) supplement on science.
  • Thursdays:
  • Fridays:
    • EP[3], previously known as El Pas de las Tentaciones, (English: The Country of Temptations) youth supplement.
    • Ocio, (English: Leisure) supplement on cultural activities.
  • Saturdays:
    • Babelia', cultural supplement specializing in literature and
    • El Viajero, (English: The Traveller) on travel.
  • Sundays:
    • the magazine El Pas Semanal (English: El Pas Weekly) previously called EP[S] on fashion, reports and opinion,
    • Negocios, (English: Business) financial supplement.

The supplement designed for children, Pequeo Pas (English: Small Country), ceased publication in 2009.

A number of publications issued in installments have also been produced throughout its history:

  • Classic and Modern Comics (1987).


The paper's ideology has always been defined by a leaning towards Europeanism. Politically, it was situated in the centre-left[10] in the past, but currently it is situated in conservative positions.[36]

In the late 1970s and 1980s El Pas had close connections with the Partido Socialista Obrero Espaol (PSOE).[11] The paper has repeatedly supported King Juan Carlos I for his contribution to the consolidation of democracy, especially, for his decisive intervention in aborting the coup of 23 February 1981.[37] The paper is characterized by the amount of space it gives to the reporting of international news, culture and information regarding the economy, as well as Spanish news. It has specific columnists and contributors from different social backgrounds contributing to the democratic and pro-European editorial line of the newspaper.

Criticism of Che Guevara, the "populist left" and the Government of Venezuela[edit]

The paper has criticized figures such as Che Guevara and his idea of armed struggle.[38]

More recently, it has also shown its clear opposition to the popular leftist movement in Spain called "Podemos".

El Pas has also been critical of the so-called "populist left" in Latin America. In April 2002, it termed the failed coup in Venezuela as a "coup against a tyrant", accusing Hugo Chvez of authoritarianism and of eliminating the separation of powers.[39] The paper criticized Chvez again regarding the Venezuelan constitutional referendum of 2007, accusing him of holding the referendum without the least "minimal guarantees", of restricting the actions of the National Electoral Council, and of tampering with the electoral roll.[40] The Venezuelan government, through the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information, considers El Pas to be one of the Spanish newspapers most critical of the left-wing governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia.[41]

On 24 January 2013, El Pas published a false report about the health status of then Venezuelan President Hugo Chvez, with false photography of an unknown man from a 2008 video.[42][43] The Venezuelan government announced legal action against El Pas,[44] and criticized both the violation of journalistic ethics as well as the violation of the patients' rights of President Chvez and others.


The 16 February 2012 edition of El Pas was banned in Morocco due to the publication of a cartoon which, according to the Moroccan authorities, tarnished King Mohammed VI's name.[45]

Notable contributors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keila Guimares (26 November 2013). "El Pas lana edio digital no Brasil". 
  2. ^ "Spain: Media and publishing". Encyclopdia Britannica. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  3. ^ ttulo=ELPAIS.com Diario El Pas S.L, El Pais.
  4. ^ Richard Gunther; Jose Ramon Montero; Jose Ignacio Wert (2000). "The media and politics in Spain". In Richard Gunther; Anthony Mughan. Democracy and the Media: A Comparative Perspective. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Alan Albarran (10 September 2009). Handbook of Spanish Language Media. Routledge. p. 20. ISBN 978-1-135-85430-0. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  6. ^ "Bis'El Pas' Co-founder Mendo Dead at 77". Editor & Publisher. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2010. [dead link]
  7. ^ Breve historia de El Pas, El Pais.
  8. ^ Francisco J. PrezLatre; Alfonso SnchezTabernero (2003). "Leadership, an essential requirement for effecting change in media companies: An analysis of the Spanish market". International Journal on Media Management 5 (3). doi:10.1080/14241270309390035. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Nuria Almiron; Ana I. Segovia (2012). "Financialization, Economic Crisis, and Corporate Strategies in Top Media Companies: The Case of Grupo Prisa" 6. pp. 28942917. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c Katrin Voltmer (2006). Mass Media and Political Communication in New Democracies. Psychology Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-415-33779-3. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Frank R. Baumgartner; Laura Chaqus Bonafont (2014). "All News is Bad News: Newspaper Coverage of Political Parties in Spain" (PDF). Political Communication. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Four freedoms awards Roosevelt Institute. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  13. ^ Rosario de Mateo (1989). "The evaolution of the newspaper industry in Spain, 1939-87" (PDF). European Journal of Communication 4. Retrieved 17 April 2015. 
  14. ^ For which role El Pas was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Communication and the Humanities in 1973[dead link]
  15. ^ Eva Cuesta, el penltimo fichaje del PSOE en PRISA. Artculo de Periodista Digital (24 January 2007).
  16. ^ Prisa y PSOE se apoyan mutuamente para seguir en el poder: dinero y publicidad a mantas[dead link]. Artculo de Por Andaluca Libre mencionando declaraciones de El Mundo 7 February 2007.
  17. ^ "Sogecable responde a la llamada del PSOE y pide al Gobierno que Canal+ emita siempre en abierto", Artculo de Libertad Digital, ya solo consultable en TodoInternet.com.
  18. ^ "CC y PSOE prorrogan a Sogecable el contrato de la Televisin Canaria y el PP anuncia que lo impugnar". Libertad Digital 9 May 2007
  19. ^ "Facts of Spain". Florida International University. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  20. ^ Media Policy: Convergence, Concentration & Commerce. SAGE Publications. 24 September 1998. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-4462-6524-6. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  21. ^ Jagdeep S. Chhokar; Felix C. Brodbeck; Robert J. House (17 June 2013). Culture and Leadership Across the World: The GLOBE Book of In-Depth Studies of 25 Societies. Routledge. p. 644. ISBN 978-1-135-70380-6. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  22. ^ David Ward (2004). "A Mapping Study of Media Concentration and Ownership in Ten European Countries" (PDF). Dutch Media Authority. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  23. ^ Roland Schroeder (2004). "Interactive Info Graphics in Europe-- added value to online mass media: a preliminary survey". Journalism Studies 5 (4). doi:10.1080/14616700412331296473. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  24. ^ "Worlds Best-Designed winners (2006)". Society for News Design. Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Craig Carroll (1 September 2010). Corporate Reputation and the News Media: Agenda-setting Within Business News Coverage in Developed, Emerging, and Frontier Markets. Routledge. p. 177. ISBN 978-1-135-25244-1. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  26. ^ Andrea Czepek; Melanie Hellwig; Eva Nowak (2009). Press Freedom and Pluralism in Europe: Concepts and Conditions. Intellect Books. p. 279. ISBN 978-1-84150-243-4. Retrieved 12 December 2014. 
  27. ^ "El Pas on Bush, Aznar, and Iraq". Harper's Magazine. September 2007.
  28. ^ a b Anne Penketh; Philip Oltermann; Stephen Burgen (12 June 2014). "European newspapers search for ways to survive digital revolution". The Guardian (Paris, Berlin, Barcelona). Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  29. ^ Alan Albarran (10 September 2009). Handbook of Spanish Language Media. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-135-85430-0. Retrieved 29 October 2014. 
  30. ^ Unos buenos tipos. El Pas 14 October 2007.
  31. ^ "El Pas ser el peridico global en espaol", El Pas (9 October 2007)
  32. ^ Jess del-Olmo-Barbero; Sonia Parratt-Fernndez (2011). "Typography and colour: A comparative analysis of the free and paid-for newspapers in Spain". Revista Latina de Comunicacion Social (66). Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  33. ^ La OJD sanciona con cuatro meses de expulsin a El Pas Digital por faltas graves. ABC. 24 July 2002.
  34. ^ EL PAS launches digital edition published in Catalan language, El Pais, 6 October 2014
  35. ^ "El Pais to launch new men's magazine Icon". Publicitas. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  36. ^ In the words of the former Spanish Economy Minister for the Partido Popular Rodrigo Rato and Chairman of the International Monetary Fund (Adictos al peridico. Especial 10.000 nmeros. 18 October 2004):

    All (good) newspapers have their political leanings. [...] I read it because it describes the position of the centre-left and of the political left-wing.

  37. ^ Injurias a la Corona. Editorial de El Pas (28 July 2007).
  38. ^ Caudillo Guevara, editorial de El Pas, 10 October 2007.

    ... Che Guevara [..] belonged to that sinister saga of tragic heroes, still present in the terrorist movements of various types, from the nationalists to the Jihadists, who try to hide the fact they are assassins by claiming to be martyrs, prolonging the old prejudice inherited from Romanticism. The fact that Che Guevara gave his life and sacrificed those of many others does not improve his ideas, that drink from the springs of one of the great totalitarian systems. [..] the only attestable contribution of the insurgent followers of Guevara to Latin American politics was to offer new alibis to the authoritarian tendencies that were germinating on the continent. Thanks to his armed challenge, the right-wing military dictators could present themselves as a lesser evil, if not a inevitable requisite opposing another symmetrical military dictatorship, such as that lead by Castro [..] In the four decades that have passed since his death, the Latin American left and, of course, that in Europe, has completely expedited his goals and fanatical methods. To the point where today the only people who commemorate the date of his execution in La Higuera are the governments that subjugate the Cubans or those that invoke Simn Bolvar in their populist harangues.

  39. ^ Golpe a un caudillo (editorial sobre el golpe de Estado en Venezuela contra Hugo Chvez) El Pais. 13 April 2002.
  40. ^ La careta de Chvez, editorial de El Pas, 18 November 2007.
  41. ^ La guerra meditica contra Venezuela desde el diario espaol El Pas
  42. ^ EL PAS retira una falsa foto de Hugo Chvez | Internacional|El Pais 24 January 2013.
  43. ^ Spanish Paper El Pas Makes a Fool of Itself | venezuelanalysis.com
  44. ^ Venezuela to take legal actions against El Pais | AVN
  45. ^ "Morocco bans Spanish paper over royal cartoon". Doha Center for Media Freedom. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  46. ^ "El dibujante chileno Fernando Krahn muere en Barcelona", El Peridico (in Spanish), 18 February 2010 

Further reading[edit]

  • Merrill, John C. and Harold A. Fisher. The world's great dailies: profiles of fifty newspapers (1980) pp 238-41

External links[edit]