Blog Post

Pioneering Spanish News Site Bites The Dust

It’s not just the UK or the U.S. where news sites and blogs start-ups struggle to steal market share from mainstream print-subsidized newspaper websites. Gumersindo Lafuente, founder of 22-month-old Spanish news site told readers in a statement on Tuesday titled “Hasta la vista y gracias” that the periódico digital is closing. The announcement comes less than a month after was recognized by the Online News Association for general excellence, non-English large site; the year before it won the same category as a small site.

“We wanted to tell stories differently, using fully the opportunities of the Web,” writes Lafuente. “We believed (and… perhaps today more than ever) that the value of journalists in this new technological scenario remains, but [they] must radically change its way of working.” He bitterly recounts the project’s birth and how it has struggled despite technological innovations — he says a “a good handful of advertisers” saw the value of the site’s community of readers although in recent months it proved more difficult to convince them.

The site boasted half a million unique users and, through a series of third-hosted widgets, two million monthly UUs. Audience wasn’t the problem: advertising with a new, misunderstood model was, according to Lafuente. He tells “We created new tools for the new scenarios of journalism. It was essential for the project, but also meant [it was] more difficult and costly. In the long term [it] gives you competitive advantage, but in a moment of crisis [it] hurts you.”

To console readers (and the now redundant periodistas) Soitu is organising a public memorial for the site on Wednesday in Madrid at 18:00.