Miguel Mora is one of the thousands of Spanish journalists that have lost their job since the economic crisis began (there is a current 51% unemployment rate of Spanish journalists). What makes his story different is that he confronted this setting up a new online news portal and offering to the public alternative forms of storytelling.
He had been for decades one of the classical correspondents for the leading daily newspaper El País. He worked first from Portugal, later from Italy and from France during the last period.
However, El País told him in 2014 that he had to leave the press office in Paris a year before it was stated in his contract. He did not reach an agreement with the newspaper and eventually he left and started a new and brave online adventure.
In the presentation The leap from mainstream media to digital start-up: the case of ctxt.es Miguel Mora exposed his new project, ctxt.es, and explained the idea behind it.
The web title comes with the subheading “contexto y acción” (context and action). “Context because journalists’ duty is not just to give news to the audience but to provide them with the context,” said Mora. “Action because we believe that, in the current European environment, journalists should become citizens again.”
The main advantage that the journalist finds in working for a small webpage instead than for a mainstream newspaper is “simply the freedom is gives to you.
He spoke about the torture that means for correspondents the pressure that newspapers put on them “to write news in five minutes, to be the first one to publish them.” On the contrary, he explained that in ctxt.es “we are not interested in sending just a couple of lines for a scoop.”
In fact, this high quality, relaxed and in-depth journalism is the magazine’s sign of identity. “We are not a website for a large number of basis, we are targeting readers who take their time during the weekend reading long articles”.
Nevertheless, being an independent media implies many difficulties; the first of them is finding a sustainable funding model.
Miguel Mora told that the magazine was set up by ten friends, coming from European recognised titles such as El País, El Mundo and La Repubblica, who were “escaping from the main media landscape”.
They initially funded the magazine with a crowdfunding and the solidarity of many known journalists who wrote for them for free. Then, they introduced in their web the offer of paid journalistic courses with Video training and online-classes by experienced reporters.
Now they are looking for sponsors, but not at any price. “Aggressive banners destroy a site”, Mora said. Indeed, Ctxt.es design is very simple and minimalist, “we don’t want to contribute to the existing chaos in the media”.
They don’t abuse of attracting headings or shocking images either: “We do not want to mislead people, we want people to read articles”.
The journalist and co-founder of the news site calculated that maintaining this magazine would cost about 135,000 euros per year (plus salaries). This is, in his opinion, an affordable amount to get via subscriptions.
“There isn’t any similar initiative in Spain”, Miguel Mora said. “To support now an independent magazine like this shouldn’t be so difficult.”
Finally he declared: “We have to defend the freedom of press”.