11 Feb, 2010 @ 13:59
2 mins read

It’s all about quality, silly

‘LIES, damn lies and statistics’, as Mark Twain once said.

And the sad, tawdry truth about English publishing in Spain is there are more hatchet men and charlatans out there than in the timeshare business.

Massaging the numbers has become a team sport over the last few years, and what you read is anything but what you get.

Indeed, since putting our printing bill in the paper last issue we have been inundated with emails and calls confirming our beliefs: Everyone, it seems, is up to it.

So unpopular has grown one free paper over recent years that its distributors joke about it being “pick up day” when the paper goes out each week, because there are so many left from the previous issue.

It is not just a few thousand extra copies here and a few thousand extra there, we have discovered that one well known magazine is printing just a third – yes, a THIRD – of what it claims, while one ‘leading’ paper has recently halved its distribution in the Guadalhorce Valley, naturally without a mention to its readers or, more importantly, advertisers.

So unpopular has grown one free paper over recent years that its distributors joke about it being “pick up day” when the paper goes out each week, because there are so many left from the previous issue.

Not so at the Olive Press, where our returns number less than 0.5 per cent.

Heavily oversubscribed, we get calls and emails daily asking us for more papers and new distribution points.
It is hard to keep up with the demand, and the reason why is quite simple.

The Olive Press is the only paper in Spain that has a team of trained journalists.

We don’t look for ‘translators’, masquerading as reporters, to steal stories from the mainstream Spanish press.

We don’t turn out turgid copy with hackneyed boring headlines to send even the local vicar to sleep.

Our team of former Fleet Street hacks, BBC reporters and magazine freelancers make the news and set the agenda!

Classic gumshoe reporting sees the Olive Press breaking the news and reporting on things that matter for the millions of expatriates who have chosen to base themselves in southern Spain.

Producing a fortnightly diet of incisive news reporting, well-crafted features and in-depth specials puts us miles above the opposition.

It’s up, up and away indeed, with the prestigious Rough Guide to Andalucia recently describing us as “southern Spain’s best English newspaper”.

Our success has been reflected in an increase in advertising revenues. Indeed, despite the recession, which saw advertising revenues fall 25 per cent in Spain last year, we have seen an increase in turnover of nearly 50 per cent in 2009.

January has not only been twice as good as last year, but it has also been our best month in four years on the internet, achieving record viewing figures of nearly 50,000 visits.

To celebrate our growth we are printing an extra 1,000 papers for Marbella this issue, taking our total each fortnight to 13,500 copies.

The Olive Press is aiming to support a much-maligned town that is finally starting to reinvent itself after two decades of criminal leadership.

The heart of Spain’s tourist industry, we don’t doubt that with careful planning Marbella can see greatness again.

This week the Olive Press also introduces a new health, beauty and wellness section Top Salud!

In it, our team of reporters will be looking to snuffle out the most interesting, useful and pertinent stories from around the region, as well as help to promote local businesses.

We are also introducing a brand new property section, Back on the Market, to celebrate the fact that the property market is finally moving again.

A superb vehicle for advertisers to start to look for clients again, we hope you will join us, particularly with our six ads for the price of four deal available right through to Easter.

And don’t forget later in the Spring the Olive Press will be bringing out its third Green Guide, the Guia Verde 2010, which will be bigger and brighter than ever before.

There is so much going on at the Olive Press. Join our success story and make sure you don’t get blown down the street with all the other boring free papers!

Jon Clarke,
Editor and publisher

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es


  1. Ummm, is this really news? I mean, self-propaganda is sooooooooo humble! I believe you are correct about not getting translators to steal spanish articles: but bable-fish is not a very good substitute, is it? If you were to put in original articles, maybe we could belive you really have a “team of former Fleet Street hacks, BBC reporters and magazine freelancers” but the fact you seem to pick up news that is usually 1-2 weeks old (unless sent to you from your weirdy-beardy friends in the Mountains) makes one believe that meybe you DO scan the local press for your news. You paper isn’t that good for you to get all “worthier than thou” about it.

  2. But, it’s a paper that treats the readers with some respect, supposes that they like Spain and are curious to know more about this country, including not only the news. There is a nod towards culture, geography, history, society, food, travel, politics, tradition and many other things to discuss and learn – better than racist and exile tripe from the ‘other lot’.

  3. Well said Lenox,

    And there is a suspicion that the above comment from ‘er_guiri’ might have come from one of the “other lot” on the coast. Just a suspicion mind.

    And what’s more, news that is one or two weeks old doesn’t matter a jot, because, as the Fleet Street adage goes “it’s not old if it’s not been told”

  4. I am very happy with this newspaper, since here is the only place where I read stories that I only hear in talks from the people but never are in the local spanish newspapers. Since they mostly are to “well” connected……

  5. I really enjoy your paper and having worked for one of the others, like to think I know a little bit about what I’m talking about. An elderly friend of mine recently had some experience at talking to one of your reporters and felt she was treated wonderfully and with complete respect. Thanks for a great paper and a great attitude.

  6. I like the fresh approach of the paper, even though it’s hard to get hold of a times. In fact, it’s the only English paper I read.
    However Jon, I don’t see anything wrong with summarising or translating a Spanish article into English as long as it is correctly sourced. When I use quotes from other sources, I either cite them in my Blog posts and/or ping them so that the original authors know their comments are being used.
    Top marks for the Website too, which I have to make do with when the printed version is in short supply. That has the advantage of enjoying other readers’ opinions.
    All the best for the future!

  7. I heartily agree with Jon about the true identity of ‘el guiri’…the fact that he/she can’t spell or punctuate rather gives the game away too…..seen it all before!! Keep up the good work, Jon. You produce a very high-quality publication.

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