AS the Olive Press approaches its 15th anniversary it’s a good time to take stock of what we have experienced down the years.
But even more important is to take the lessons we have learned as Spain’s only English language investigative newspaper and apply them for the next 15 years.
Back in 2006 when a small but dedicated band launched the very first issues out of Ronda we couldn’t have dreamed how much we would expand in the coming years.
A move to our head office in Sabinillas – near Estepona – proved to be a key move and within a few short years we went from covering all of Andalucia to launching editions in Gibraltar, Mallorca and the Costa Blanca North and South.
But perhaps the biggest change has been the rise of the internet as the medium through which we can reach a hugely expanded audience.
We have striven to provide engaging, well researched and original content, with regularly over 20 stories and features a day.
This has involved a heavy investment in the most important factor for any news organisation – the staff.
Our dozens of fully-trained, NCTJ-qualified reporters have uncovered hundreds of exclusives which would make many a ‘bigger’ media group proud of.
It helps that many of our team have worked at UK national newspapers, including Dilip Kuner at the Sunday Mirror, Kirsty McKenzie at The Daily Record and Jon Clarke at the Mail on Sunday, while our Costa Blanca reporter Alex Trelinski worked for many years at the BBC.
This highly experienced group of journalists help to bring our young trainees through, showing them how to develop stories and how to find and develop the many entertaining features that go into the Olive Press.
And it takes a lot of resources.
Historically our business model relied mostly on advertising, allowing our papers and website to be freely accessed at all times.
But one thing the coronavirus crisis has taught us is that to rely on advertising alone is too slender a reed to hang our entire business on.
While confident that businesses in Spain will bounce back from the present crisis as they have in the past, our thoughts have turned on how to guarantee our next 15 years as Spain’s leading English news outlet.
Sure, we could go down the easy route and just translate what is in the Spanish news. That is cheap and easy to do, but offers no value to the reader.
We prefer to employ real journalists and writers to look behind the headlines and come up with original content.
This is why from this week the Olive Press is following in the footsteps of The Times, Telegraph and New York Times and respected Spanish dailies such as El Mundo, El Pais and Diario Sur to introduce a pay wall.
And it is extremely positive news. For by charging just €5.99 a month (or €50 a year) we can dramatically increase investment in more professional journalists and writers to provide a news service that upgrades to an even better unparalleled news service.
Less adverts and pop ups
Best of all, anyone joining will find the service so much easier and cleaner to use, with only one advert allowed per story and a much simpler, faster loading time.
Yes, those subscribing will see a 90% drop in pop ups and adverts being served up every time you want to check up on your favourite English news site in Spain.
And a fringe benefit is that our print editions will all remain free, just as they always have been.
We are sure that our loyal readers will continue to support us. After all, when we asked for donations to help us provide news during the lockdown nearly 1000 of them rallied to the cause.
And we in turn have not forgotten these generous and loyal readers. Anyone who donated €25 or more will get a free subscription for a year, while anyone who gave €5, €10 or €20 will get the first two months free.
We thank them and look forward to welcoming aboard many new subscribers in the coming years as we strive to maintain our position as Spain’s premier English language news site.
You can subscribe here and start receiving our great new features.
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