ARA receives European Newspaper Award in Vienna

In her address, director Esther Vera made a case for solidarity and diversity in the EU

Yesterday ARA director Esther Vera received the European Newspaper Award in the category of regional newspaper. Germany’s Büro für Zeitungsdesign (Office for Newspaper Design —a body that promotes innovation and transformation in the print news industry) has been awarding this prize for seventeen years. In her thank you speech, Vera emphasised ARA’s European spirit. “Nowadays, a newspaper like ours makes more sense than ever. We can see how a part of Europe is gripped by fear due to the economic crisis and the influx of migrants, so people are tempted to raise a wall and return to the obsolete recipes of nationalist bigotry”, Vera stated.

ARA’s director also argued for the daily’s Catalan identity: “Our paper is published in Barcelona and in Catalan; it is by working within this peripheral diversity that we are an expression of Europe’s plurality. It is precisely because we are a small nation —one without the backing of a state’s apparatus— that we are ardent supporters of the European ideal of a concert of nations within a shared framework. A framework that defends the values of democracy and enlightenment, of solidarity and diversity”.

The jury —which included a dozen international journalists and designers— recognised ARA’s “excellence in visual journalism”, highlighting that “many of the stories are not written following the guidelines of traditional reporting, but are a combination of text, photos and infographics”, which —according to the jury— means that ARA’s design is more akin to that of a magazine.

When the jury’s verdict was announced in November, they remarked that ARA’s front pages were “particularly noteworthy” and “powerful”, often revolving around “a single topic” so that they became a “poster that anticipates the content” of that day’s issue. In addition, the president of the Büro für Zeitungsdesign, Norbert Küpper, underscored another distinguishing feature: the special interactive elements in the online edition, which analyse in depth one of the main current events.

At the European Newspaper Congress where the awards are given, today ARA’s deputy director Ignasi Aragay and art director Cristina Córdoba will explain the newspaper’s model in one of the scheduled workshops, with an emphasis on design and visual narrative. Parallel to this, the city also hosts a meeting of directors of European newspapers.

196 participants

This year’s awards had 196 entries from 26 different countries, out of a total 1,800 newspapers currently in print in Europe. This is not the first important design award for ARA. In the past this newspaper had received a total of 12 prizes from the Iberian branch of the Society for News Design in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Furthermore, ARA has also received several Laus awards in the last two years.

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