Javier Godó: "The spirit of the newspaper has been our north"

Full speech by Javier Godó, Count of Godó, editor-in-chief of La Vanguardia:.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
17 September 2023 Sunday 23:01
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Javier Godó: "The spirit of the newspaper has been our north"

Full speech by Javier Godó, Count of Godó, editor-in-chief of La Vanguardia:

Majesties, distinguished authorities, ladies and gentlemen.

Allow me to welcome you to this event, which we would have liked to celebrate on the 140th anniversary of La Vanguardia. We could not carry it out due to the covid pandemic. And it seemed to us that now it made perfect sense to commemorate not so much a specific year, but rather to underline the independence, rigor and seriousness that has characterized the head founded by my great-grandfathers Carlos and Bartolomé Godó over three centuries.

Tonight we will also award some prizes that we will hand out annually. Awards that distinguish not only professional or business success, but also effort and a job well done.

Today, then, we celebrate our history, but also, in this first edition of our awards, the people and companies that contribute to making our world better, more sustainable and fairer. Likewise, we have created some very special awards in memory of Juan Antonio Samaranch and Josep Piqué, who did so much for this city and the country. My personal congratulations go to all of them.

That small newspaper that was printed for the first time on February 1, 1881 bears little formal resemblance to what we are today: a means of communication with a paper edition, a digital edition, and a website that is updated instantly.

We are a look from Barcelona to the world. La Vanguardia has witnessed great events. It was born in the stimulating climate of modernism and opened its pages to the most relevant writers.

Through its pages, we attend Picasso's first exhibition or the first soccer match. To two world wars that devastated Europe. To a terrible Civil War that would mark our history. To the launching of two atomic bombs. To the fall of the Berlin Wall. To the birth of television, the internet, mobile phones and, lately, the appearance of artificial intelligence.

We are experiencing moments of radical change as a result of scientific and technological advances, which have radically modified our lives. We are witnessing a true social revolution, like at no other time in human history. Transformations that affect our way of working, living together and knowing reality. This is an authentic revolution of knowledge and communication.

But beyond so many changes there is something that we have managed to maintain over time: the spirit of La Vanguardia, the soul of the newspaper, which has been our north in the face of the unstoppable train of progress.

When more than half a century ago I started working at La Vanguardia, beyond the advice my father Carlos gave me, I found Horacio Sáenz Guerrero as director. Horacio gave me a passion for journalism, while he discovered the job of editor, which goes beyond being an owner.

The editor is the one who accompanies, encourages and supports good journalism. He is the one who tries to ensure that the newspaper does not lose its centrality. He is the one who ensures that the media is faithful to its commitment to readers. Generation after generation, we have managed to preserve a modern vision of the world, the liberal spirit and the vocation to serve society.

But in recent years we have had to put all our effort into innovating, incorporating the most advanced technology to respond to the profound changes that have occurred in the world of communication.

If something defines us, it is the apt name of the newspaper: La Vanguardia, which forces us to stay ahead of the times.

Your Majesties, friends. We turned 142 years old; Of these, some from the 19th century, all of them from the 20th and those we have from the 21st, since 1881 the newspaper has been in the hands of the same family. There are already four generations and those to come.

But also throughout this time it has belonged to its readers, who have accompanied us and who have felt La Vanguardia as something of their own.

Today we wanted to celebrate a birthday. And do it with the creation of prizes. We hope from La Vanguardia to continue explaining the world as it has been until now.

I can only wish for an open Catalonia, a plural Spain, a Europe understood as a meeting space and for the monarchy that Felipe VI embodies.

Thank you all very much for joining us today.