In the 12th of September 2010, in Pietrasanta (Tuscany), the celebrations for the first anniversary of the newspaper “Il Fatto Quotidiano” (“The Daily Fact”) were held.
I would like to summarize here the characteristics that make this newspaper not only an editorial phenomenon, but even an example of moral resilience of that part of the Italian society that, with their unexpected support, made it possible for this dream to come true.
A little more than one year ago, a small group of journalists with a strong professional history and with some ideas in common, decided to create a new journal, an independent one!
What made them take this decision? Well, it was the discouraging realization that in Italy there is no real freedom of press, because all the journals are influenced by the interests of their publishers. Moreover, the government funding of publishing makes the press dependent on the political system and therefore on a tight leash.
That “dirty dozen” of journalists decided to do something nobody ever did before: a newspaper without the support of a big publishing group and without government funding! An enterprise of several small share-holders, with a maximum quota of 16% of the capital. Above all, a newspaper sustained by the daily sales in the news agencies and by the yearly subscriptions.
The other strong idea was to put in evidence the facts the other newspaper didn’t cover: indeed, it seems incredible, in Italy there is a whole lot of facts nobody wants to deal with: sometimes they are minimized, sometimes they are hidden in short articles in the last pages, sometimes they are distorted, often they are utterly neglected. For instance the investigations on Gianni Letta (Secretary to the Council of Ministers: Berlusconi’s factotum); the trials for mafia for Marcello Dell’Utri (founder of Forza Italia and Berlusconi’s right-hand man); the phone tapings of Berlusconi ‘s attempts to shut “Anno Zero”, a very popular show on the public television (RAI) which openly reports all the scandals revolving around the prime minister.
The independence from the interests of the big editorial groups and from governmental funding allowed the freedom to cover all the topics without reserve and the freedom to express criticisms regardless of anyone. Not only, but the absence of competition (due to the self-censorship of the other journals) left the field open to the “il Fatto Quotidiano” to take up an informative space that was soon welcomed by the readers.
The small group of the initial project started a blog called “Antefatto” (“prior event”): between June and September 2009 this blog gathered the attention of Italian readers and collected no fewer than forty-thousand bookings for yearly subscriptions, for a newspaper that didn’t exist yet!
This wealth of initial subscriptions gave the opportunity to hire more journalists (among which many young talents) and to increase the circulation. Moreover, the success in sales allowed to be less dependent on advertising, which is another big issue for the freedom of the press.
Today’s numbers speak for themselves: with roughly seventy-seven-thousand copies sold daily and forty-two-thousand subscriptions, the “Fatto Quotidiano” is the eighth newspaper in Italy (sixth, if we don’t count the sports newspapers); since June 2010 the internet version ilfattoquotidiano.it has been added and after few months it is the sixth most popular news website in Italy.
So happy birthday to “Il Fatto Quotidiano” and ad maiora*!
(*latin for: “to greater achievements!”)