ARA receives award for Best European Newspaper of the Year in Vienna

It has also received eight additional design awards for different digital and interactive pieces

3 min
Cristina Córdoba and Esther Vera, art director and director of the ARA, receiving the award.

BarcelonaUnder the baroque ornaments of the Ovalhalle in Vienna, ARA has received, for the second time since it was founded, the award for European Newspaper of the Year, in its regional category, following the parameters of the European Newspaper Award organisers. In addition to being distinguished with the most important award, which allows it to carry this title for a year on its masthead, the newspaper has obtained year eight more design awards, in a competition in which 161 newspapers from 24 different countries took part, with over 4,000 proposals. ARA was already named Best European Newspaper of the Year in 2015.

As for the rest of this year's awards, the jury has awarded "Rats and barbed wire welcome refugees to Europe", an interactive report on refugees made by Cristina Mas and Xavier Bertral from the island of Samos, and two covid-themed interactives. These are "How the pandemic has affected mental health" and "Chronicle of a pandemic that has stopped the world", the latter by Francesc Millan and Lara Bonilla.

Likewise, the multimedia narrative works "40 years building Catalonia", a chronology with illustrations by Pol Montserrat published on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the first session of the Catalan Parliament, have also received prizes. The following works were also awarded: "This is how green energy gets to your home", a work with illustrations by Isaac Claramunt on how energy works, and "Woman's body, man's medicine", an interactive by Lara Bonilla with illustrations by Carmen Casado on gender bias in drug research. Another category where the ARA has collected awards is digital data journalism, with "The challenges of water" and "The pandemic in hospitals, in numbers".

The distinctions were awarded as part of the European Editors' Congress being held in Viena this Monday and Tuesday. "We are focused on getting to know our community. Studying the audience in depth has allowed us to have data of the kind that allows us to make decisions: useful data to put the reader at the centre, to convert them into subscribers, to retain them with us, to innovate processes within the newsroom," explained Esther Vera, ARA editor-in-chief, during her speech. "However, if we only had to choose one single objective, it would be to be able to continue doing constructive and useful journalism for our society, with the most innovative tools."

This is the second time that the ARA has received this prestigious award

During the presentation, Vera explained how ARA is committed to a print edition, available in PDF for digital readers who appreciate an orderly and hierarchical view of the day, and three digital editions, in Catalan, Spanish and English. Another important trait is the intensive use of original video and interactive pieces, which have won multiple journalistic and design awards.

"Newspapers today are products in constant adaptation to new ways of consuming information. And, in this sense, ARA gives all the immediacy to the last minute, while providing background information, analysis and long-form reporting, especially concentrated around the weekend," said Vera, who also mentioned ARA's interactives and its use of different formats. Vera concluded her speech with a "vindication of useful journalism, which puts events in context and allows us to understand the facts in a noisy and foggy atmosphere".

The defence of cutting-edge design is in ARA's DNA. A newspaper has to know how to bring up issues and treat the news ethically and rigorously, but it also has to make an effort to transmit this information in the most effective way possible, especially in times of multiple windows, haste and communication noise. In this regard, the newspaper's art director, Cristina Córdoba, who was also present in Vienna, explained: "Most of the information we receive comes in through our eyes, which is why visual images are so important. We learn better through diagrams or graphics; we remember an image better than a text. For all these reasons, at ARA we like simple and orderly designs."

During the event in Vienna, the Belgian De Tijd picked up the other European Newspaper of the Year award, in this case in the category of national daily newspaper. The Portuguese Expresso was voted best weekly of 2022, and the Norwegian newspaper Hallingdølen, best local daily.