Editor’s note: ¡Alegria! had a near-death experience. Or so it seemed. New Spanish intellectual property rights legislation (the “Google tax”) imposes fines up to 600,000 euros for publishing excerpts from Spanish media online without compensating the original publisher.
This law came into effect on January 1, eight days ago, and it looked like the end for ¡Alegria! The Joy of Spanish Living. Because that’s mainly what we do. We curate and aggregate Spanish-related news and features, publishing quotes from the media then linking to the full stories online. We were close to deciding to close up shop when the youngest, least-experienced member of our team said: “Wait! That law only applies to the Spanish media, and only a small part of our content comes from Spanish publications. So all we have to do is cut out those articles and continue to march. That’s what Google did, eliminate the Spanish media from Google News.”
Here at ¡Alegria! we think that Spanish legislators, perhaps with an imperfect understanding of the Internet, have made a mistake with the new law, which was enacted with the sole votes of the right-wing Popular Party. We think the media worldwide have a symbiotic relationship with Google News and all the other search engines and news aggregators, insofar as it is these services that channel a great deal of traffic to the online media’s own sites.
Suddenly it’s August again and Spain shifts into holiday mode. Here at ¡Alegria! we’ll be dedicating the month of August to recharging batteries after a year of intensive and rewarding work on the magazine. We’ll be back in September with renewed enthusiasm and fresh ideas. Before we go we’d like to say thank you to all of our faithful readers. Without you none of this would make any sense, and we’re deeply appreciative of your patronage.
So, we’ll see you in September. While we’re gone you can still access more than 350 articles in the ¡Alegria! memory bank. You can find them either through the Categories menu in the left-hand column or by scrolling down to the search box and typing in your search terms. In the meantime, have a relaxing and restorative summer yourselves.
Just fill out our readers survey, and when you’re finished complete the contact form at the end and we’ll put your email in the hat for an opportunity to win this hand-pulled fine print by the Hispano-British master printmaker, Maureen Lucía Booth.
Title: Muros Ancestrales (Ancestral Walls)
Size of image: 6×16 cm. Technique: Two-color liquid metal relief print on a zinc plate Paper: Paperki handmade, 300 gr. Edition number: 41/50, edited in the studio of the artist More…
¡Alegría! publishes its 250th article today, March 5, 2014. We’re taking advantage of this milestone to review some of our favorite stories published over the past year and a bit. They range from Spanish photo portfolios to interviews with people who have fallen for Spain in a big way, along with stories on art, gastronomy, sport and culture.
We’re also creating a new menu category, which we will update from time to time with additional articles. We’ve called it “Featured Articles,” and you will always be able to access them directly from the menu in the left column of your screen. More…
In order for ¡Alegria! to prosper it needs sponsorship, which we consider the best way to finance the magazine while maintaining our non-commercial approach. Before committing themselves, potential sponsors, whether institutional (like tourist offices) or private companies (like hotel chains or airlines), want to know about our readers. They don’t need your names or contact information, but they do want to know where you’re from, the subjects you like best from ¡Alegria!, along with information about your location, lifestyle and consumer habits. More…
When we first considered publishing an English-language online magazine about Spain we expected that most of our readers would be northern Europeans, people from cold climes who are familiar with Spain and might even have been here on holidays. We thought they would be British, Germans, Scandinavians, French, Belgians and Dutch, along with a few Americans, Russians, Japanese and Chinese. As a lot of these people already know Spain we thought we might be able to lure them gently to take a deeper look at the country and maybe even consider it as a place to set up housekeeping. We know that’s a good idea. We’ve done it ourselves.
Eleven days ago, on October 21, we mentioned here that ¡Alegria! editor, Mike Booth,would be on sick leave “for a couple of weeks.” It didn’t take that long. Booth was out of Granada’s Ruiz de Alda hospital with a set of shiny new coronary arteries just eight days later, and now he’s back stoking up the fires at ¡Alegria! The Joy of Spanish Living. Booth found his experience in a Spanish hospital astonishing. “Everything functioned like clockwork. Everybody smiled and laughed at my jokes, and I was out of there–new–in record time.
“It was like a brief holiday in a high-tech Spanish village,” says Booth. “I never thought of Spain precisely as a world leader in medicine, though it is true that this country has the largest, most-advanced organ transplant program in the world. In fact, after spending eight days on the inside, I wonder if this isn’t what Spain should be exporting: some of those wonderful doctors and nurses.”
We arrived at the office this morning to find that WordPress (60 million blogs and counting) has again chosen ¡Alegria! The Joy of Spanish Livingas an example of best practices in the customization and use of their Newsy design template for online magazines. Little snippets of recognition like this make our day. And we can’t resist sharing them with you.
It’s September, we’ve had a fruitful and restorative summer break, and it’s great to be back with new stories and videos and some fresh ideas for making ¡Alegria! The Joy of Spanish Living more interesting and more rewarding for you, our readers. As we suspected, getting out of the office turned out to be more productive than staying glued to our computers. A couple of “meetings” at a beach restaurant (“chiringuito” the Spanish call it playfully) over grilled fish, a green salad and a cold white wine yielded more and better ideas and clarified the magazine’s mission–subscribers!–and the best ways to achieve it–content, content, content.
We’ve altered the publication schedule to make the timing of the magazine more convenient for most of our readers. Instead of updating with one fresh article five days a week we’ll do it three days a week with two new articles each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. What it boils down to is giving you more content in a more concentrated form. We hope you’ll find this approach more to your liking. More…
During one of our summer brainstorming sessions on the beach it occurred to us that it would be great to offer our readers the possibility to share images and videos of their Spanish experiences. The first question that arose was: “How do we implement that service? WordPress doesn’t have an application for it.”
“No,” said our Web guru, “but Pinterest does and it’s only a link away. All we have to do is set up a branch office there.” More…