By Damon Mitchell •
Published: 22 Mar 2020 • 17:07
Spain is in lockdown and its self-isolating population is complying with stringent measures.
Meanwhile there are phones, iPads, laptops, the television and radio to follow the path of Covid-19 as it cuts a swathe through Spain, but people are turning to the newspapers too.
Along with supermarkets, pharmacies, estancos (licensed to sell cigarettes and tobacco) and petrol stations, newspaper kiosks have permission to open.
Newspaper sellers are there on the front line too, providing the public with national and regional dailies as well as gossip magazines like Hola.
Like everybody else they are concerned about catching the highly-contagious virus, but still open up every morning and attend to the public, behind improvised screens, wearing gloves and masks.
“A lot of people come straight to us each day, looking for responsible information as an antidote to the fake news that circulates on the internet,” said Carmen, who runs a kiosk.
“There’s Facebook and WhatsApp groups and heaven knows what else, but how do you know if what they say is true?” she asked. “You’re just expected to take their word for it.”
A newspaper is different, she claimed. “Articles have a name on them or comes from a news agency: they have to give you chapter and verse if you ask for it.”
There has been a rise in books of crosswords, sudokus, word games and puzzles, Carmen revealed.
“One elderly gentleman asked if we had any colouring books to keep himself occupied,” Carmen said.
But neither is there any panic-buying of newspapers. With cafes and shops closed she and others with kiosks are having a tough time of it, although some newspapers and magazines have increased their commission by 2.5 per cent.
“But we’ll carry on for as long as we can,” Carmen declared.
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From the interviewed to the interviewer
As frontman of a rock band Damon used to court the British press, now he lives the quiet life in Spain and seeks to get to the heart of the community, scoring exclusive interviews with ex-pats about their successes and struggles during their new life in the sun.
Originally from Scotland but based on the coast for the last three years, Damon strives to bring the most heartfelt news stories from the spanish costas to the Euro Weekly News.
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