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Julie Descamps 2023-06-02

We had an insightful conversation with Javier Piedrahita, editor in chief of Spanish online media, Marketing Directo. Journalist and long time Epica juror, Javier brings inspiring opinions to the table.


What inspired you to become a journalist and how did you get into the profession? 

I have always been very curious, which I think is a fundamental characteristic that all journalists should have. But without a doubt, one of my greatest inspirations was my father, a journalist and correspondent for TVE for many years. I started in the profession by creating my own magazine on direct marketing. I remember that in the early days I didn't have enough income to rent an office and we held our meetings in a cafeteria. Fortunately, as it was a new topic in Spain, we soon found advertisers and in no time, we made the leap to online with

What’s your role at Marketing Directo - and what are the latest developments there?

I’m the editor, but I’m not the kind of guy who locks himself in an office, I don’t even have my own. I like to work in the same place as the entire newsroom. I’m passionate about my profession, so in addition to being an editor I’m still a journalist, I look at sources every day, I attend press conferences, etc. That curiosity I was talking about earlier has always led me to try new things on our website. For example, right now we are using different AI tools, either to improve efficiency in writing or to create images, templates, graphics, etc.

What essential qualities and skills do journalists need to thrive in today’s media landscape?

The fundamental thing, from my point of view, is curiosity. A journalist must always be eager to know. That’s why he must always keep his eyes and ears open. Read everything you can, listen to the best. A journalist who is curious and always trying to learn, will know how to adapt to the reality that is imposed, whether it is to move from paper to digital, or from traditional digital to social networks or to incorporate the latest technological trends.

As a member of the Epica Awards jury, how do you approach evaluating and selecting the best creative work from around the world?

I’ve been watching advertising for more than 20 years, and that, like it or not, forms your criteria. The way I approach it is expecting to be surprised.

How important is the relationship between journalism and the creative community, and how can it be further strengthened?

I think it’s a pretty good relationship. If you ask any creative person in the world, they will tell you that they are regular readers of specialized publications, and even of other fields, such as culture. Maybe we journalists are the ones who can improve the relationship, trying to learn more from the creative community.

How d’you stay informed and updated on the latest trends and developments in the creative industry?

Reading and watching media from many parts of the world. I am of German origin, so I not only consume media in Spanish and English, but also in that language. I’m also one of those who is constantly checking Twitter to see what’s going on. And of course, on a day-to-day basis, at congresses, client meetings, and so on.

What distinguishes Spanish advertising from other markets, in your opinion?

Spanish advertising tends to be very emotional and appeal to the feelings of the public, and they often do this through humor. We also have a lot of artistic heritage, which is reflected in a visually appealing approach. Vibrant colors, striking images and eye-catching visual elements are used. In recent years, there has also been a commitment to strong storytelling. Stories are told that allow us to create deep connections.

What role do you see journalism playing in promoting and advocating for diversity and inclusion within the creative industry?

I believe that the role of journalism is fundamental in promoting diversity and inclusion. We have been giving voice to all those actions and campaigns that promote these values for years. It is not a fad that we have joined now. And I think that is the role that the press should play, to be the loudspeaker, not only of what is done here (Spain), but also in other parts of the world and what we can learn from it.

Who are your role models or mentors in journalism and the creative world? And what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

I’ve never really had a mentor or followed advice. I’ve always been a bit impulsive and go with my instinct a lot. Sometimes I’m wrong, of course. But that’s a philosophy I try to put into practice. No one taught it to me in particular, but I believe a lot in “trial and error”. You have to try things without fear of failure, you also learn from that.

I think that is the role that the press should play, to be the loudspeaker, not only of what is done here (Spain), but also in other parts of the world and what we can learn from it.

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