At half past nine in the morning of Tuesday, May 25, the jury of the Ortega y Gasset Journalism Awards began the meeting that would result in the decision of the 38th edition of these prestigious awards. 30 finalist candidacies, chosen from among the 472 works received, were competing for an Ortega y Gasset award in one of the four categories. Winners have been awarded in Best story or journalistic investigation, Isabela Ponce, from the Ecuadorian media GK; in Best multimedia coverage Javier Salas and Mariano Zafra, from EL PAÍS; in Best Photography, Brais Lorenzo, from the EFE agency, and in Career, the Nicaraguan Carlos Fernando Chamorro.

The The Ortega y Gasset Awards, granted by EL PAÍS since 1984, reward the best journalistic works originally published in Spanish and during the year prior to their announcement. Each edition begins with the opening of the call, about three months before the jury’s decision is known. At that time, the secretariat of the awards is in charge of receiving all the proposals and verifying that they meet the requirements that are demanded in their legal bases.

Once this process is completed and the call is closed, the secretariat will select the best works. Multiple criteria are taken into account, in addition to journalistic ones such as rigor or style. Thus, the main themes of the year are also assessed, the effort made by the editors or photographers to obtain the information, the social impact, etc. This work is carried out by a group of journalists and photographers from EL PAÍS who are not applying for the awards.

The jury is also formed during this period. Its composition seeks to have a representation of society, hence its members always include characters from different fields, such as politics, culture or business. This year it has been composed of Jordi Amat, writer; Beatriz Corredor, president of the Red Eléctrica Group; Borja Sémper, Director of Institutional Relations at EY; Raquel Yotti, director of the Carlos III Health Institute, and Isabel Peña, screenwriter. “It has been an award for myself,” declared Peña about her participation in the jury after the meeting. The scriptwriter referred to “the opportunity” to approach works that otherwise would not have known.

There are also four permanent representatives of EL PAÍS on the jury, such as the director of the newspaper, in this case Javier Moreno; the Ombudsman, Carlos Yárnoz, and a member of the Editorial Committee, which this year has been Ana Pantaleoni, who is also the editor-in-chief of EL PAÍS in Catalonia. Pedro Zuazua, Communications Director of Prisa Noticias, has served as secretary of the jury, without the right to vote.

The jury receives the selection of works 15 days before the scheduled appointment for the decision. At the meeting, the candidates for each category are reviewed one by one and a vote is taken in which each member scores three of them. If at the end of the voting round there is a tie, a second round is carried out with these works. On this occasion, the discussion concluded, after more than two hours of debate, with four winners and three special mentions. Beatriz Corredor explained after the decision that the jury had shown “complementary, but different” points of view, which have helped to “enrich the debate and decisions.”

The secretary of the jury, in recent years the Communication Director of PRISA Noticias, Pedro Zuazua, is in charge of communicating the good news to the winners. Only then is the jury’s decision made public through the website of the awards themselves and of EL PAÍS.