Category Archives: Culture

Putting The Pride Back In Local Reporting

When the vast mayority of Telemadrid workers wereTm-Ex threatened with layoffs last January they protested untill they saw blue in the face. And when their last day at work inevitably came they started their own channel: Tm-Ex.

Madrid has a strained relationship with its local tv channel Telemadrid. Once glorified for its extremely popular and well-made programs, the company has seen a sharply falling audience share, growing budget inconsistencies and increased criticism for being simply the voice of PP politics during the last 10 years. The dismissal of practically all staff except for the highest positions only seemed the next step in this vacillating trajectory.

But the fired staff had no plans of quietly accepting this last decision and started their own channel to show the city that they are a very capable and pride lot of people. Instead of simply reproducing Partido Popular’s statements like before their aim is now to be the voice of people who so far have gone largely unheard.

With their own cameras, computers, basic software and working from home 90 ex-Telemadrid staff –each contributing 5 euros a month to cover the basic costs- have so far covered the demonstrations of February 23rd, Iberia and Metro, released an interview with Andreu Buenafuente, and published more than 50 other videos in just over two weeks.

The results have surprised even the most optimistic members from Tm-Ex: In just 15 days the webite has received 1.3 million clicks and the videos were watched a total of 105.000 times. But most of all, it has given the volunteers their pride back. Who said Madrid local tv had no future?


A Short Guide on Going Out in Madrid

So you know WHERE to go out in Madrid, but do you also know HOW? No matter how long you have lived here, how well you know your friends or how integrated you are as a guiri in this city, you will end up with the following at least a few times a year no matter how hard you try.

Plan way ahead or just in time. A night out requires plenty of planning or none at all. Either you pin down your friends 6 weeks before they have had the chance to think of something else, or you call them at the very night to go out an hour later. Do anything in between and you will face endless calls (‘I am calling you to say I will call you later’), reconfirmations (Why? Are you waiting for a better plan?) changes of plan, mind and venue only to end up on your sofa alone.

More = better. Forget about having some quality time with your best friends to discuss the important matters in your life. Your friends will bring friends who will bring friends who will bring friends. Relax, it is actually fun and who has ever heard of having too many friends, anyway? Leave the philosophical stuff for Facebook.

Learn to love the street. With all these extra friends, it is even harder to go to the bar you planned. Lady A wants to meet a friend in place B, who actually turns out to be in bar C and then Mr D thinks of excellent restaurant E which is closed so you all flag down a taxi to pub F but Miss G remembers she left her lipstick in café H and suddenly it is six in the morning, the sun is coming up and you realize you spent the last 5 hours on deciding where to go while not actually ending up anywhere. But hey, you saw a great many very picturesque streets.

Spend some extra time on your makeup. Bars that attract the real crowds are always, funnily enough, overlit. They all suffer from a serious attack by fluorescent lights and that, as you will figure, requires a different strategy on the makeup and hair front. But let’s keep it positive: you will never step out with your latest catch only to discover on the street that he/she actually looks funnier than you thought inside.

Goodbye now. You want to leave? Plan at least 20 minutes to say goodbye to everybody (‘I will call you to say when I will call you later’).

Don’t complain. Try to just whisper even the slightest complaint on all of the above and you will be accused of being German, Nordic, square, or plain uptight. So just see it as a local experience and remember: there is always next week. Have fun!

PS And also remember all those nights where everything came together wonderfully and you thought life could not get any better. There will be more nights like these, I promise.

Previously published on