Pedro J. Ramírez is a contemporary Spanish journalist who has made a significant impact on the world of the Spanish written press as he both founded and managed the newspaper, 'El Mundo', and has spent many years managing other papers as well. Today, he is probably one of the best known Spanish journalists in the country, although a lot of this fame has to do with some of the scandals he has been involved in.
Pedro J. Ramírez was born in Logroño, La Rioja, in 1952. As a child he studied at the Hermanos Maristas School of Logroño. At university, he studied Law and then Journalism at the University of Navarra, finishing with a degree in the latter. In 1973, he moved to the United States in order to teach as a professor of Contemporary Spanish Literature in the Lebanon Valley College in the state of Pennsylvania during the academic year of 1973-4. This same college gave him an honorary doctorate later in 1996.
Between 1975 and 1980, Pedro Ramírez worked at the Spanish newspaper, ABC, and in 1980, at the age of just 28, he was named the director of Diario 16, a paper which was going through some difficulties at the time. However, under his management, the paper not only avoided the threatened imminent closure, but it was also transformed into one of the top three most circulated national papers.
As a result, he was then chosen as the director of publications of the group, Grupo 16, in 1986. In the next few years, he was also elected as the Spanish President of the International Press Institute (IPI) and then a member of the executive committee of the organization. In 1989, Ramírez stopped working in his position as the head of Diario 16 for political reasons. However he still faced a number of claims and cases against him and the paper. The worst of them was in 1993, when he was sentenced to a restriction of liberty and banned from working as a journalist. However, this sentence was later lifted in 1998.
Before this happened though, in October of 1989, Pedro J. Ramírez, along with Alfonso de Salas, Balbino Fraga and Juan Gonzélez, set up the new version of 'El Mundo'. The paper, of a liberal persuasion, became one of the Spain's largest circulating national newspapers in just 10 years of existence.
During the 1990s, 'El Mundo' became particularly famous for its investigations into the corruption scandals of the socialist governments, as well as for their discoveries concerning the anti-terrorist group GAL and their meetings with government members in which they were told to assassinate members of the terrorist group ETA.
In 2002, the main union leaders organized a general strike which was supported by a large part of the staff at 'El Mundo'. Picketers and signs were set up in order to try and block the distribution of the copies of the papers, which were only later carried out with the help of police vans. This event led to a long case concerning the chief editor at the time, Francisco Frechoso which finally ended in 2007 in favor of the editor.
Despite all of this controversy, Pedro J. Ramírez still continues to be a widely celebrated Spanish journalist, and still continues to be the manager of 'El Mundo'. Furthermore, since September 2010, he has presented the television program La vuelta al mundo which you can see on the channel Veo7 if you ever visit Spain.
There can be no doubt that as a contemporary Spanish journalist, Pedro J. Ramírez has certainly contributed to the Spanish press, both by writing a multitude of articles as well as helping to save some of Spain's most famous newspapers. However he has also contributed to the Spanish press by creating almost as many news stories as he wrote about!
Ignoring his rather scandalous history however, Ramírez is a great Spanish journalist, and one that any student considering taking Spanish classes should check out. In recognition of his journalistic skill, Pedro J. Ramírez has also received a large number of prizes for his articles and general contribution to the press. Just some of these awards include the Prize for the Best Journalist of the Year in 1983, the Víctor de la Serna Prize for the best journalistic work in 1991, and the Isaiah Berlin International Journalism Prize in 2007.