Online editions of English-language media in Spain: how they rate.
See also information on print editions
Many of the English-language newspaper and magazines published in Spain now have online editions. But how do they rate? Freelance Spain made repeated visits to twelve media sites in late 2000, and here's how we think they score on a scale of 0 to 20 (see scoring method).
Sur in English (www.surinenglish.com)
Our top-rated site is the online edition of a weekly newspaper published in Malaga. The site includes the entire content of the current issue, as well as access to back issues, plus a link to their montly golf supplement, making this the site richest in information of all those reviewed. It also features the classified ad section from the print version, a plus for those seeking to locate a service in southern Spain. Another plus: it also had the most comprehensive links section (even though it didn’t list Freelance Spain) but this page was a bit unwieldy and slow to load. The site is easy to navigate.
Majorca Daily Bulletin (www.majorcadailybulletin.es)
The design of this site, the online presence of one of Spain's oldest English language publications, a daily published in Majorca since 1962, is a vast improvement on an earlier version, which consisted solely of a graphic image of the newspaper’s front page. The site includes a few news features, a guide to what’s on in Majorca, access to recent back issues, and a small links section with pages of principally local content.
Inland Trader (http://www.inlandtrader.net)
In a free inland publication in English covering news information and articles.
Covering from Valencia to Alicante
The Costa Blanca News (www.costablanca-news.com)
The Costa Blanca News is a weekly newspaper published in Benidorm (Alicante), devoted to residents in eastern Spain. The site features the full content of the current issue plus the previous week’s issue, including classified ads. There’s a small links section with links to sites dealing with the Costa Blanca and Spain.
The Broadsheet (www.thebroadsheet.com, now www.spainalive.com)
The Broadsheet is a monthly magazine published out of Madrid and covering all Spain. The sight reviewed was well designed and easy to navigate, with a wide selection of articles from past issues, covering a variety of subjects, and also a good advice section. . In March 2001, they launched SpainAlive, a dedicated portal site on all things Spanish, updated constantly.
Absolute Marbella (www.absolute-marbella.com)
Absolute Marbella is a glossy monthly devoted to the the rich lifestyle of Marbella. Their site has a nice clean design and is easy to navigate, with a selection of articles from the current issue, plus others from earlier editions, as far back as February 1998. Of particular interest is the guide to restaurants on the Costa del Sol, some with reviews. Also features a commercial directory of services, a few of them with links, but there is no links section as such.
Tenerife News (www.tennews.com)
The online edition of the Tenerife (Canary Islands) fortnightly contains features from the current or a recent issue (we've had both) of the newspaper. The site has a simple, clean design and is easy to navigate. There are some links, mainly to services and attractions on the Canary Islands. On the last visit, the site did not load properly in Netscape Navigator, but worked fine in Explorer.
Essential Magazine (www.essentialmagazine.com)
Essential is a magazine published monthly in Marbella with well-written features on southern Spain. Their site contains a selection of illustrated features from the current issue, plus access to features from earlier editions back to May 1999. The home page can be slow to load because there’s a cover image for all the editions included. Otherwise, the sight is fairly easy to navigate, but there are no external links.
The Paper (www.thepaper.net)
The Paper is a fortnightly published on the Canary Island of Tenerife. The content of their sight was a selection of features from an old issue. There were no external links.
Island Connections (www.ic-web.com)
The online edition of the Canary Islands' oldest publication in English contains some teaser content from the current issue, but for more in-depth content users have to register, then download the content from the chosen issue in a PDF file. Navigation is confusing, and there are no external links.
Island Sun (www.island-sun-newspaper.com)
The Island Sun is a Canary Islands fortnightly. When we visited in October, their site had last been updated in August. In December some sections had been updated, but the "breaking news" was still dated August 15. The site was not easy to navigate. There is a link to a portal site listed pages with Canary Islands content.
Baleares Magazine (www.baleares.com/magazine)
The site put out by the Balearic bi-monthly magazine is thin on content and not specially attractive, with a small number of articles along with some backrgound information on the Balearic islands, including a golf course guide.
The scoring method
In evaluating these websites, the first thing we looked for was the quality and usefulness of the content, rated at 0 to 8 points.
In assigning the rest of the score, we looked at the overall design of the site and the ease and intuitivity of navigation from one section to another. Speed of access was also taken into account. We also placed importance on whether the site has a section with external links to other recommended web sites.
These sites were evaluated after several visits over a two-month period.
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