O Catalan language journalism cannot be understood without the contribution of Vilaweb, whose success story started in 1995, with the name Infopist. The portal has a peculiarity present in a few informative digital journals in Catalonia: their publications are written exclusively in Catalan (it is worth mentioning its English version, with less frequent news), unlike portals like La Vanguardia and El Periódico.
This article Aqui Catalunha is geared, above all, to the Portuguese, English and Spanish readers. The public who speak Catalan as a native language, and use it daily, know what Vilaweb represents, and will find few surprises in the Catalan version of this text (translated by automatic methods). I can say that Vilaweb is the biggest reference for the Aqui Catalunha in terms of journalistic rigor. For this reason, this portal seeks to learn from information leaders in Catalonia, while continuing to strengthen its identity and presence in the Portuguese-speaking world.
Next May 15 2020, the Vilaweb's first page on the Internet turns 26, and the Aqui Catalunha presents its audience with a short biography of the portal run by Vincent Parthal.
One of the first local directories in the world, and the first in Catalan
Vilaweb is synonymous with pioneering spirit. Vilaweb's original page dates from 15 May 1995, but it was officially published less than a month later, on June 14th. During the first year, the portal was known as La Infopista, the Catalan highway, a name represented graphically, in the logo, by means of crossings of lanes and signs with names of places in the Catalan-speaking territories, commonly known as Catalan Countries.
The Infopista project was designed to be a directory of all Catalan pages that existed on the Internet. Precisely, 120. The leaders were Vincent Parthal, Assumpcio Maresma e Joan Subirats (creator of the logo, and died in 1997). La Infopista was one of the first local directories in the world, and the first in Catalan. In your original version, there were topics on Science and Teaching, Communication, Culture and Language, Economics, Sports, Computers and Internet, Politics and Government, Society, Virtual Tourism and Universities.
Em reporter published in the magazine Header, in March 2010, the publisher and co-founder of Vilaweb, Assumpcio Maresma, said the initial idea was “create a digital news diary in Catalan, independent and quality ”, but this“ could not be done with traditional means ”, he recalled.
Before founding La Infopista - Vilaweb, Assumpció Maresma (1956), she was director of El Temps magazine, between 1992 and 1995, which had as one of the co-founders Vincent Parthal, in 1983. According to Maresma, the Internet represented an “opportunity”, seized by the two journalists. The publisher also highlighted Partal's pioneering spirit: “He realized that the Internet world would be important for the future of information".
Vincent Parthal (Bétera, País Valenciano) was born in 1960, and is responsible for the portal's editorials, usually published from Monday to Friday. In your website own, Partal writes that “always say what you think, and assume the consequences“, A phrase that can be seen close to his name, in the editorial publications in Vilaweb. The Valencian worked in El Temps, El Punt, Diari de Barcelona, Catalunya Ràdio, TVE, La Vanguardia, among other media.
Considered “one of the pioneers of the Internet in the Catalan Countries”, Partal created, in 1994, the first information system on the Internet for Catalan countries and for the whole of Spain, called El Temps Online. Currently, in addition to writing in Vilaweb, he collaborates weekly with the Basque portal (and only written in Basque language) scream. Partal, among numerous journalistic and editorial activities, which can be seen in his curriculum, wrote the books "Catalonia in the Western military strategy", "The nationalist revolt in the USSR", "Catalonia 3.0", "Quantum journalism", "New tribute to Catalonia", among others.
Worth reading: 20 years of Viquipèdia, Wikipedia in Catalan language
Chronology of Vilaweb: the first years of first-class journalism in Catalan
In April 2013, Vilaweb published a magazine (monthly publication) dedicated to the portal's 18 years. The tribute was structured in the form of a schedule, not only of Vilaweb's existence, but also of facts that marked the Internet and the informative world in Catalonia and in the world. For this publication of Aqui Catalunha, I present a schedule dedicated exclusively to the most important events that marked Vilaweb's early years, the Internet in Catalonia and the global virtual world.
- March 1, 1995: the diary Avui becomes the first of the entire Spanish state to have a website. In May, it was El Periódico's turn.
- April 1, 1995: 1.200 public primary and secondary education centers in Catalonia are now connected to the Internet.
- 15 May 1995: Vicent Partal and Assumpció Maresma launch Vilaweb (still called La Infopista, which was not a digital news diary, but a directory of all Catalan pages and resources on the Internet; in November, the directory gathered 500 of them).
Curiosity: in the report for Capçalera magazine, in 2010, Assumpció Maresma said that, although the daily's first name was La Infopista, the real wish was for it to be called Vilaweb. The publisher explained that the name 'Vilaweb' referred to a "community that was being created, with an idea of a village, town ...", and that "there was a desire to connect, rewire the things that already existed". Similarly, but in reference to the catalanity and role of the digital world, Vicent Partal, in an interview with Cloud, in 2015, said that “the Internet is the great tool of articulation between the Catalan Countries”.
- July 1, 1995: the Amazon.com bookstore appears, the first to sell exclusively via the Internet.
- 1 September 1995: the Barcelona Stock Exchange, like the Madrid Stock Exchange, becomes the first in Europe to have an Internet connection.
- 11 January 1996: Vilaweb publishing company: Partal, Maresma e Associados was created.
- 15 May 1996: La Infopista, with more than 1.500 indexed pages, becomes known as Vilaweb.
- June 3st, 1996: the Parliament of Catalonia adopts a resolution on the creation of its own and differentiated domain for Internet servers in Catalonia, the .ct.
- July 4, 1996: the free Hotmail e-mail server appears.
- 1 September 1996: the writer Jaume Fuster, president of the Association of Writers in Catalan Language (AELC) launches the website of the entity, initially hosted on the partal.com server.
- June 1997: Vilaweb establishes its first local editions.
- September 1997: Catalunya Ràdio starts broadcasting programs, live, during all hours of the day.
- September 1998: the Google browser appears.
- October 1998: Vicent Partal coordinates the first graduate program in Digital Journalism at Ramon Llull University.
- March 1999: the Internet now has two million registered domains.
- November 5th, 1999: Vilaweb inaugurates the first service with WAP (Internet for cell phones) technology, the first in the Romance languages group.
- February 2000: Vilaweb receives the City of Barcelona Award for Journalism.
- March 25th, 2000: the Association of Teachers of Informatics of Catalonia was founded.
- November 2000: Vilaweb now offers free electronic mail.
- March 2001: the Catalan Wikipedia project, Viquipèdia, appears.
- September 11th, 2001: terrorist attacks collapse major US news portals.
- November 2001: local newspapers such as El Punt and Diari de Tarragona have a presence on the Internet.
- December 2001: campaign was created for MSN to have a Catalan version. However, the Catalan language version was only launched in 2008.
- November 2002: Vilaweb receives the Jaume I Honor Award for being the most widely read Catalan language diary on the Internet.
- February 2004: Vilaweb is considered the main news portal in Catalan and the fourth most read in Spain, according to AIMC-EGM annual statistics.
- February 2004: campaign to create the domain launched .cat.
- January 2005: the BBC includes Catalan in the European languages section of its website.
- February 2005: the YouTube video platform appears.
- 22 May 2005: Vilaweb publishes his style book, written by Jem Cabanes. This is the first published digital media style book.
- February 2006: ICANN grants the domain .cat for the Catalan-speaking community.
- January 2007: Steve Jobs and Apple launch the iPhone.
- October 2007: portal launched edu3.cat, with teaching materials produced by TV3, Catalunya Ràdio and the Department of Education of the Catalan government.
- December 2007: portal debut 3cat24.cat, a space for continuous information from TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio.
- December 16th, 2007: Microsoft launches the Catalan version of Messenger, through the Windows Live program.
- February 19rd, 2008: Great Catalan Encyclopedia becomes open access.
- June 2008: the voluntary translation of hundreds of users allows Facebook to have a Catalan version.
- October 2008: the Consortium for Linguistic Standardization and the Ramon Llull Institute present the Catalan learning portal parla.cat.
- November 2008: Vilaweb receives the Atlântida Award from the Grêmio de Editores de Catalunya.
- February 2009: 35 thousand domains surpassed .cat registered with the puntCAT Foundation.
- February 2009: the Hotmail e-mail service incorporates the Catalan language.
- March 2009: the Catalonian government opens its Twitter account.
- April 2009: the network of independent publishers edi.cat presents the first digital books in Catalan.
- April 2009: Vicent Partal receives the Joan Coromines Award for his journalistic trajectory.
- July 2009: Google Books debuts Catalan version.
- September 2009: Vilaweb publishes vullvotar.cat to support the consultation for the independence of Catalonia in Arenys de Munt, and others that would follow.
Most relevant information: the website vullvotar.cat was blocked by the Spanish justice. Therefore, when you click on it, you will see this message: “This domain has been intercepted, and is available to the Judicial Authority”. Worth reading: Report by the Catalonian government on the consequences of the 2017 referendum
- February 2010: in an annual study by AIMC (Association for the Research of the Media), Vilaweb was recognized as the most widely read Internet communication medium.
- June 2010: Apple incorporates the Catalan language into the new iOS 4 operating system on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
- June 2010: Viquipèdia reaches 250 thousand articles.
- October 2010: the first doctoral thesis on Vilaweb was presented at the University of Alicante: “A model of journalism for the network: the case of Vilaweb”.
- November 6th, 2010: Vilaweb receives the Pompeu Fabra Award in the category of communication and new technologies, for transforming the Catalan language into a language of habitual use in the communicative space.
- February 2011: in protest against the closure of TV3 in the Valencian Country, on the 17th, Vilaweb and other media closed their sites during 24 hours.