Spain's El Pais revamps as competition heats up

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MADRID, Oct 16 (Reuters) Spain's leading newspaper El Pais is to revamp, attempting to lure a wider and younger readership, its editor said today.

El Pais -- a bible for the new left in Spain's transition from a Fascist dictatorship to a democracy in the 1970s -- is aiming for a clearer reporting style and a different approach to news to tempt the Internet generation in both a Web and a paper edition.

The group also has its eye on Latin America and hopes El Pais will become a global newspaper in Spanish, rather than a Spanish newspaper, Javier Moreno told reporters.

The Prisa group, which owns El Pais, had been working on the idea for some years before the arrival of four new free competitors in Madrid and its first serious left-wing rival, Publico, last month.

''When the news happens we react quickly as journalists ...

but we react late and badly to what the competition does (as a newspaper outfit),'' Moreno said.

The relaunch, set for October 21, comes amid declining newspaper circulation and increasing Internet usage.

El Pais has a circulation of 430,000 copies per day, of which about 10 per cent are abroad, and readers are estimated at around two million.

''It will be a real change in the way we look at things, our approach and our way of explaining things,'' he said.

He added that the idea was to reduce ''media noise'' around the news in Spain, where media groups are highly politicised and El Pais is widely considered to be the official voice of the ruling Socialist party -- something its editor denied.

REUTERS GL RN1826

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