Newspaper documentation centres in the twenty-first century. The situation after the tsunami

Objective: To analyse the situation of documentation services in Spanish newspapers in 2020, ten years after the start of the recession, which had such a great impact on news agencies.

Methodology: An open-ended questionnaire was sent to the documentation managers of nine Spanish newspapers, with questions about: staff, documentary functions, software use, sources of information, documentary products, social networks, new features and the future of the profession.

Results: The following points emerged from the responses to the questionnaires: the considerable reduction in staff over the last ten years; the greater use of documentation in relation to print publishing than in digital publishing (e.g., document analysis); the low level of integration of documentary software in print and online editions; the low use of information sources; the widespread creation of documentary products for internal use, when in fact very few of these products reach the reader; the interest in participating in emerging activities such as fact-checking and vetting content; and, finally, the fact that, when asked to predict the future of the profession, respondents combined pessimistic perceptions about the continuity of the documentation centres with a number of proposals for raising the profession’s profile.