Thursday, December 8

📩 NEWSLETTER | The stories of 2021

Hello. Today is the last newsletter of 2021 and we are going to dedicate it to something a little special.

Just a year ago I was doing tests to see what a daily bulletin would look like, this newsletter that we would end up launching in February 2021. I have just reviewed those test ‘numbers 0’, made from the news of those days and do you know what they were about? Look, I have taken a screenshot of the draft, which I still have:

A year has passed and we are the same, pretending that everything has caught us off guard for the sixth time. Although we have lost the word “close friend” along the way, which you can see was a game for me.

It seems that everything is the same but in reality a lot has happened from that December 2020 until today. The year 2021 has been especially intense and I want to take advantage of this latest newsletter to review some stories of the year that are exclusive material or made with a special effort by the editors of Telecommuting most of the time, by the way.

Sometimes the journalism in which you put your resources, your vocation and your effort ends up deafened by the noise of the daily news, so I leave you these stories here in case you missed them at the time. Some you surely remember.

This type of coverage is what we can do with the economic stability provided by a powerful community of partners. If you want us to continue down this path and depend less on political and economic gales, please, become a partner if you are not already.

Go for it.

The stories of 2021

Photos of Spain in 2021

One of the things that gives us most pride who work at is the way in which our newsroom is able to peer into the depths without getting dizzy: we analyze structural problems, we give raw data social meaning, we make more panoramic views. beyond the daily controversies. Perhaps that is why we tend to call these types of issues internally ‘X-rays’. They are photos of the country we live in.

We have done quite a few this year. I was amazed by the finish of this map with the heights of all the buildings in Spain, in which you could search for your neighborhood, your street, and see the historical evolution of urban planning in your area.

Source: Cadastre

We already know that part of this demographic evolution is leading many towns to be practically abandoned. Which are? Who are still living there? It is the Spain of empty towns. In Spain there are more than 7,000 towns and neighborhoods scattered without registered inhabitants. Paradoxically, in rural Spain housing it is not cheap either.

Precariousness of temporary contracts is one of the foundations on which our economy is built. One hundred thousand people enter and leave the labor market every day, which is a vital stability and contract crusher.

Since you entered this page, on a normal day they would have completed …

Inequality The economy increased during the pandemic, as it did in the previous crisis: after the economic crash of 2008, the richest recovered three times faster than the popular classes. What does “rich” mean? Well, there are large neighborhoods in Spain where the average income is 200,000 euros gross per year per person. Their income does not come from work, but from income. In others, the gross annual salary is less than 15,000.

Broken elevator. And how does one stop living in the town of 15,000 and become part of the privileged? Well, it is almost impossible. Because according to the data, the main determinant for academic, work and economic success is not talent or effort, but in which family do you grow up. Meritocracy my ass. That does not mean that, as the best Spanish economist under 40 says, “without a quality public university, I would not be here”.

No, me worse. This year we have asked ourselves many times that of whether we live worse than our parents. It is curious because during the years after the crisis it had already been socially accepted that the current generation of young people would have it more difficult than their parents, but that debate seems reopened. Some data can be consulted here: this is how Spain has changed for three generations.

Can. Judicial.

One of the topics of the year that usually have less presence in television or radio summaries, because it is cumbersome and does not provide memorable images or sounds, is the blockade in one of the three powers of the State.

We have lived over a thousand days of undemocratic trips to the renewal of the Judiciary, which has finally taken steps in the Constitutional Court but not yet the General Council of the Judiciary. There at the head of the resistance is Carlos Lesmes, and months later this special profile Ignacio Escolar is still essential.

In the judiciary we also see some of those elements that are not exclusive to the judicial world, but it is more serious if they occur in one of the three branches of the State. We talk about how judges and prosecutors they charge in black up to 4,000 euros per month for preparing opponents. They do it too Bank of Spain officials.

Black money is a national sport. This year we have also listened to Luis Bárcenas say that “The businessmen were willing to donate money to the PP in exchange for sitting for an hour with a minister.”

Pandemic data

However much we turn it around, the pandemic is The Story of the Year again. The hit of the sixth wave has put us on our site: the pandemic is not over and public health no longer gives more of himself.

The data is overwhelming. We have exceeded 70,000 deaths in the worst of the pandemic and, although we know there are more, we were able to identify mortality municipality by municipality. But thanks to the vaccine, the magnitude of the sixth wave is not proportionally translating into an explosion of deaths:

Psychologically, we are worn out. The childhood trauma for thousands of girls and boys I suppose it will take years to finish distilling it. The debacle for many employers and workers can only hold on to the fact that the data is now much better. On the more privileged side, again, the psychological effects of teleworking or just seeing family on a screen.

Magical (and tragic) realism

The investigations and reports published in also leave us stories of those that fulfill the cliché of reality surpassing fiction.

“There is a volcano in my garden” It is one of those stories, that of a mother who sees how a fire hydrant appears in the courtyard of her house. It was one of the exits that was sought for that new volcano that we have been pending for three months.

Or that of Cuban spy that infiltrated a seminary with Felipe González and Cuban opponents in Madrid and from there came an absurd, almost comical story of intelligence and national fame.

Or the series about drug trafficking and corruption in the Civil Guard, with Internal Affairs admitting that “There is a serious problem of police corruption in the southern part of Spain.”

But the truth is that my favorite is the story of Esperanza Aguirre and the painting that turned out to be by Francisco de Goya. Because it has it all: family drama, inheritances, possible corruption, tax shenanigans, a builder and a pharaonic work and a central character who remains irresistible. Oh and about WhatsApp audios that sounded on our podcast and that, although they are real, they still seem surreal.


We have a thousand stories left out of this bulletin, which in addition to being the last of the year is also the longest.

What would it be like to have children with friends?What’s behind who donates his fortune to a City Council?, How did Zapatero and Madina meet?, How do we solve the problem of childhood obesity?Why are women still practicing so many episiotomies in childbirth?

The truth is that at we ask ourselves questions all the time. And the best thing is that we publish what we find out, the ideas that we have in mind and we contrast with people who know more than we do, although there is not always a very clear answer.

Journalism is news, but journalism is also doubt and next year we will have more. If you want to ask us questions, become a partner.

We return: January 10

This newsletter returns January 10th. Until then, I leave you in the podcast a daily recommendation that you can listen to in the app you use:

Have a good time. It has been a great pleasure to share this year with you. Be careful and happy holidays!

A hug,