«Salvatore» Aragonés: Tribute to a Fine Journalist on His Retirement

01/06/12
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On Wednesday, 30 May 2012, Salvador Aragonés, a professor and the former dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences, was honoured with a tribute at the UIC to celebrate his retirement. The event, which was presided over by UIC Rector Pere Alavedra, was intimate and moving. It featured a laudatory speech by the current dean, Ivan Lacasa, and a speech by Aragonés himself, whose words touched the audience.

«Salvatore» Aragonés: Tribute to a Fine Journalist on His Retirement

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UIC Rector Pere Alavedra
told the journalist that, although certain considerations are important at this
stage of life, he should bear in mind that the Spanish word for retirement (jubilación) comes
from the word “jubilation”. His words preceded the laudatory speech, which was
given by Iván Lacasa,
the dean of the faculty.

Dr. Lacasa
pointed out that, throughout the course of the professional career of the first
dean of the UIC Faculty of Communication Sciences,
it was his eight-year stint as a correspondent in Rome that set this journalist
and doctor apart (he received his degree in journalism from the Universidad de
Navarra and his doctoral degree from the UIC). Among his many professional
accomplishments, Dr. Lacasa highlighted his work at the Europa Press in
Catalonia, his professional reputation and his renowned integrity, his tendency
to appoint and support young teams, and his famous scoops, including Franco’s appointment
of King Juan Carlos I as his successor and the legendary phrase the King said
to Jordi
Pujol, i.e. "Tranquil, Jordi" (Stay calm, Jordi), during the coup d'état of 23 February 1981. Summing
up, the dean quoted the words of the journalist's guru,
Emil Dovifat, who said “the journalist acts and questions”.

Aragonés responded
by saying that in the perfect academic setting there would be a shift from theory to practice within professional teaching. It
is no coincidence that this point of view reflects the concept of an agency:
the word comes from the Latin word agentia, “doing”. And the first
thing a journalist must learn how to do is summarize a good story in a headline
to ensure it attracts readers. “Salvatore”, as he was known by his colleagues
in Rome, said
that his time as a correspondent, along with his work as an agency journalist,
marked his professional career and allowed him meet to many different people. He reeled off numerous anecdotes, such as the time a
Vatican source accused him of being a Russian spy after he accurately
pronounced the Russian name “Vladimir”.

Aragonés
stressed that journalism is about life and that practising it professionally
requires virtues (the word comes from the Latin for courage), as well as
respect for people and the truth when fully exercising one's freedom, which is
understood as an intellectual power that lives within us and, for some, is a
key part of them. Therefore, journalism should be based on three cornerstones
or skills: text (using language to convey a message), knowledge (having an
in-depth understanding of a wide range of subject matters) and context (in order
to interpret whether facts are of interest to people).

Professor Salvador
Aragonés gave a special mention to the academic value
of the work carried out by the groups in the university community and the
administrative and services personnel, which were particularly relevant during
the formation of the new Faculty of Communication Sciences, to which he was
assigned as the first dean of the UIC.

"Last but not least"

On a more personal note, Aragonés defined himself as “a half
Roman, half Navarran Catalan” and then, with the phrase “last but not least”, he
also talked about his family (his wife and eight children) who, he said, had
made it possible for him to endure the ups and downs of his professional
career.

 

The
text of the speech given by Professor Toni Piqué
from
the Faculty of Communication Sciences:

In
1998, when I was looking to contract services for a publishing project I was
running, I met Salvador
Aragonés (born in Reus in 1942), who at the
time was the Catalan delegate for Europa Press. He handled many different areas
of work with great professionalism at a time when the Internet was still very
much in its early stages. Since then I have followed his professional career
with interest and affection and it has been a great pleasure to attend this
tribute as a fellow UIC professor.