History of International Newspapers: La Stampa in Italy

About the International newspaper La Stampa published in Italy, history and information.

LA STAMPA (Turin, Italy)

The Past. Over the past 100 years La Stampa has had a colorful history, complete with political entanglements and editorial heroism. It was founded as Gazetta Piedmontese in Turin in 1867. In 1895, 2 outstanding editors--Luigi Roux and Alfredo Frassati--bought it and changed its name to La Stampa ("The Press"). Frassati later bought out Roux. Under his direction, it became one of the leading liberal voices in Italy.

When the fascists took control in 1925, Frassati was asked to sign a fascist card. He refused. Realizing he could no longer keep the paper alive and liberal, he sold it in 1926. It reopened with a fascist staff and remained fascist until after W. W. II.

In 1948, Dr. Giulio de Benedetti, an incredibly hardworking journalist, became editor. Under him, the writing became clearer and livelier, and the physical appearance of the paper brightened. Most Italian papers were wordy, pompous, tightly packed with type. La Stampa was the opposite. In his 70s, De Benedetti was still working in the La Stampa office every day, toiling until early morning supervising minute details.

In the 1950s, La Stampa was bought by Fiat, the automobile company, which continues to own it to this day. Such ownership is almost a necessity in Italy, where newspaper readership and advertising are low.

The Present. Without a doubt, La Stampa is the most important paper in Turin and the surrounding area. It combines a strong local emphasis with national authority and prestige. In addition to the morning edition, it puts out Stampa Sera ("Evening Press") in the afternoon.

La Stampa is slightly left of center, according to Frank Brutto, an authority on the Italian press. It supports government programs for domestic reform and often agrees with Italy's Socialist party on social issues. It is liberal in the Old European way--antifascist, but also anticommunist. La Stampa, concerned with social problems, pushes constantly for economic and social change. In spite of the fact that it is owned by Fiat, it has a great degree of editorial independence.

La Stampa, unlike most Italian papers, has a "letters from readers" column, which contains everything from letters from those wanting help to those wanting to discuss deep philosophical issues.

More than any other Italian daily, it gives space to sports news and photographs; the back page, in fact, is often devoted to large pictures.

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