Few journalists can include the “ex-editor” on their resume so many times. Juan Francisco Sardaña Fabiani, Paco Sardaña, put his name at the head of at least four newspapers: “La Provincia” (Las Palmas, 1968-1972), “La Verdad” (Murcia, 1972-1982), “Canarias7” (Las Palmas , 1982-84), “Information” (Alicante, twice, in 1984 and in 1987-88). Furthermore, in his capacity as attached to the general director of Prensa Ibérica (EPI), he participated in the founding of several group newspapers in Murcia, Granada, Malaga and Zamora, as he had done in “Canarias7”, of which he was founder and director. An intense and varied career path that speaks better than any resume of his vocation and journalistic ability.
Paco was born in Valencia on June 28, 1941. Cancer has prevented him from turning 80 this coming summer. The maternal surname, Fabiani, is written on the facades of the Cathedral of San Nicolás and the monastery of the Holy Face, since a Valencian predecessor of his, surely of Italian origin, preached in both churches. He began his studies at the Colegio El Pilar, of the Marianists, of Valencia and Madrid. He took law courses at the University of Valencia and graduated in Information Sciences from the Church’s School of Journalism, located in Madrid next to the “San Pablo” College, on the Complutense campus. He followed regional press courses in France and Italy, lessons that he would always remember when from “La Verdad” he promoted, following the example of the “Ouest-France” the editions of Murcia, Cartagena, Alicante, Elche and Albacete. His first years as a journalist were in the Editorial Office of the Catholic weekly “Signo” and in the agencies “Associated Press” and “Logos”. Between 1963 and 1967 he was in “La Verdad”, in Murcia, editor, head of the Regional Information section and editor-in-chief, until 1968 he moved for the first time to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to lift the print run, already as director , to the newspaper «La Provincia». From there he would return to his long ten-year period at the helm of “La Verdad”, where the director’s residence was in the same building occupied by the Editorial Office and the linotype, clothing and printing workshops. His life passed those years from one floor to another, from top to bottom, smelling both he and his wife and children the smell of lead and ink.
From that address in Murcia he called me at my home in the early hours of November 20, 1975 to tell me to go out to the streets of Alicante to look for the first reactions and impressions on the death of Franco. I remember very well that call that I got out of bed at dawn. It would be around three. In the bathroom, while I was washing myself, I put on a small pocket transistor and I verified that on Radio Nacional they were still playing dance music. I called the «La Verdad» switchboard so that they could put me through to the director and I said: «Paco, don’t play jokes on me at this hour I’ve woken up my wife and the girl almost woke up. How could Franco have died if RNE continues with its usual programming at dawn? ». “Take my advice, go out and find your life, which will be followed by several of the first edition with Franco’s agony”. So it was, up to five editions. In the third, a chronicle of mine was already included on the cover of that edition that told how the moments were when Franco’s death was known in the then “José Antonio Prison House”, where Pilar Primo de Rivera and all the top leaders of the Regime in the province they attended a mass in which for the first time, at the moment of the prayer to the deceased, the dictator Generalissimo, the maximum leader of the Movement and life head of the State, was summoned together with the founder of the Falange. That first chronicle, enlarged, was also sent to “Cambio16”, of which I was a correspondent as well as “La Vanguardia”. She headed the chronicle of the Madrid magazine special that did not reach newsstands because she was kidnapped. In the following editions of that day in “La Verdad” appeared new texts sent by telephone from the Editorial Office of Navas Street to Murcia. Paco Sardaña, in our new professional meeting in «Information», gave me a few years ago all the editions of «La Verdad» of 11/20/1975 that now, digitized, are kept in the File of Democracy of the University of Alicante.
Juan Francisco Sardaña was a member of the Press Associations of how many places was, as well as the Federation of Press Associations and a short-lived club of directors from Alicante. He had the National Journalism Award «M. Medina ”, the Extraordinary Prize of the National Lottery for the best diffusion in the written press, in addition to other journalistic and article awards. In 1975, I remember it well, he received the Civil Order of the Order of Agricultural Merit from a minister, Tomás Allende García-Baxter, whom I caused some problem when discovering the transit through Spain to the EEC of Moroccan citrus fruits, information that Paco published despite all the pressures, which were not few.
Rest in peace who was an example and friend to a broad generation of journalists, and welcome your widow, Lola Ripoll, and children (María Dolores, Juan Francisco, David, Miguel, Jaime and María Aurora) this testimony of remembrance and recognition of who was a builder of journalists.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.