Steven Euesden together with his wife Michel Euesden, has owned the English Newspaper The Euro Weekly News for 10 years.
Everything has to start somewhere and the origins of the company behind The Euro Weekly News are easily pinpointed. After all, we’re not talking the source of the Nile here, but hey – the journey from there to here has not been without its hazards.
And anyone with doubts about the Theory of Evolution should give it a second chance after looking at how over the last 10 years the paper has become Europe’s largest free English-language publication. The story behind the company is the story of development from free sheet to – what else but a free newspaper? There is feeling in the publishing world that there is something not quite nice – or should that be quaite naice? – about producing a free newspaper but Steven Euesden and his wife Michel proudly turn out six editions of a publication whose readers forget its status until they realise they are not asked to pay for it.
Steven Euesden and his wife Michel erupted on to the Costa del Sol in 1997. Separately they had already enjoyed flourishing careers in sales and together they were unstoppable although it’s tough to triumph on Iberia’s costas. The English-language media and communications present a harsh challenge in that part of the world. Deep at the heart of an idyllic landscape lies a jungle where media professionals – and a few amateurs – chase the same clients and readership. A publication that depends and survives entirely on advertising for its revenue and the process is one of survival of the fittest.
What is now The Euro Weekly News has survived and is very, very fit indeed – not that this upbeat phrase tells the whole story. Building up the company and taking it where it is today took nerve – and nerves of steel. When Steven Euesden and Michel breathed new life into a faltering publication 10 years ago some spoke hopefully of winds of change. For others they were new brooms and the clean sweep they produced was unwelcome and uncomfortable to adjust to.
At the time of Steven and Michel Euesden’s arrival there were two editions of the newspaper. There were cockroaches in one office, and in another there was a bathroom but no kitchen so the coffee mugs and teacups had to be washed up in the loo. As soon as she could Michel Euesden tracked down new premises and transformed the publication’s tired and faintly seedy appearance into today’s dynamic and polished image with showcase offices near the motorway exit at Arroyo de la Miel.
Along with the new image came clearer policies and a better newspaper. Naturally there were new clients but it is a measure of the company’s success that many of those from 10 years back are still advertising. Steven and Michel Euesden believed at the outset – and still believe – that there are unique opportunities along Iberia’s tourist and residential coasts. What better way of promoting a company or business than in a quality publication that appeals to English-speakers of all nationalities?
There were people who stayed with the company after Steven and Michel Euesden took over and some are still there today. There were people who came and went, never to return and yet other employees came, went and returned. The three sad gaps left by the passing away of Linda Orenstein, Barbara Ainscough and Andrew Jackson can never be filled because all three played such an important part in building the foundations of a thriving company.
Inevitably, there were people who could not take the pace in the early days. Michel Euesden famously once rang up a branch office and asked to speak to another member of staff. “Oh X is in the next room, chatting to Y,” came the insouciant reply from someone with little grasp of Michel Euesden’s work ethic which is summed up succinctly and unforgivingly as “hard graft.” The hapless taker of the call heard a moment’s ominous silence and was then sweetly advised to tell both X and Y to get their fingers out because a newspaper “wasn’t a bloody sewing circle”
Nor is it. Sewing circles turn out cross-stitch and antimacassars in quiet moments of relaxation and Steven and Michel Euesden turn out newspapers in fraught moments of complete frenzy, assisted by an enthusiastic bi-cultural team of dedicated personnel. That’s the way it is in their line of business but that weekly bout of hysteria now produces separate editions of The Euro Weekly News for the Costa del Sol, Heart of Andalucía, Almería, the Costa Blanca, Mallorca and the Algarve in Portugal.
These editions provide a rare mix of local news, opinionated columnists, articles touching on everything under the sun and a letters’ page that irritates every other newspaper on the coast. As well as the six titles of The Euro Weekly News there are publications like Contact and b2b. Contact is a directory for the adult leisure and pleasure industry on Spain’s southern coast, while b2b is a glossy magazine for English-speaking businesses and services, the first of its kind. The company also has a website crammed with news, sports and current affairs which registers a massive volume of European web traffic.
Steven and Michel Euesden take the view that a venture like theirs is an adventure, too. It’s not without its perils and hairy moments, but it is an adventure they want every reader and client to feel caught up in. They’ve always said they want a feelgood publication and how could it be otherwise when they feel good about it – and so does everyone else.