O «Grande Jornalzinho» da Rua dos Calafates
Pedro Foyos do justice to the pioneering role that Diário de Notícias played in our Media industry to value the news and creating a new distribution model
In the late afternoon of the 1st of February, 1908, reports of an event that changed the History of the country arrived to the newsroom of Diário de Notícias.
The king of Portugal had been murdered.
There, “right next” to the newsroom of the daily publication, the monarch and the royal prince D. Luís Filipe had succumbed to the riffle shots.
The news spread panic in Diário de Notícias.
The first page that got ahead of the headline
By then, the first page of the next day’s edition was ready.
There was a corner on the bottom of the first page, dedicated to “Breaking News,” but it was unworthy of an incident of such importance.
Getting another first page ready was impractical, the procedure would take hours and delay the publication of the newspaper, at a time when the country yearned for news.
A delay of mere minutes could jeopardise half of the edition, since the copies were taken by train to the main cities of the country.
The idea of publishing a supplement arose.
In extraordinarily relevant situations, Diário de Notícias had used that method before, publishing a single sheet to inform the readers.
The idea was abandoned, since it was impossible to print the day’s edition and the supplement at the same time.
Furthermore, three hours after the regicide, the available information was not enough to fill one page.
Diário de Notícias’ journalists predicted a long night in the newsroom.
Between fabricated reports and emotional testimonies of the tragedy that had taken place hours prior in Terreiro do Paço, reporters searched the streets for credible information.
In the feverish atmosphere of the newsroom, redactor Luiz Trigueiros gathered the few known facts: the king and prince had died, widow Dona Amélia and her son D. Manuel were alive and the authors of the attack, “possibly only two”, were killed at the scene and taken to the morgue.
Hours were going by and a decision was needed.
An unprecedented procedure took place.
The text of the first page, across eight columns, went down in block.
The final lines, at the bottom of the page, were blindly cut. In an attempt not to completely ruin the articles, some were excluded.
At the top of the first page, there was room for a title of three lines, followed by introductory prose.
The rest of the alignment remained unaltered.
The “serious attack against the royal family” shared the first page with the usual sections, such as “Parties and diversions of the day” and “Poverty contest”.
The information on the regicide was exclusively limited to the headline.
The text, that is thought to have been written by “the main redactor,” Brito Aranha, resembled an editorial, with a peculiar beginning: “We won’t inform the population of Lisbon of news that will surprise them, in its essence”, he wrote.
The mission of Diário de Notícias was clear: “to report, without commenting them, the facts occurred yesterday.”
The reader was told to turn to page 2, where there was “information concerning the attack”: the possible story, among contradictions and speculation.
The first page was chosen, but the newsroom didn’t take a break. From the typography, there were rumours that the printing press of the rival newspaper, O Século, worked at an unprecedented pace…
The New King
On the 3rd of February, two days after the regicide, the new king was the protagonist of the first page.
Diário de Notícias wished that D. Manuel II, the “young prince that even two days ago no one thought would be so close to sit on the royal throne,” was as “prosperous” as the first monarch of that name.
The first page included archive images, showing, other than the new king, the place of the murder, the resigning patriarch of Lisbon and the advisor Ferreira do Amaral, who has the responsibility of creating a new Ministry.
The coverage of an event of such importance and unpredictably showed the graphic difficulties that, by then, would still arise for a daily newspaper.
Only three days after the attack, on the 4th of February, did the first pictures appear, with special emphasis on the corpse of the killers and other victims.
Since there were no photographic records of the moment of the murder, foreign illustrators made reconstitutions, more or less imaginative, that were published on the pages of worldwide magazines.
In spite of the questionable interpretation of the facts, many were reproduced by the national press, giving colour to one of the bloodiest events of the History of the Portuguese royal family.
For 20 days, the regicide was on the pages of Diário de Notícias.
The funerals of D. Carlos e D. Luís Filipe, attended by foreign delegations, were the subject of many pages, illustrated by drawings.
A story was starting to be written. It would culminate two years later, with the implantation of the Republic in Portugal.
That 1st of February went down in the History of Diário de Notícias as the day when the news that couldn’t not be reported arrived when the edition was already completed.