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Spanish Monarchs Inaugurate EFE 75th Anniversary Exposition

MADRID – Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia on Tuesday inaugurated a major 75th anniversary exposition at Madrid’s Casa del Lector that looks at Agencia EFE’s role in covering the news in Spain and around the world.

King Juan Carlos toured the exposition and took an interest in the historical detail incorporated in the exhibits, picking up a rotary-dial phone and listening as a reporter read a story about the monarch’s arrival in Spain as a child in 1948.

The modest soccer shoes used by Zarra to score his historic goal in 1950, the 14-kilo (31-pound) bicycle ridden by Bahamontes when he won the Tour de France and the first mobile unit used by EFE to transmit photographs, an old Citroen van, are on display nearby.

“How things have changed,” a smiling King Juan Carlos said after seeing how a photo taken with one of today’s smartphones is transmitted instantly.

“You are very demanding,” King Juan Carlos told the reporters and photojournalists who surrounded him. “I understand you because I too have been a photographer.”

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria and Agencia EFE President Jose Antonio Vera, were the first visitors to the exposition, which through a tour of the first 75 years of the news agency’s history provides a window into the history of Spain and the world during those decades.

The Spanish monarchs presided over the King of Spain International Journalism Prizes and the Don Quixote Journalism Prize awards ceremony before going to the hall where Agencia EFE set up exhibits that use more than 400 photographs, 200 items, 100 documents and about 30 to tell the story of the agency’s technological development and its reporting of major events in Spain and the world.

The exposition also looks at contemporary journalism and what the future may bring, examining the challenges faced by the media and especially news agencies in coming years.

Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Ibero-America Jesus Gracia, Ibero-American Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan and SEPI CEO Ramon Aguirre were also on the inaugural tour of the exposition.

The exposition, which is divided by decade, explains how EFE used technology and its journalists told the big domestic and foreign stories that Spaniards lived in the past 75 years.

The high-tech exposition features enhanced reality technology from Valencia Polytechnic University that allows visitors to interact with exhibits using tablet computers and smartphones.

The photographs, documents and items on display serve as a gateway for the videos, historic recordings and photo galleries on display.

Curator Fernando Moreno showed King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia how they could use the technology to learn the background of the meeting between Spanish leader Francisco Franco and Adolf Hitler in Hendaya.

“EFE’75: Historia de la primera agencia global en español” (EFE’75: History of the First Global Agency in Spanish) runs until Jan. 11 at the Casa del Lector in Madrid.

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