Fremantle today announced plans to adapt the best-selling autobiography of David Jiménez, a former war reporter who became the embattled editor-in-chief of one of Europe’s leading newspapers.
El Director, a tell-all book about Jiménez’s year at the helm of El Mundo, shocked the political, business, and media establishment in Spain when it was released last April. The book broke a decade-long code of silence about corruption in the national media and became an instant sensation. Presidents, kings, ministers, bankers, money lords, infiltrators and journalists-for-hire are part of Jiménez’s frank and intimate account from the frontlines of a newsroom fighting for survival.
El Director topped the non-fiction charts in Spain when released, with the Spanish edition having sold over 45,000 copies in its first five months.
“In a time when journalism is under siege in so many places, I am glad that the story of resistance of El Director has resonated with so many readers. When journalists seek truth, they often find foes. It’s our job to stand against them and take the side of the public. Fremantle is the perfect partner to carry that message to new audiences around the world,” said Jiménez.
Nathalie Garcia and Manuel Tera, the CEO and the Executive Producer of Fremantle in Spain, added: “We’re incredibly privileged to be working with David and to bring El Director to screens. The book brings to light what’s behind the newspaper’s headlines and the influence and hold that the elite can have over a country. It also allows us to better know the life of the Editor-in-Chief through his challenges and struggles. We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work on such an exciting and meaningful project.”
David Jiménez was appointed editor-in-chief of El Mundo in 2015 after two decades covering conflicts, revolutions and natural disasters around the world, especially in Asia. What seemed like an exciting challenge soon became a battle to defend the newspaper’s independence against a political and economic establishments determined to bring it down. 366 editions of the paper later, he was sacked. It would be the start of an unprecedented legal battle in which the author challenged the system and exposed an alliance of political parties, big corporations and media executives working to suppress freedom of the press in the country.
In El Director, Jiménez portraits the inside life of a newsroom with a bluntness that has provoked a huge stir in the country’s press corps. By revealing the secretive way in which journalists operate, the rivalries and intrigues between colleagues, and the raw powerplays that take place in a newsroom, he has broken a long-standing journalistic rule that states that “firemen don’t stand on each other’s hoses.”
“We journalists love to tell a great story, just not ours. But if we want to regain the trust of our audience, we should start by being honest about our flags and the things that gone wrong in our business,” Jimenez says.
Jiménez is the author of four books and has reported for The Guardian, The Toronto Star, The Sunday Times and others. He has contributed for the BBC and CNN. For the last year and a half, he has been a columnist for the Spanish Edition of the New York Times. He is a 2015 Nieman fellow at Harvard University.