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History and profile
In those early years of Romanian journalism after the fall of Communism, many of the stories in the Romanian newspapers (even the serious ones) were actually made up. Evenimentul Zilei also had its share of bizarre stories, such as reports of "smuggling of headless cats".
However, the most famous episode was a series of articles regarding a hen which gave birth to a live chicken. The original article was published on 2 October 1993. As many readers were interested in more details, Evenimentul Zilei published several other articles on this theme, placing the event in the Republic of Moldova (in order to be harder to verify) and giving the testimony of an alleged leading Moldovan scientist. The author, Cătălin Ştefănescu, later said that he made up that article because Ion Cristoiu, the chief editor, demanded every reporter to write three articles each day and he expected that the article would go unnoticed.
The newspaper reached its peak daily circulation of 675,000 in 1993. In 1997 Chief Editor Ion Cristoiu quit and this job was taken by Cornel Nistorescu.
The newspaper was purchased along with its parent company Expres Publishing in 1998 by the German company Gruner+Jahr (owned, in turn, by Bertelsmann), which later, in 2003 sold it to the Swiss press trust Ringier; at the time of purchase, Ringier representatives stated that there would be no direct or indirect intervention in the newspaper's editorial policy.
In September 2004 more than 50 Evenimentul zilei journalists protested Ringier's management decisions. Similar issues were raised at the same time at rival daily România liberă, owned by Germany's WAZ-Mediengruppe. At both papers, journalists have complained that foreign owners are telling them to lessen the political coverage and tone down their negative reporting of the government. Their concern has been echoed by a variety of organizations including the Open Society Foundation. After this scandal, Evenimentul Zilei became one of the most fervent attackers of the government's corruption.
Ten days after Năstase's defeat in the 13 December 2004 runoff elections, Ringier group moved the EZ editor-in-chief, Dan Turturică, to Bacău (officially, to look into the possibility of starting a free newspaper there) and began changing the editorial policy, to become a tabloid. As a response, 80 journalists signed a protest against these decisions and organized rallies in front of the Swiss and EU embassies. Subsequent negotiations were unsuccessful and on 4 January 2005, 30 journalists resigned, in addition to another five that resigned several days earlier. Paid circulation dropped at least 40% from a high of over 100,000. (Gallagher, 2005)
- Business Magazin, "Evenimentele Evenimentului", nr. 8/2005 (8 March 2005), p. 68
- Academia Caţavencu, "Oda de slavă - 'Găina naşte pui vii'", nr. 8/2005 (2 March 2005), p. 23
- Gallagher, Tom (2005) "Silencing the Media", Transitions On-line, 14 February 2005.
- (Romanian) Evenimentul Zilei's home page