Part of Universal Stranger’s “mission”, if we have one at all, is to bring together like-minded creative people, so it was pleasing to learn that our June 3 profile of photographer Michele Mossop led to her re-establishing contact with long-lost former colleagues in the Italian media. One of the formative experiences in Michele’s career was the time she spent on Italian newspaper la Città, Quotidiano di Firenze during the early 1980s, a politically turbulent period, even by Italian standards. As part of our research for the piece, we tracked down the following video on YouTube – a photographic elegy to the people and ideals that once animated a paper which, like so many others, is no longer with us (Michele appears at 1.22, 1.23, 1.24 and 1.26):
Sigh; guaranteed to moisten the eye of many a former journalist and news photographer, especially in these post-print days (as Michele points out, the soundtrack – from Cinema Paradiso – doesn’t help). So what happened to la Città (The City)? Michele takes up the story:
“Just before I left the paper it was sold and changed masthead, then it became the bureau for the national newspaper la Repubblica, which is a fine paper, and an important one. For years it ran the same 10 questions to [then Prime Minister Silvio] Berlusconi every day [see note below]. Over time I lost touch with the people, and lost touch with the politics completely after the Berlin Wall fell. When I worked there we were all – apart from the editor and maybe a couple of others – in our 20s. The paper’s ‘rivers of gold’ was la Pulce – the flea – a classified ads publication just like the Trading Post. It’s the same in journalism everywhere.”
The 10 questions were in reference to Berlusconi’s alleged affair with an 18-year-old (more background here). The questions below were taken from la Repubblica‘s website; not sure why they address Berlusconi as “Mr President”: a sarcastic reference, perhaps, to the impression he once gave of harbouring ambitions to become the country’s head of state?