On our way back from our last trip together to Miami, in February 2003, a snow storm in New York forced us to spend two days in Atlanta. We decided to take advantage of the extended vacation, and the first thing that Julio suggested to do was to visit the headquarters of CNN. I was rather surprised by his choice. I did not think that he would be particularly interested in that kind of visit. Julio had already seen lots of T.V. news studios; he even worked in some of them. But Julio wanted me to understand something else by showing me the dozens of journalists who moved frantically from one location to another as we, the quintessential tourists, looked at them as if they were fishes in an aquarium. At the end of the tour, he asked me if had finally understood why he was constantly communicating, every minute, with Lucia, Pilar, Lidia, Juan, Mercedes, Isabel, Ana, Montse, Albert, Barbara and everyone else. Even if they all worked for different newspapers and different companies, his colleagues were an informal editorial team that virtually gathered in the living room of our small apartment in the Village. More than getting an exclusive (I was convinced that getting an exclusive was the ultimate goal of the journalist and in particular of a correspondent) Julio was interested in communicating and exchanging ideas with the people that he respected. Even when he traveled throughout the U.S. (and I believe in his six years in the United States, Julio visited all corners of this enormous country that equally fascinated and irritated him), Julio almost never went alone. The official excuse was that he had no driver's license and a he needed a colleague to drive him while he served as a copilot with his impeccable and innate sense of direction. In reality, he would be often joined by Idoya, who also did not have a driver’s license. And with her, hitchhiking a bit and making use a bit of public transport, they would always arrive to where they had to go. The important thing was to bring wherever he went a piece of his extended and informal editorial team.
I used to joke with Julio that I was his free-of-charge news producer, because he always commented or discussed with me the articles he was writing or ran by me an idea he had for “Testigo Directo”, the prestigious last-page column of El Mundo that was his favorite to write. But while he would give me plenty of details while he was researching or writing the article, once he had sent it to Madrid, he would become completely uninterested in it afterwards. I believe I was never able to convince him to read me a piece he had already sent. “It’s a little silly piece” he would tell me when I asked him to read his published stuff. And so, I read his articles on El Mundo website or I waited for him to come back from one of his regular meetings with Carlos Fresneda, the El Mundo bureau chief in New York at the time. He always came back with a bundle of copies of the paper with his articles hot off the press from Spain, but he immediately put them on a shelf and would rather tell me of the progresses of Carlos and Isabel’s children: Miguel and Alberto, who anxiously waited for Julio to play with him as if he were a boy of their own age. Once written, he lost all interest in his articles, Julio was already all focused on the new story. He was aware of his value as a journalist and got sad and bitter when he felt that his bosses did not properly acknowledge his work, but he was really a journalist because he did not linger on the past; even the past of the day before, unless it was relevant to the story of today or tomorrow.