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From Mattei to the present day: Eni leading the conversation

Enrico Mattei, Eni’s founder, was among the first to understand the importance and power of the media and its role in modern society. Eni’s focus on the media and ability to generate quality, original editorial content continues to this day.

by Eni Staff
07 February 2020
8 min read
byEni Staff
07 February 2020
8 min read

'Gatto selvatico'

In 1955, Mattei decided to launch Eni’s own magazine. Not just a company mouthpiece, but a wide-ranging editorial publication whose credibility would be built on distinguished bylines, starting with its editor: leading intellectual, writer and poet Attilio Bertolucci.

Mattei was clear in his vision: a modern, illustrated news magazine that could be read with equal interest by the Italian president and by Eni engineers focusing on drills and technical issues.

Bertolucci suggested calling the magazine Gatto Selvatico, from the English “wildcat”, the term used to describe the first oil prospectors. It was a suggestion wholeheartedly welcomed by Mattei. Bertolucci went on to create something that went beyond a mere account of the company’s success to explore the reality of life outside Eni.

Bertolucci’s declared aim was to publish a magazine that would be both “useful and enjoyable”. On the one hand, it was to be educated and thoughtful in telling its readers about their cultural surroundings; on the other, it had to be informative and able to tackle lighter subjects, with all articles being handled by eminent writers. Bertolucci ran the magazine until 1963, when he was replaced by Eni manager Franco Briatico, whose opinions on social issues Mattei particularly trusted.

During the magazine’s 10-year run, which ended in 1965, it published work by some of Italy’s leading literary and cultural figures. These included Giorgio Caproni (who wrote La tromba del silenzio for the first issue), Alfonso Gatto, Filiberto Menna, Carlo Cassola, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Leonardo Sciascia, Raffaele La Capria and Enzo Siciliano, among many others. Their subjects embraced Italian and foreign literature, including contemporary literary themes.

Il Giorno: the role of the state in the economy

While Mattei was publishing Eni’s own original and cultural in-house publication, he was also having to deal with the aftermath of the idealistic and political battle that had led him to establish Eni. In particular, he had to fight those who wanted Eni to give up its market to smaller private companies. Aware of the need for a public discussion that could speak to Italy’s contemporary and future ruling classes, he took a leading role, as majority shareholder, in setting up the newspaper Il Giorno in Milan in 1956. Visually and intellectually innovative for its time, the newspaper became a breeding ground for many young journalists of that and future generations.

'Il Giorno': the role of the State in the economy

In those same years, while giving Eni its own original and cultured in-house publication, Mattei was still dealing with the aftermath of the idealistic and political battle that had led him to successfully establish Eni. In particular, he had to fight against the ideological accusations of those who wanted this big company to relinquish the sector it occupied to private owners. Being aware of the need for a cultural and journalistic conversation that could speak to Italy's contemporary and future ruling class, in 1956, as majority shareholder, he took a leading role in establishing the newspaper 'Il Giorno' in Milan. The newspaper was visually and intellectually very innovative for the times, and it became a hub and breeding ground for many young journalists of that generation, as well as future ones.

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'Ecos': the first "Eni magazine" of the post-Mattei era

Ecos, which was launched in 1972 by Gianni Rocca, head of the press office during Raffaele Girotti’s chairmanship, commissioned some of the great names of Italian literature. These included Primo Levi, Alberto Bevilacqua, Giorgio Saviane and Roberto Vacca, as well as outstanding illustrators and photographers such as Carla Accardi, Giovanni Hajnal[KR1] , Lucio Castagneri, Francesco Manzini, Emilio Tadini and Giovanni Tinelli. Inspired by the same philosophy as Gatto Selvatico, its name was chosen because it was short and easy to remember, recalling the “E” of “Eni” and “energy”, but also of “economy” and “ecology”.

Published in Italian and English with around 100 pages per issue, Ecos appeared every two months and was distributed free to Eni employees and to leading figures in politics, business, the arts and journalism, both in Italy and abroad. The innovative idea behind it was to communicate in a single voice with both Eni employees and the world, to illustrate the group’s activities in Italy and abroad, and to connect distant countries.

Over 30 years, until it closed in 2002, hundreds of reports were produced all over the world and translated into different languages. Among its many achievements, Ecos was the first western corporate magazine to produce and distribute special issues in China printed in Chinese, Kazakh and Cyrillic.

 

 

 

From Oil to Orizzonti: the magazines of the new millennium

In May 2008, Eni was back on the newsstands with a new and ambitious publishing project. This time it was called Oil Magazine, a tabloid quarterly that featured analysis and high-level debate on the world of energy, environmental sustainability and development. Its editorial committee, coordinated by Lucia Annunziata, also included Harold W. Kroto, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The first issue, distributed in May to an Italian and international audience of companies and scientific and academic institutions, featured an exclusive interview with the leading Israeli writer Abraham Yehoshua.

Almost 10 years later, in 2017,  Oil Magazine changed its name and underwent a redesign to become WE – World Energy. The exclusive reference to oil in the old title had become too narrow for Eni’s modern-day range of activities and ambitions. The impressive archive – 230 interviews, 400 articles and 750 maps and infographics – is part of a history that now forms the deep roots of WE – World Energy, run since its inception by Mario Sechi, who today also leads the AGI press agency, part of Eni since 1965.

 

A new publication was added to Eni’s print portfolio in 2018. Orizzonti is a monthly publication devoted to the Val d’Agri in the Basilicata region, where Eni owns and manages the biggest onshore oil field in western Europe.

The digital era

As the 21st century progressed, it became increasingly clear that the future of global publishing was online. After the boom in web publishing shook up journalism, various online papers started to appear in Italy. Eni was among these pioneers. Alongside our official website and the online version of About Oil (later renamed About Energy), Eniday was launched in 2015 with a feature by its editor Marco Alfieri, reflecting the aims of the new online publication.

“Energy is a good story” it declared, as the magazine aimed to cover not just the worlds of energy and Eni but also of science and research. Reports from the various countries in which Eni operates accompanied scientific analysis and technical briefings.

In 2019, after four years of valuable contributions to Eni’s gallery of words and images, Eniday and About Energy were merged into Eni.com, which today carries all our digital content: a single ecosystem for all the information, stories and analysis on our world.