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From Mattei to the present day: Eni leading the conversation

Eni’s commitment to provide information and its ability to come up with new, original editorial content continues to this day.

by Eni Staff
7 min read
byEni Staff
7 min read

'Gatto selvatico'

In 1955, Mattei decided that the time had come for Eni to launch its own magazine. Not just a company mouthpiece, but a real publication whose credibility would be built on those writing for it – not least its editor. The project was entrusted to the great intellectual, writer and poet Attilio Bertolucci. Mattei’s vision for the publication was clear: it was to be a modern, illustrated news magazine that would pique the interest of all readers – from the Italian president to the engineers drilling Eni’s wells. Eni’s founder willingly accepted Bertolucci’s suggestion to name the magazine Gatto Selvatico – a translation of the English “wildcat”, which was an expression used to describe the first oil prospectors. The idea was to create something that went beyond reporting company success stories to explore the reality of life outside the business.

Bertolucci’s 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 informing its readers of their cultural context; on the other, it had to be informative and able to tackle lighter issues. That it achieved both is thanks to its high-calibre 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: Giorgio Caproni (who wrote the short story La tromba del silenzio or The Trumpet of Silence for the first issue), Alfonso Gatto, Filiberto Menna, Carlo Cassola, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Leonardo Sciascia, Raffaele La Capria, Enzo Siciliano and many more, who discussed Italian and foreign literary themes in both classic and modern works.

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

At the same time as providing Eni with its own original and cultural in-house publication, Mattei was still dealing with the aftermath of the ideological and political battle that had led to Eni’s successful foundation. In particular, he had to fight the opinions of those who wanted Eni to give up its market to private companies. Aware of the importance of debate in engaging with the Italian establishment, Mattei took a leading role, as majority shareholder, in setting up the newspaper Il Giorno in Milan in 1956. As well as featuring innovative graphic design and editorial content, the newspaper became a training ground for many young journalists of that and future generations.

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

Ecos, launched in 1972 by Gianni Rocca, head of the press office during Raffaele Girotti’s chairmanship, included contributions from some of the great names in Italian literature.  These included Primo Levi, Alberto Bevilacqua, Giorgio Saviane and Roberto Vacca, as well as legendary illustrators and photographers such as Carla Accardi, Giovanni Hajnal, Lucio Castagneri, Francesco Manzini, Emilio Tadini and Giovanni Tinelli. Inspired by the philosophy of Gatto Selvatico, its name was chosen for being short and easy to remember, reflecting the “E” of “Eni” and “energy”, as well as the words “economy” and “ecology”.

Published in Italian and English, with an average 100 pages per issue, Ecos appeared every two months and was distributed free to Eni Group employees as well as to leading figures in politics, business, the arts and journalism in Italy and abroad. The idea behind it was to communicate in a single voice with both Eni employees and the world, to illustrate the group’s activities and connect distant countries. Over its lifetime, hundreds of reports were produced from around the globe and translated into different languages. Ecos was the first western corporate magazine to produce and distribute special issues in China, printed in Chinese, and the first to publish versions in Kazakh and Cyrillic. The final edition was produced in 2002, 30 years after the first edition.

From Oil to Orizzonti: the magazines of the new millennium

In 2008, Eni was ready to return to the newsstands with a new and ambitious publishing project. This time called Oil Magazine, it was a tabloid quarterly featuring 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.