When he began his political career in 1995, Portas already had a track record in journalism. He had worked at A Tarde and Semanário (the weekly) and later founded O Independente (The Independent) - a publication which included a range of critiques of politics, politicians and current governments
Paulo Sacadura Cabral Portas. Loved by some, hated by others. Everyone recognises his ability and competence and his work inevitably marks a whole generation: generation Indy.
Son of the journalist Helena Sacadura Cabral, his media path starts in 1975, as an intern in a newspaper of the time, O Tempo. He was only 15 years old but he knew how to hold his own and earn his place. And he also reveals confidence when he starts colliding with the director, Nuno Rocha.
Paulo Portas turns Journalism into Politics and Politics into Journalism.
On the day he turns 18, Sá Carneiro signs his militant form for the Social Democratic Party. Portas would even become the associate director of the newspaper Pelo Socialismo, the official mouthpiece of the Social Democratic Youth, directed by Manuel Moreira. He goes on to work for the newspaper A Tarde before he joins Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa’s team in Semanário, to later actively support Diogo Freitas do Amaral’s presidential campaign.
At his birthday dinner, in 1987, he shares with Miguel Esteves Cardoso the idea of starting a new newspaper. With Luís Nobres Guedes’ support, he gathers names like Manuel Falcão, Inês Serra Lopes, Maria Filomena Mónica or Vasco Pulido de Valente.
A year later, O Independente is born. Between Miguel Esteves Cardoso’s genius and Paulo Portas’ instinct, journalism in Portugal would never be the same.
During the absolute power of the Social Democratic Party and Cavaco Silva, a new right-wing is born in Portugal. In the creativity of the titles, the irreverent style and the excellence of the investigation, ministers and public figures are overthrown. There are few moments in History when a news outlet has conditioned political life so much. The country waits for Friday to know who O Independente will “kill”. That’s the exact term. Portas’ headlines were lethal.
The new style scares the elderly and gathers a following amongst the youth. Generation Indy is born. Between readers and journalists. O Independente launches and sets work principles among dozens of names that mark journalism in Portugal to this day.
But Paulo Portas wants more. He extends his influence beyond the pages of the newspaper. He creates, supports and shapes a new trend in CDS. Made in his image and likeness, through the figure of Manuel Monteiro. In his editorials, he promotes this movement that eventually would get the leadership of the party. The historical members step aside, the old CDS almost vanishes and something new is born: Popular Party..
When Cavaco Silva steps aside, Paulo Portas is the first to realise that the end of this political cycle is the end of O Independente’s path. The work was done. He leaves the newspaper he had created in order to focus on politics, in the party he had also created.
O Independente would last a few more years. Paulo Portas would last a lot more. He forms three coalitions with PSD, the party he had helped overthrow years prior. He’s a four-time minister. In 2016 he leaves the leadership of CDS and active politics. At least for now.