By David Simmonds
Before cyber-cafes, cable TV and USA Today, Mexico travelers weren’t able to get much news in English, which had a definite on-the-road appeal. The world was much larger then and the simple act of crossing the border threw you into a land that could have been half-way around the world, where you would go days or weeks without hearing of floods, discoveries, scandals or baseball scores from home. The one single news source that you searched for, usually found in the larger cities and tourist locales, was an English-language newspaper out of Mexico City called The News. Founded in 1950, the tabloid-format paper ran wire stories from the States and abroad and domestic news compiled by staff reporters, as well as from stringers who lived in the expat communities. And, of course, in the summer, the baseball scores.
The News had a well-deserved reputation as being an editorial propaganda tool of the dictatorial PRI, which ran the country for over 70 years until the inauguration of Vicente Fox in 2000. Nonetheless, it was a staple of information for English-speakers and was our link to the rest of the world. A news-junkie like me would read every word. And then, after nearly 60 years of publication, it shut down, reportedly due to financial woes.
Now, after a nearly five-year hiatus, The News is publishing once more, owned by Victor Hugo O’Farrill Avila, the grandson of the original owner. He has indicated that there would be no editorial content pressure from the government or advertisers and that the paper would be independent and unbiased. In a country with one of the highest journalist murder rates in the world, it will be interesting to see the direction that they take.