Culture & History

Good News, Bad News, Or No News

The Miami Herald’s Mexico edition, which included an eight-page pull-out local news section, stopped publishing at the end of May 2007, leaving Mexico for the time being without an English language daily. The Herald started publishing the local paper, in partnership with Mexico’s El Universal, just over four years ago. A visit to the online address of the Herald’s Mexico edition will now redirect you to El Universal’s main page. The Herald’s launch in Mexico followed the closure of Novedades, which for five decades had published The News, a popular English language paper among visitors and the expatriate community.

The word is now that a member of Mexico’s O’Farrill family, which owned Novedades, is planning to relaunch The News soon.

In its final edition, the Herald mentioned the economic and other problems facing newspapers everywhere, but added that “there is a definite need for an English language publication in Mexico that serves expats, tourists and Mexicans who either speak or want to perfect their English.”

Perhaps. Although the Internet, with its access to newspapers anywhere in any language, has affected demand for news in print form, there are still apparently many people who want “a paper” to read over breakfast, swat flies on the beach, or practice different folding maneuvers on trains.

Mexico has had a number of English-language newspapers over the years, most of them linked to local Spanish-language publications, although none that really made a dent in The News’ steady if modest readership. The main problem, says someone who knows a lot about it, isn’t so much getting the thing written, printed and distributed, but how to get it to pay for itself. A publisher may, for prestige or the love of art, keep such a newspaper going for a while, but recent history suggests that in the end, pecuniary considerations will be decisive.

Nor is there a need to come up with some brilliant new journalistic concept. The News readers were most likely to complain if Beetle Bailey was missing from the comics section, or the New York Times crossword solutions were running in the wrong order. That sort of thing.

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