History of International Newspapers: Excelsior in Mexico

About the International newspaper Excelsior published in Mexico, history and information.

EXCELSIOR (Mexico City, Mexico)

The Past. When Rafael Alducin founded Excelsior in 1917, he was 28 years old. It wasn't long before the paper became noted for its high-quality editorial section and its mature point of view. When Alducin died, his widow took over. She was the 1st woman in Mexico to have such an important newspaper position.

During the Depression, Excelsior got into serious financial trouble, but its employees bailed it out by getting together and forming a cooperative to guarantee it a source of income.

Rodrigo de Llano, "one of the giants of Mexican journalism," perhaps exerted more influence than anyone else in making the paper world-famous for quality. Under him, Excelsior was known as the furthest to the right of all the newspapers in Mexico. Those who were against De Llano, mostly the communists, criticized the paper as pro-U.S., pro-Franco, pro-capital, antiliberal, and often antigovernment. The year after De Llano's death in January, 1963, Gena Pastor, a Mexican columnist, commended him by saying, "In too many enterprises, the chief executive, in order to preserve a sense of importance, does not delegate responsibility. . . in order that he may maintain his prestige and superiority." De Llano provided such continuity that when he died, the paper was able to continue "on a firm foundation, a newspaper still superior."

Excelsior was the 1st paper in Mexico to install rotogravure presses and the 1st to use Ludlow machines to set headlines.

The Present. Excelsior, which is published in Mexico City, is read all over the country. Dr. Marvin Alisky, an authority on the Mexican press, says, ". . . one can see copies, just in by airmail, being sold rapidly at Nogales (on the U.S. border), Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, and Nuevo Laredo. News dealers save copies for good customers as it goes quickly. . . .One finds it in the offices of government officials, teachers, business leaders, labor leaders, and also in most upper-class homes."

The paper's political stance is difficult to explain in U.S. terms. It is considered by Mexicans to be conservative and rightist as well as liberal. Since 1964, more left-wing journalists have written for Excelsior, and the paper has got closer to the middle of the road than it was in De Llano's day. Excelsior's staff tries to combine the best of modern U.S. methods with the traditional methods of Spain.

Excelsior is technically a cooperative, but only high-ranking staff members are allowed to own shares in the company. According to De Llano, a paper like Excelsior "with a serious purpose, high ideals of objectivity and integrity will draw to it writers and other staff members of high quality." Still, those on the staff, like most Mexican journalists, are not very well paid. Many have to moonlight in order to make a decent living.

Excelsior is generous in presenting foreign news; it has over 25 foreign correspondents stationed in major world cities. Its interpretive articles are generally of higher quality than its news stories, which are sometimes biased. "Foro," an entire page open to diverse opinions, is a popular feature. "Diorama de la Cultura," a special supplement in the Sunday edition, contains thoughtful, well-written historical and literary essays.

Still, Excelsior is a family paper, and the Sunday edition also includes a 12-page comic section. Crime and small-time scandals are played down or ignored.

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