History of International Newspapers: La Prensa in Argentina Part 1

About the International newspaper La Prensa published in Argentina, history and information.

LA PRENSA (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

The Past. "Truth, honor, freedom, progress, civilization" were the stated goals of La Prensa in its 1st issue in 1869. In the years since, its editors, with the exception of those installed during the 1st Peron regime, have upheld those goals, sometimes with acts of extreme heroism admired all over the world.

The founder of the paper was Dr. Jose Clemente Paz. He and his son, Ezequiel P. Paz, made news the most important part of La Prensa, an unusual emphasis for the time. (The early Argentine press heavily featured philosophical discussions and political rhetoric) In order to remain independent La Prensa would not accept government subscriptions. It began an unprecedented social program through which it sponsored free medical and legal services, a library, a school of music. Herbert Matthews of The New York Times has said, "All the best in Argentine life was reflected in La Prensa's pages. It became the symbol of which the humblest Argentine was proud because he knew that wherever free journalism was respected, La Prensa was honored."

In 1898, Paz handed the paper over to his son, who for the next 45 years never missed a day at the office. No job was too humble for him--reading proofs, helping in the composing room. His creed, adopted in 1950 by the Inter-American Press Association, is a classic:

To inform with accuracy and truth; to omit nothing that the public has a right to know; always to use an impersonal and correct style without detriment to the gravity or to the force of critical thought; to reject rumors and such statements as "it is said" or "it is asserted" in order to affirm only that about which one holds a conviction supported by proofs and documents; to consider that the omission of a news article is preferable to its erroneous or unjustifiable publication; to take care that in reporting news the writer does not allow his personal viewpoint to slip in, because to do this constitutes commentary, and the reporter or chronicler should not invade the field reserved for other sections of the daily; to remember before writing how powerful an instrument of diffusion one has at one's disposal and to bear in mind that harm caused to an official or to a private individual by false imputation can never be entirely remedied by nobly conceded clarification or correction; to maintain a lofty calmness in polemics and not to make any statement which we might have to retract the next day; and finally, to inscribe in letters of gold in a prominent place, clearly visible about the work tables, the words of Walter Williams, distinguished North American newsman: "Nobody should write as a journalist what he cannot say as a gentleman."

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