Excélsior (Mexico City)

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Excélsior (Mexico City)

For most of the twentieth century the Mexico City newspaper Excélsior maintained one of the largest readerships in the country, but political meddling in the 1970s led to a decline in popularity and an eventual sale in 2006. Rafael Alduncin founded the newspaper in 1917 but died six years later. Following his death, Excélsior declared bankruptcy, but the 248 workers there restarted the paper in 1924 as a workers' cooperative. Two figures, however, dominated the paper until the 1960s. Gilberto Figueroa successfully managed the business side of the paper, and Rodrigo de Llano directed the editorial page. During the mid-twentieth century, the opinion page of Excélsior endorsed moderate positions and generally supported the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000. Nevertheless, the paper's high journalistic standards and solid news coverage made it one of the most respected and popular papers in the country.

The deaths of Figueroa and de Llano, in 1962 and 1963 respectively, marked a transition for the paper. In 1968, Julio Scherer García took over as editor and promoted independent journalism that took a more critical stance towards government administration, PRI politicians, and the overall absence of Democracy in post-revolutionary Mexico. The paper, for instance, covered in detail the 1968 government massacre of student protestors at Tlatelolco in Mexico City. During the 1970s, prominent Mexican intellectuals such as Elena Poniatowska, Carlos Monsiváis, and Enrique Krauze wrote for Excélsior. Displeased with the paper's critique of his foreign policy and coverage of union repression, President Luis Echeverría Álvarez (1970–1976) in 1976 ousted Scherer García. Over 200 of the paper's writers left in protest. Former Excélsior journalists went on to found many of Mexico's most important independent media outlets. Scherer García, for instance, started Proceso, a respected leftist weekly magazine focused on investigative journalism. The new Excélsior editors supported the governing party, but this stance greatly weakened the reputation of the newspaper. Through the 1990s, the periodical barely survived on government advertising. Opposition candidate Vicente Fox, of the National Action Party (PAN), won the 2000 election and quickly cut off state support for Excélsior, causing the paper to experience severe financial stress. The owners ultimately sold the paper in 2006 to Olegario Vázquez Raña, a hotel owner, who then restarted the daily under the name El Nuevo Excélsior.

See alsoJournalism; Mexico: Since 1910; Mexico, Political Parties: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI); Mexico, Political Parties: National Action Party (PAN).


Lawson, Chappell H. Building the Fourth Estate: Democratization and the Rise of a Free Press in Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

Scherer García, Julio, and Carlos Monsiváis. Tiempo de saber: Prensa y poder en México. Mexico City: Aguilar, 2003.

                                        Byron Crites

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Excélsior (Mexico City)

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Excélsior (Mexico City)