Broader Coverage of Mexico: NYTimes Bailout

It was announced yesterday that one of the world’s richest men, Mexican Carlos Slim, is lending The New York Times 250 million dollars to help the parent company finance its current debt load. The cash injection grants the company precious time to manage a major credit balloon payment due May of this year. The terms, or mention of the deal, was not easily seen in the NYT, yet the news was front and center in Mexican papers.

I am not an economist so I can’t speak to the financial impact of this deal. As a person committed in her work to considering both sides of the border together, its my great hope that the Slim/NYT partnership will lead to broader and more balanced coverage of Mexico, perhaps returning to and building upon pre-9-11 media that saw Mexico, our mutual history, shared border and all the people who live on both sides, as advantage, and incentive to be patient as we came to better understand one another.

The last eight years has been a nightmare for anyone considering immigration. For cultural exclusionists, alarms bells blazing, emboldened by an acquiescing administration, terror motivated their actions. For cultural inclusionists utterly dumbfounded after so much progress, sadness and fight overtook hope that strides from previous years could be built upon rather than stomped down into the ground.

I have long felt that U.S. coverage of Mexico has been fenced in, with limited and extremely select information, documentation and entertainment crossing our media borders. In my opinion, this approach does more harm than good. For many centuries now, our neighbors to the south have been treated in the media as little more than misunderstood cousins, often the economic scapegoat in faltering economies, secretly ushered in when money is flush, urged to come in, pushed out, urged to come back, come on! get out!

I believe strongly that our media must do a better job of expanding coverage to go beyond the same old stories on Mexico.

Consider the statistics on the coverage of topics about Mexico, Mexicans and other Latinos by visiting http://www.latinosandmedia.org/ which has very specific research examining trends in media coverage of issues vital to the Latino community. This site is made possible by the dedicated work of Austin-based Federico Subervi, whom I met several years ago at a media conference. Also visit the Pew Center for Research site (http://pewhispanic.org/) for additional facts, statistics and information. Check out ListaLatina for discussion and coverage of current issues impacting the Latino community at http://www.latinalista.net/palabrafinal/.

I hope to see an opening of the media border between both countries. Given the promoted promise of global communications, its time we seize an opportunity to expand understanding of and communication with our southern neighbor.

If you are interested, read the Spanish Language article here: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2009/01/19/presta-carlos-slim-250-mdd-a-the-new-york-times

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