|Headquarters||Washington 629 Ote.|
Nuevo León, Mexico
|Sister newspapers||El Norte|
Reforma is a Mexican newspaper based in Mexico City. It has 276,700 readers in Mexico City. The paper shares content with other papers in its parent newsgroup Grupo Reforma. The cumulative readership of the newsgroup is above 400,000. Reforma is named after the Mexico City avenue of the same name, Paseo de la Reforma, which is in turn named after "La Reforma", a series of liberal reforms undertaken by the country in the mid-19th century.
The newspaper emphasizes its design, variety of columnists, and editorials that denounce political corruption. Reforma, along with the other newspapers of its parent, have an interest in color printing.
The paper features weekly translations from selected articles of local interest from U.S. newspapers. These include The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The Sunday edition of Reforma formerly included a supplemental magazine titled Top Magazzine, which covered celebrity gossip, Hollywood previews and interviews.
Reforma was founded in 1993, as an offshoot of El Norte, the noted Monterrey-based daily. Reforma was the first newsgroup in Mexico to separate its commercial division from its journalism division. This allows for a greater independence in journalism and helps journalists resist the temptation of writing favorable notes on sponsors.
When it was founded, on November 20, the newspaper pressured unionized newsstands to sell the paper on that day. Since November 20 is the Mexican Revolution day, an obligatory public holiday in México, the unions refused, and so, that day's edition of Reforma had to be sold on the streets by journalists and celebrities to protest against what they considered "a boycott".
Reforma changed the traditional distribution of newspapers because of its independence from the unionized newsstands and printed media resellers. It also was innovative because of the inclusion of people of all political opinions in its editorial pages.
The newsgroup is 85 years old. It all started with the founding of El Sol in April 1922, followed by El Norte in 1938, Monterrey's Metro in 1988, Reforma in 1993, Palabra and Mexico City's Metro in 1997, Mural in 1998, Saltillo's Metro in 2004 and Guadalajara's Metro in 2005.
Grupo Refoma's independent journalism drew the ire of the powerful Mexico City's carrier union barely a year after it was born. This syndicate controls distribution of all newspapers in the capital city and was traditionally used by the political system to bring down any paper that was deemed unacceptable. The carrier union boycotted the distribution of Reforma in Mexico City in October 1994. Grupo Reforma decided to create an independent distribution channel to sell Reforma on Mexico City's streets. The support of the readers was incredible: intellectuals, artists and regular folk joined Reforma's personnel in the process to create this independent distribution channel. Dozens of people went onto the streets to sell the paper, withstanding the verbal and even physical violence of the carrier union. Currently, Reforma is distributed independently to the homes of 85,000 subscribers, to supermarkets and other retail outlets and to readers in Mexico City's streets. The paper's daily circulation averages 200,000 copies.
Grupo Reforma's dailies have an open journalism model that is very different from any other newspaper's in the world. One of the cornerstones of this model is its editorial boards. Each section of each of the papers has an editorial board, which is a group of readers and leaders in that section's area of interest who get together weekly or bi-monthly to set the section's editorial agenda. For example, the editorial board of Reforma's national section may include a diputado (member of the house of representatives), a senator, several politicians, some members of NGOs, as well as normal readers, like housewives, students, etc....
The boards have complete liberty of action in deciding what the paper is covering. Each board is led by its section's editor. This way, the board members on each board are working with the person who is directly responsible for the daily operation of each section.
Each board session is divided in two parts. In the first one, the board members criticize the content of the section since the last time they met. What was done right? What needs to be corrected? What was plainly wrong? These and other similar topics are dealt with in this first discussion.
During the next step in the session, the discussion centers on the work ahead. What stories should the section be working on? Who should the paper be interviewing? Are there any events that are worth covering? It is in this part of the meeting where the editorial agenda is defined by the group.
Each year, 850 people are part of the 70 editorial boards that define the editorial agenda for all of Grupo Reforma's papers. More than 8 thousand people have been members of an editorial board during the 15 years that they have been in operation. Participation is voluntary, so no payment is given to the board members. The "payment" they receive is in seeing how they indeed are setting the agenda for some of the most influential newspapers in Mexico and in participating in a collaboration potentially able to transform Mexico. The boards are renewed every year, but a couple of the members are chosen by the same board to stay on, so there is some continuity with any work in progress that was left behind. Every quarter, the editor gives his/her board a balance of all the suggestions they've provided and how they have been implemented in the section.
Accusations of bias
The newspaper insists, like the other publications of the editorial group, that it is non-partisan, with an editorial style favoring an ostensibly neutral point of view and publishing opinions from journalists of all political positions (such as Miguel Ángel Granados Chapa from the left, and Sergio Sarmiento from the right). Additionally, the newspaper alleges to have many fail-safes in place to prevent any partisan point of view.
Despite its avowed independent editorial style, Reforma has been labeled as a right-wing newspaper in references by The Guardian, the Clarin, the San Antonio Express-News, the University of Miami school of communication and the Princeton Progressive Nation. Mexican president Andres Manuel López Obrador (as a presidential candidate in 2005) also accused the paper of this bias, and even denounced the paper of being a "press bulletin for the PAN". However, the paper itself has columnists who openly support Andrés Manuel López Obrador, such as Guadalupe Loaeza, Lorenzo Meyer and Miguel Ángel Granados Chapa.
Another alleged bias of the newspaper is its being in favor of privatizing the Electrical Utilities (CFE,LyF). After the Enron collapse, this bias has diminished.
- Carmen Aristegui, political commentator
- Denise Dresser, political analyst
- Enrique Krauze, historian
- Everardo Elizondo, economist
- Gabriel Zaid, writer and poet
- Hector Zagal, philosopher.
- Homero Aridjis, poet, environmentalist
- Jorge G. Castañeda, intellectual, academic, and former Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
- José Luis Lezama, intellectual, environmentalist
- Juan Villoro, writer
- Luis F. Aguilar, political analyst
- Luis Rubio, political commentator, economist
- Mario Vargas Llosa, novelist
- Paco Calderón, political cartoonist
- Sergio Aguayo, political analyst
- Sergio Sarmiento, political analyst
- Mario Netas is an animated cartoon airing weekly and depicting a talk show about a dummy named Mario who invites Mexican and foreign newsmakers to explain current news.
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