MEXICO CITY – Fifty-two years after its founding, the El Sol de Mexico newspaper in January underwent a profound change in its image and conception with the goal of rejuvenating its readership and becoming a “great hub” for the rest of the dailies belonging to the Organizacion Editorial Mexicana (OEM), the largest print media company in Latin America.
Martha Ramos took over the general directorship of OEM in 2016, and told EFE in an interview that – although there is much left to do – these days El Sol de Mexico is fighting to recover the vitality of past years and establish itself as a reference point across much of the nation via the network that it has in various states and cities.
OEM is comprised of 60 newspapers, 43 of them general dailies, and 23 radio stations. In all, OEM employs some 5,000 people.
The epicenter of the renewal is El Sol de Mexico, the group’s main daily, which will serve as the basis for the transformation.
“The idea is for El Sol de Mexico to transform itself into the great hub for the rest of the network of dailies, providing at least 25 percent” of their news.
One of the most visible transformations is the change in formatting, reducing the standard size of the daily to that of a tabloid, and it is now much more visual and attractive, combining photos and computer graphics with both short and long articles, including investigative journalism.
These changes, which will be made across the rest of the network, come in addition to a marked digital orientation, very visible in the El Sol de Mexico offices, where the Web team is headquartered.
The Web pages are also undergoing a “parallel evolution” to the paper-based redesign, now sharing more content among offices and becoming more flexible in responding to its readership.
The success has been palpable to date. From some 12 million readers per year at the end of 2016, now the organization has 16 million per year, Ramos said.
Altogether, the paper newspapers sell about a million issues per day, a figure that has been growing slowly, “But given how newspapers are now, not declining has been success,” she said.
An optimist, Ramos said that the crisis in journalism – and in print media – is turning around. After the closure of various papers and cutbacks at others, now the sector is placing its bets on innovation and new formats, although without altogether abandoning its austerity and cost-cutting measures.