Sebastián Lacunza, the last editor of the Buenos Aires Herald before its closure in 2017, has released a new book charting the famous newspaper’s 140 years of history.
El testigo inglés: Luces y sombras del Buenos Aires Herald (1876-2017) tracks the publication’s history from its humble days as a single sheet shipping news outlet to its rise as a daily and subsequent closure as a weekly. Discussing the paper’s various owners, editors and key staff, the book also covers the Herald’s most well-known era, when under the direction of editor Robert Cox it stood up to the 1976-1983 military dictatorship by printing the stories of the disappeared and demanding answers from the authorities.
Presenting his work at the Cultural Morán in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, Lacunza revealed that the proposal to write a book had initially been to write about the four years that he had led the outlet. He said he had instead informed the publishers that it would be better to begin with the outlet's founding and take the reader through the Herald's development and that of contemporary Argentina simultaneously, using the newspaper’s “unique and privileged” position to explore the dialogue between local and foreign powers. He said the medium’s “nuanced history” deserved investigation and that its “contradictions that deserve to be illuminated.”
Joined at the event by Mexican journalist Cecilia González and financial analyst Javier Timerman (brother of ex-foreign minister Héctor Timerman and son of La Opinion founder Jacobo Timerman), Lacunza opened the floor to the audience to offer their views on the Herald and its lengthy history, before going on to question what he perceives as its established reputation, declaring that “a liberal newspaper does not support all the coups that took place in Argentina.”
Quizzed about the newspaper's closure in 2017 by former readers, he said the sector had been going through "a multi-faceted crisis" with "multiple storms" but that ultimately, the disinterest of its owners, Grupo Indalo, and its "absolute ignorance" of the product had weighed heavy, along with "the political circumstance, the media crisis and Argentina's economic crisis."
* El testigo inglés: Luces y sombras del Buenos Aires Herald (1876-2017), published by Editorial Paidos and running to 632 pages, is available to buy at bookstores now.