I’ve never met Mexican Carlos Slim, but he’s ubiquitous in Mexico through his numerous businesses that have made him one of the richest men in the world. He’s also obtaining a larger stake in what is arguably the symbolic heart and soul of U.S. journalism, The New York Times (read a BBC story about it here).
Depending on which side of the spectrum you sit on, Slim is either a shrewd opportunist who obtained his fortune south of the border largely from the kind of political connections that aren’t available to most Mexicans or he’s an astute businessman who exemplifies Mexico’s democratic principles. I assume the truth is probably somewhere in between.
Traditional media isn’t the best investment these days. Just ask real estate magnate Sam Zell who attempted to resuscitate the Tribune Company and then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. So what’s in it for Slim?
This could be a case of Slim seeing a business opportunity. There are other potential payoffs: His investment in The New York Times might recast him as a savior. It also – frankly – makes the paper somewhat indebted to him. Regardless of the motive, Slim’s interest in the Times highlights the troubles of traditional news media and the opportunities for global investors in the United States while raising questions over who will control the news in the future.
To read a business story about Carlos Slim, here is a story in Fortune Magazine by my former Northwestern classmate Stephanie Mehta.
You can also read an opinion piece that ran in The New York Times in 2007 that alludes to Slim as a “robber baron.”
This story posted Jan. 20 on Slate’s website – “Slim’s Pickings” – is a thoughtful piece that handles this tricky subject deftly. It was written by Andres Martinez.
Posted in News & current events
Tagged carlos slim, investment, journalism, media, mexico, new york times, news indutry, newspapers, papers, sales, sam zell, tribune
I like this story by The New York Times for two reasons. First, it takes a concept – deportation – and flips it on its head. We commonly associate deportation along the border with undocumented Mexicans and other Latin Americans being returned forcefully to their homeland, but what about wandering Americans who wear out their welcome?
Mexico correspondent Marc Lacey finds a guy called “Crash” who has been bumming or strumming around Mexico until being deported to the United States. Lacey apparently met “Crash” during a recent trip to Tijuana, where the vagabond managed to sneak back into Mexico. The result is a concise and interesting postcard of the other side of deportation.
The second reason I like this story – and I’ll admit to some personal bias here – is that the photo was taken by my friend, Eros Hoagland, who is a freelancer and traveler-to-places-in-conflict. I planned on posting this link sooner, but finals got in the way. You can read it here.
Lacey seems to have a good eye for the unusual, in addition to the enviable resources of a large newspaper . Last month, he wrote about visiting a private drug museum run by the Mexican military. For a more recent story by Lacey, you can read this article about an American kidnap negotiator who has apparently been kidnapped himself in Mexico.
Screenshot of New York Times page
The first time I went to a Sinaloan seafood restaurant in Tijuana, I was a little nervous. Based on their reputation, I was prepared for ear-splitting live music and perhaps a gunshot or two.
The state of Sinaloa is considered to be the craddle of Mexican drug trafficking, and I’ve occasionally heard Baja California law enforcement officials bemoan the “Sinaloan factor.” Never mind that Sinaloans here comprise the majority of migrants* from other Mexican states so they are also bound to be your in-laws, neighbors and fruit vendors.
Sinaloan associations have tried to get the public to see the more positive side of their contributions, namely their food, but it’s been a tough sell. I finally went to Negro Durazo** for the first time a few years ago and found the food to be scrumptious: fish and seafood battered in cheese and unbelievably rich sauces.
This weekend, The New York Times ran a story about how ongoing drug-related violence is affecting people’s lives in large and small ways, and it quotes an unnamed source as saying he’s avoiding Sinaloan restaurants lately for their fair-or-not association with gangster clientele. I know a few people who have avoided Sinaloan food places their entire lives, which is an unfortunate reaction to the convergence of reality and perception.
If you want to try Sinaloan food in Tijuana without the ambience, there’s a mini-branch of Negro Durazo at the Zona Rio mall food court, just a few minutes from the San Ysidro Border on Paseo de Los Heroes, There’s also a Negro Durazo north of the border, in Chula Vista.
* A study on Baja California migration says 16.6 percent of the state’s residents come from Sinaloa.
**I once tried to get someone at Negro Durazo to explain to me the origin of the nickname, but no one seemed to have an answer. Perhaps the most famous “Negro Durazo” was Arturo Durazo, a controversial Mexican police chief from more than two decades ago, who amassed an illicit fortune.