Magazine article Editor & Publisher

America's Extra

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

America's Extra

Article excerpt

WELCOME TO B.A., Y'ALL

A Buenos Aires English-language daily with an improbable owner and reputation for fearlessness turns 125 years old this month

The story goes that Peter Manigault, now chairman of his family's Evening Post Publishing Co., was down in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the 1968 annual meeting of the Inter American Press Association. "Conglomerates" were all the rage then, and a business friend had planted the notion that a chain of English-language papers in South America might make the beginnings of a respectable conglomerate. So one day Manigault walked into the offices of the Buenos Aires Herald and walked out with a 59.7% stake in the newspaper.

And that, they say, is how the publisher of The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., ended up owning the oldest English- language daily in Latin America, located 4,823 miles away as the crow flies.

On Sept. 15, the Herald turns 125 years old. It will be celebrated not simply for its longevity but also for its strong-willed independence -- a reputation considerably enhanced because of its Evening Post ownership. Robert Cox was editor of the paper when the Charleston company took control. "I expected to be fired immediately, of course," he said. "But they were superb. They were very, very supportive."

The new owner's resolve was soon tested as the left-wing terrorism in the 1960s was followed by a military dictatorship that killed thousands during the so-called "Dirty War" of the 1970s. Cox himself was briefly jailed for daring to publish the name of a left-wing guerrilla group, and finally forced to flee Argentina when death threats began to focus on his family. …

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