Historically, freedom of the press has been tenuous, as Argentine governments have controlled the supply of newsprint and withheld official advertising from newspapers and magazines that have published items not to their liking. Nevertheless, since the 1976–1983 dictatorship ended, the trend has been largely positive for liberty of expression. Many newspapers and periodicals mentioned below have websites, listed in the Internet Resources section.
Buenos Aires papers, some to a greater degree than others, are also national papers sold widely throughout the provinces. The middle-of-the-road tabloid Clarín, the Spanish-speaking world’s largest-circulation daily, sells about 340,000 copies weekdays and nearly twice that on Sundays, but its circulation is more sensitive to hard economic times than papers with a steadier niche clientele. Part of a consortium that includes TV and radio outlets, it also publishes ¡Ole!, a sports daily.
According to Anglo-Argentine journalist Andrew Graham-Yooll, until your obituary appears in La Nación, you’re not really dead—a comment that reflects the social standing of the capital’s most venerable (1870) daily. With a circulation of about 150,000—a quarter million on Sundays when it has an exceptional cultural section—the center-right paper was the creation of Bartolomé Mitre, who later became president.
Página 12 is the tabloid voice of Argentina’s intellectual left, and while its outspokenness is admirable, it would benefit from more rigorous editing—many articles are far too long and err on the side of hyperanalysis. Since the election of President Néstor Kirchner and his wife and successor Cristina Kirchner, it has abdicated much of its critical approach.
As Página 12 has become more establishmentarian, the new weekly Perfil (www.perfil.com, circulation about 55,000) has assumed the mantle of Argentina’s most aggressively investigative national newspaper.
The capital has three financial newspapers, which publish weekdays only: the morning Ambito Financiero, which also publishes an outstanding arts and entertainment section; the afternoon El Cronista; and Buenos Aires Económico.
With a circulation of only about 12,000, the Buenos Aires Herald is an English-language daily whose niche market correlates highly with hotel occupancy. It stresses commerce and finance, but also produces intelligent analyses of political and economic developments; its thicker Sunday edition relies on material from the Washington Post, Bloomberg News, and other international sources, and includes a locally published version of Newsweek.
The German-language Argentinisches Tageblatt (www.tageblatt.com.ar) began as a daily in 1889 but is now a Saturday weekly.
Magazines and Newsletters
Radio and Television
What was once a state broadcast monopoly is now far more diverse, thanks to privatization and the advent of cable, but conglomerates like the Clarín and El Cronista groups control much of the content. Both radio and TV tend to stress entertainment at the expense of journalism.
Radio Rivadavia, Argentina’s most popular station (AM 630, www.rivadavia.com.ar), plays popular music and also hosts talk programs. Radio Mitre (AM 790, www.radiomitre.com.ar) is the voice of the Clarín group.
Clarín and El Cronista also control TV stations and some cable service (where overseas media like CNN, ESPN, BBC, Deutsche Welle, and others are available). TV news coverage, though, can be surprisingly deep.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition