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A New Spirit of Communication

By Tania Noriz

On August 22, 1975, 42 years ago, the first issue of Atención San Miguel was published, (after La Biblioteca had published a weekly by the name of This Week in San Miguel for three months). Over these 42 years, the news that has told the story of our town has appeared in the pages of Atención, from the crowning of queens of the fiestas patrias, to fires and floods, and articles about art, community, culture, and opinion that continue to be published to this day.

Through these doors have passed many tireless and dedicated characters who made this weekly one of the most beloved and controversial; we know that we are not perfect and that we generate a lot of passion for and against.

Thanks to these editors, collaborators, contributors, volunteers, and staff members, those of us who now work in this office have learned a lot about the journalistic profession and from them we inherit the objectivity, accuracy, and sense of community with which we work, and the deep respect and affection that we feel for our publisher, La Biblioteca.

Someone once said, “The editorial content that Atención publishes is generally mundane, and often sycophantic. Roughly 80 percent of editorial content is generated by volunteer contributors who are free to promote virtually any self-interest.” However, for me, therein lies the essence and importance of our newspaper, because Atención gives voice to the community, (mundane or not mundane) so that voice can be read every Friday without fail.

Today we celebrate 42 years of dedication to our readers, to whom we reiterate our commitment to fulfilling our mission, which is to inform always with openness, fairness and responsibility.

I know of few things that provoke such passion as our newspaper, Atención San Miguel. 42 years ago, this weekly emerged from a need to know what to do and where to go in this city, and it has become a necessity. Just take a walk on a Friday morning to the Jardín to see what I’m talking about: from the early hours, men and women, mostly expats, sit on the benches in the Jardín enjoying life in this magical town and their copy of Atención. In La Biblioteca’s Café Santa Ana, the tables are filled Friday mornings with readers buzzing over the news and their cappuccinos.

Some buy it due to inertia, others for interest, others for gossip, and others to criticize—because yes, there are such kinds of readers. They may think the articles are dull or the same as always, or find an error, or that we don’t publish the truth, or that we favor the government (with whom we don’t have any interests involved, by the way) or wonder why we aren’t like The New York Times. And it does not end there, because those unbridled passions generated by our newspaper are taken to another level: the Civil List. Some members of the Civil List enjoy fighting a bloody battle, in favor and against, to the last consequences. “Why hasn’t the editor been fired?” “Oh no! Don’t you see that is the best editor our newspaper could have?”

Our newspaper…Atención is ours, everybody’s; it belongs to the community, for the community. Some say Mexicans don’t read it. I say yes they do, and they also advertise. By advertising with us they help to keep the newspaper alive, as well, La Biblioteca. That is another thing that almost no one knows, or does not want to know, or prefers to ignore. There may be a perception that Atención is a successful business that doesn’t need any help and that whoever works here, becomes incredibly rich.

Atención is published by La Biblioteca. La Biblioteca is an NGO that provides scholarships and educational and cultural programs for the children and youth of San Miguel who do not have easy access to books and education. Unlike other NGOs, La Biblioteca does not receive financial support from the government or other institutions; so its good works continue thanks to generous donations from the community (that year after year are more infrequent); the building bailment from INDAABIN (the federal office that allows us to use this building); and revenues generated by the enterprises created within La Biblioteca such as the House and Garden Tour, La Bodega de Sorpresa, the Café Santa Ana, Teatro Santa Ana, and Atención. Absolutely every peso in profits earned through the newspaper and advertising sales translates into scholarships and books for the community. In that way our dear readers and advertisers become promoters of education for the children and youth, fulfilling the dream of Constance Moore, the first editor of Atención, which was that “these pages will be not only of practical, everyday helpfulness…but that also in some small way they may engender a new spirit of communication and cooperation among the residents of this lovely town.”

Atención appreciates the hard work and dedication of all its editors, assistant editors, reporters, photographers, designers, administrators, receptionists, salespeople, copy editors, volunteers, contributors, distributors; and of course, its advertisers and readers—all members of this great team that for 42 years has collaborated to publish in its pages almost half a century of history of San Miguel, at the same time contributing to the community.

Thank you.

 

The editors of Atención

Constance Moore, Guadalupe H. de Ramírez, Evelyn Green, Glenda Jennings, Susan Beere, Evelyn Giles, Gert Dickman, Mimi Loomer, Michael Snyder, Michelle Stofa, Sareda Milosz, Martha Howlett, Bett Yates Adams, Héctor Ullóa, Charles Allen Dews, Verónica Byrne, Trisha Várgas, Nicholas Wilson, Suzanne Ludekens, and Jesús Ibarra.

This issue was possible thanks to the work of:

Jesús Aguado, Karla Ortiz, Carolina Alonzo, Fabián Fuentes, Antonio Ruíz, Gustavo Ruiz, José Luis Flores, Ana Lilia Ortíz, Mauricio Becerra, Pat Frey, Sheridan San Segundo, Jack Najork, Pat Hall, Jo Curtis, Pat Miller, Nancy Hall, David Lubin, Herb Rosenoff and Francine Auster.

 

 

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