Alejandro Junco has made it his life’s work to achieve true freedom of speech in the country of his birth.
Born in 1948, in Monterrey, Mexico, he was educated both in Mexico and the United States, obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969.
In 1973, when he became publisher of the family newspaper in Monterrey, El Norte, Mr. Junco hired one of his former UT journalism professor, Mary Gardner, to train his young reporters in journalistic techniques and ethics.
This initiative was, in time, to change the face of journalism in Mexico.
The newspaper cast aside all the practices that had compromised and muzzled a free press in that country. The strategy was an outstanding success.
Despite numerous setbacks and increasing danger to himself and his journalists from the cartels, Alejandro Junco de la Vega and his defiant editorial practices have raised the quality of Mexican journalism and increased public awareness.
El Norte grew from 17 local reporters to more than 800 nationwide and the quality of journalism of those new reporters was to not only transform a #2 local newspaper into a #1 national chain but would subsequently play a pivotal role in bringing democracy to a nation.
Junco has built one of the most powerful newspaper conglomerates in Latin America, with dailies in Mexico’s three largest cities: Mexico City (Reforma) – which today ranks number one among Mexico’s elite readership – Guadalajara (Mural), and Monterrey (El Norte).
Aside from his accomplishments in establishing an independent press, Alejandro Junco has also opened greater access to public information by promoting access laws.
Junco is presently focusing much of his efforts to education.
He is presently working with the University of Texas for The Alejandro Junco Scholarships for Study of US – Mexico Social Problems. A program to research social problems of deep contemporary importance to Mexican Society and bilateral relations between Mexico and the United States.
He has also joined forces with the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in San Antonio to develop a program for UIW doctoral candidates to encourage them to focus on micro-issues plaguing Mexican life, from dysfunctional legal practices to education, health and energy.
Grupo Reforma, as his seven daily newspaper publishing group is known, has been the most instrumental factor in the evolution of journalism in the country in the last 30 years.