Organización Editorial Mexicana plans for post-COVID sustainability

By Chandler Wieberg


Austin, Texas, United States


The Organización Editorial Mexicana had a 10-year plan designed to grow the news and media company to be the most present and important in 100 cities throughout Mexico. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

What has changed about the 10-year plan? Martha Ramos Sosa, the general editorial director, explained the challenges the business faced during day one of the INMA Latin American Conference, which is sponsored by the Google News Initiative

Martha Ramos Sosa, general editorial director, at OEM, explained the 10-year plan the media company had pre-pandemic.
Martha Ramos Sosa, general editorial director, at OEM, explained the 10-year plan the media company had pre-pandemic.

There are 46 brands at Organización Editorial Mexicana, with several newspapers within Mexico, including regional and local newspapers, and 40 Web sites. Over the last few years, it has also incorporated more than 10 different podcasts and 24 YouTube channels, with more always being built. 

“It is a process in evolution,” she said. Any time there is a new platform or trend, the brands will immediately be present. 

The regional and local newspapers are currently quite important for the business. In Mexico, there is a lot of diversity, so regional cuts are very important, Sosa explained.

Before the pandemic

Six years ago, the company designed a 10-year plan that included four pillars:

  1. Automate: Automating the systems to reduce the time it takes to perform normal daily activities. This included knowing how long it takes to build a news article and then automate the process. 

  1. Centralise processes: Reduce the amount of double work by centralising processes between editing, production, and getting articles onto the Web site.

  1. Retain and identify talent: This was a big challenge before the pandemic, Sosa said. “We had to give them training and make sure they know they are in an environment with a possibility for growth.” This also included knowing what journalists were interested in and enjoyed writing about, and assigning stories based on their experience and knowledge.

  2. Strengthen local levels: “We need to adapt and allow each organisation to stop working on different national and international levels, and work on local topics 100% on what is going on locally and regionally.” 

The main goal is to strengthen the credibility of the editors from the local audiences. Media is in a crisis, and the plan is designed to help bridge the trust between news and readers. 

“For different reasons we have decentralised locally,” Sosa said. “And we need to go back and connect and establish a relationship with our communities.”

Centralising and communicating

Elevating the quality of work has been the hardest job, Sosa said. Changing the processes to work one-on-one allowed the newsroom to engage and learn about the different communities throughout Mexico. 

“How can we communicate with the different communities? The culture throughout Mexico is different in every area, and the communication needs to be adjusted depending on the region,” she said.

Because it has so many titles throughout the entire country, OEM provides content informed by its regional audience.
Because it has so many titles throughout the entire country, OEM provides content informed by its regional audience.

Looking at what can be done through the central hub and what needs to be done at local and regional levels cuts costs and minimises repeating the same work. Improving processes has also been important, Sosa said.

“Not only the information that is related, we not only send it to the local news, we send it already produced and ready to go, which helps improve our processes and design specific responsibilities for each member of the newsroom and allows us to process a lot faster.”

Content strategies

There is editorial coordination that decides the different themes, consisting of different analysts and column writers who decide the different topics to write about.

“We have to position this big brand in Mexican territory and try to put it in the centre of the discussion and not put it on one side of the political spectrum,” Sosa said.

Sosa’s team is consistently following up with the content being developed in the editorial department, making sure it is open and not one-sided. 

An editorial Web team helps reach growth and goals by informing other core parts of the team where they need to push more content or products to reach those goals. 

The newsletter is an important part of the editorial team, creating loyal readers that build trust with the brand and have the potential to become paying subscribers. 

Internal culture changes

There is a wide range of culture that lies with the newspaper brands. The oldest newspaper is 95 years old, and the youngest is eight. This has been a challenge, Sosa said, as each newspaper needs specifically trained journalists who oftentimes need to be trained to understand the culture of the brand. 

Other major internal culture changes include balancing genders within the teams and labour conditions such as pay, holiday, and work breaks. Also affecting the culture: The average team member has dropped 10 years. 

“Everything we do is measured, does it work or does it not work? We have to listen to the needs of the audience in order to advance our brands in our communities,” Sosa said.

News media evolution starts with strong editors, Sosa said. Sometimes in the small editorial groups at MEO, the coordinator is the main editor. The editors have control over the newsrooms, but that hasn’t always been the case. The editors have a very strong role in preventing fake news, Sosa said: “We have been taking a lot of time to strengthen the editors to give them a lot of power to publish a story or not publish a story until it has been fact checked.”

The conference continues on Friday. Complete coverage can be found here.

About Chandler Wieberg

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.