January 09, 2015
MEXICO CITY: One of Mexico's most important and influential journalists of the past half century, Julio Scherer Garcia, died Wednesday at the age of 88, reported Proceso, the newsmagazine he founded.
Scherer helped expose many of Mexico's greatest scandals for decades, probing a secret army unit to combat guerrillas, a multimillion-dollar Swiss bank account of a president's brother and official involvement in the assassination of a journalist.
His tough independence stood out at a time when independent reporting critical of the government was rare in Mexico and he inspired and trained a new generation of the country's journalists.
As editor of Excelsior, then Mexico's leading newspaper, from 1968 to 1976, Scherer took on the omnipotent ruling party over corruption and human rights abuses, and questioned the government's version of an army massacre of students. He so irked President Luis Echeverria that the government maneuvered to push him out of the newspaper in 1976.
Just months later, Proceso published its first issue with the help of journalists who left Excelsior with Scherer. In the decades since, the weekly newsmagazine has become the country's most consistent source of investigative journalism.
Proceso announced on its website that Scherer died early Wednesday from septic shock following two years of illness. He had made his last visit to the magazine's offices in October and penned his last piece in December on the occasion of the death of his friend, fellow journalist Vicente Lenero.
Scherer wrote nearly two-dozen books, often analyzing the terms of Mexico's presidents. In 1971, he won the Maria Moors Cabot award, the oldest international journalism prize. - AP