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EXTRA! EXTRA!

24 April 2007

voceador.jpg

Yesterday was Dia de Vocedores… “Newsboy’s Day” when the President (Calderón, not the other one) makes nice and goes to their union hall to make a speech on the value of those hard-working, underappreciated people who are the ones who REALLY bring you the news.

The reporters and editors just write the papers. Without the voceadores, their work would go for nought. Come to think of it, that’s what bloggers do most of the time too — distribute the news and opinion of the day — but we’re not up at 4 in the AM, working out of old houses on calles Edison and Mariscal behind the newspaper offices to assemble the papers, loading up trucks and motos and bicycles to distribute the papers all over el Metropolí… and dodging traffic and commuters on their way into the Metro, getting you the dozen or so competing dailies that all contradict each other and are all perfectly true (there’s more than enough news to go around in a metropolis of 20 million. And no one newspaper has the final word on anything. It’s rare that you’ll have even the same event — unless it’s a presidential election, the World Cup or a Papal visit all making the front pages. Usually, you get to pick and chose your news… again, just like with the blogs).

I only had to toss a couple dozen Rochester Democrat and Chronicles in the morning, which I suppose was child labor.  Gannett gave me a scholarship to college (in those days, Frank Gannet’s widow still met all the newsboys receiving scholarships), but the most the voceadores can expect at the end of their career is a room at the Union retirement home in Santa Maria la Ribera.  On the other hand, there was a 95-year-old voceadora still working the Zocalo in 2004.  She could still hustle enough to be selected to carry the Olympic Torch through el Centro. 

The pay sucks, the work is hard, and how good their union is, I can’t say. They get called up to provide warm bodies for megamarches, when they probably should be home resting. The photo is from a wonderful series of Mexico City “Oficios urbanos” by “Facun”.

Even us cyber-newsies appreciate tips:

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