Mexican Weekly Alarma! Gives Graphic View Of Drug War


The Daily Beast profiles El Nuevo Alarma!, Mexico’s weekly tabloid that specializes in publishing graphic photos of murder victims. Drug cartels have handed the paper an unending stream of bodies. “Ellas Tambien” reads the cover headline of a recent issue, alongside the photo of two youngish women who had been murdered by the cartel that calls itself La Familia. Alarma offers perhaps the most unflinching forensic view of Mexico's drug war. It is one thing to read that some of the 20,000 Mexicans have been killed in the fighting since 2006. It is another thing to see them–these headless bodies in an endless war–up close.

Alarma claims a circulation of 80,000, with 15,000 to 20,000 of those copies sold in the United States–the bulk of them in southern California, Texas and New York. Since the 1950s, Mexico has had a profitable news beat called “nota roja,” or the “red news,” so named for its sanguinary qualities. In normal times, “nota roja” stories might be car accidents or crimes of passion. But the drug war has been good for business: circulation is up 20 percent.

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