Ms. Herrera de Noble was one of four controlling shareholders in the Clarín Group, which over the years became a political power player.
She “has long been underestimated because she was always presented as Noble’s widow,’’ said Martín Sivak, a journalist who wrote a book about Clarín that will be published in the United States next year. “Even though she was not a journalist by trade, I think she had instincts and a sensibility that have not been recognized.”
He added, however, that the company’s growth stemmed largely from “its enormous power to lobby and pressure” the government for favorable regulations.
Shortly after Ms. Herrera de Noble’s death, President Mauricio Macri of Argentina said on Twitter that she was a “key figure in journalism and the defense of press freedom.”
Relations between the government and Clarín’s leadership were not always friendly. Mr. Macri’s predecessor, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, engaged in a long battle against the company after the paper criticized an increase in farm taxes shortly after she took office in December 2007.
Mrs. Kirchner sponsored an antitrust law that would have forced Clarín to break itself up into smaller companies. Her government also pushed fresh investigations into the company’s behavior during Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship, from 1976 to 1983, when almost all news outlets stayed silent about the killing of as many as 30,000 people.
A case was opened over Clarín’s 1976 purchase, with two other newspapers, of the country’s main newsprint manufacturer, Papel Prensa. Mrs. Kirchner’s government charged that the firm was sold at a fire-sale price with the help of threats and kidnappings by the military junta. Three weeks before Ms. Herrera de Noble’s death, an appeals court confirmed a lower-court ruling dismissing the case.
Mrs. Kirchner also pressed fresh questions about Ms. Herrera de Noble’s two adopted…