Union of Spanish-language publishers has pros upbeat

LOS ANGELES: Hispanic PR pros are cautiously optimistic that the merger of the firms that run two of nation's major Spanish-language daily newspapers could help their PR efforts by moving the US closer to a national Spanish print outlet.

LOS ANGELES: Hispanic PR pros are cautiously optimistic that the merger of the firms that run two of nation's major Spanish-language daily newspapers could help their PR efforts by moving the US closer to a national Spanish print outlet.

The parent companies of New York's dominant Spanish daily, El Diario/La Prensa, and its Los Angeles counterpart, La Opinion, recently announced that they will merge and operate under the name Impremedia.

The company's executives have expressed interest in buying other Spanish newspapers in local markets throughout the country in hopes of building the nation's first network of Spanish-language papers. Some hope that the partnership will lead to a national Spanish daily or a national chain of papers that share some content.

"A national Spanish-language daily newspaper will offer public relations practitioners a bigger and broader channel through which to inform, educate, and entertain US Hispanics about products, services, and issues," said Raul Garza, Hill & Knowlton's director of diversity communications.

Until now, most Spanish-language print media had been limited to a local or regional focus. For coverage of broader issues, many Hispanics turn to broadcast outlets, or wire stories in the local Spanish-language press or the English media. A network of newspapers could change that by providing independent reporting on national issues.

"We need a national newspaper equivalent to The New York Times," said Roxana Lissa, president of RL PR and Sportivo. "It's a great thing for PR. It's going to increase the opportunities for us to showcase the different clients we have on a national basis."

However, many Hispanic PR experts are waiting to see the quality of the editorial content before deeming the new effort a boon to PR. Lackluster content could fail to attract readers in significant numbers.

"It will only be a benefit if it enhances the ability to reach more Hispanic consumers than you can today," noted Rissig Licha, EVP and managing director of Fleishman-Hillard's Miami office. "The jury is still out on whether the recent mergers can provide that."

But La Opinion has built a reputation for "editorial excellence," according to Lissa, and many PR pros are hopeful that the quality will transfer to the new venture.

Garza agreed, saying, "La Opinion has long set a very high standard for journalism among Spanish-language publications in the US."

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