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Angelo Falc�n


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NiLP Commentary Masthead  
Note: Upon posting this NiLP Commentary on the future of El Diario-La Prensa yesterday, we received quite a bit of feedback and concern, including a number of news and web sites that have reprinted it (for example, VOXXI, Impacto NY, New America Media and, among others). As a result, we have received more detailed information on the issues we raised and have, therefore, slightly revised the piece below by making a few updates and corrections.


One shocker was that although the information we had was that La Naci�n purchased the whole of ImpreMedia (El Diario, La Opini�n and other properties) for a measly $12 million, it appears that they actually bought 90 percent of the company for only $6 million! An additional and even bigger shocker was that the deal was brokered by, if you can believe it, Goldman Sacks! It looks like, building on former ImpreMedia owner John Paton's vulture capitalist legacy, El Diario may soon need to change its tagline from "El Campe�n de los Hispanos" to "El Campe�n de los Billetes" ("The Champion of the Hispanics" to "The Champion of the Dollar").


In addition, Joe Torres, co-author with Juan Gonzalez of News for All the People,graciously pointed out to us that they erroneously wrote in the book that no Spanish-speaking dailies in the United States were owned by Latinos, which they are correcting in the forthcoming paperback edition (and basic cable movie?) of the book. We corrected the wording in the quote from the book below to indicate that a few are owned by Latinos, which doesn't really change their analysis much.

---Angelo Falc�n


 The End of

El Diario-La Prensa?

As it approaches its 100th Anniversary, it is not

clear what the future holds for "El Campe�n de los Hispanos"

By Angelo Falc�n (July 16, 2012)


Versi�n en espa�ol a continuaci�n

Angelo Falcon BW


When earlier this year the Argentinian newspaper, La Naci�n, bought ImpreMedia, the publisher of El Diario-La Prensa, La Opini�n and other US-based Spanish-language newspapers, they made assurances, like most buyers initially do, that not much would change. However, recent changes they have announced for their new properties seem to point to the real possibility that El Diario-La Prensa' s days may be numbered. The city's Latino community may have to speak up now if they want to see this historic paper (and now news site) to continue to operate. 


With its famous motto, El Campe�n de los Hispanos ("the Champion of the Hispanics"), El Diario will be marking its 100 anniversary next year, making it the largest and oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper in New York City (and the oldest in the United States). However, all of that history may soon itself be history as a result of the increasingly pervasive process of media consolidation, this time under the control of a foreign corporation.


US Hispanic Media Inc., a subsidiary of Argentina's S.A. La Naci�n, bought a 90% stake in ImpreMedia in March, the latest development in the changing ownership of El Diario since it was created in 1913. The current incarnation of the newspaper was the result of a 1963 merger between La Prensa (established in 1913 by Rafael Viera. a Spaniard) and El Diario de Nueva York (established in 1947 Porfirio Dominicci, a Dominican doctor), when they were purchased by the now legendary O. Roy Chalk, who, among other things, founded and owned Trans Caribbean Airlines. In 1981, Chalk sold it for $10 million to Gannet.


In 1980, Carlos D. Ramirez, Peter Davidson and their investment group, El Diario Associates, bought it from Gannet for just over $20 million, and in 1995 they joined with the Entravision Latin Communications Group. In 2003, Canadian speculator John Paton, current head of the MediaNews Group, purchased El Diario-La Prensa and merged it with the Los Angeles-based La Opini�n, the largest Spanish-language daily in the United States, to form ImpreMedia, which he founded and largely owned. Then in March, the Argentinian company took over 90 percent control of ImpreMedia. The rumored buy by S.A. La Naci�n of the whole of ImpreMedia was around $6 million; considering that in 1980 El Diario alone was worth around $20 million, it looks like the Argentinians got a real bargain.


S.A. La Naci�n's operations include publishing magazines and managing news and information websites. Another of its subsidiaries, Dridco, runs online classified websites for jobs, real estate and cars in Latin America and Spain. Its consolidated revenue reaches $250 million per year and it employs 1,500 people in all its companies.


ImpreMedia, which bills itself as the No. 1 Hispanic news and information company in the U.S. in print and a key online player, reaches 25% of all US Hispanics with an audience size of almost 11 million and a footprint in 15 top Hispanic markets. Over the past year it has experienced an unprecedented 34% growth in total audience and has almost doubled its online audience. However, its New York property, El Diario-La Prensa, has been having serious circulation and labor problems, especially in the last few years. From a peak circulation of 80,000 in the late 1980s, its latest paid circulation according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, was just 38,325 as of March 31, 2012 (23,467 for its Sunday edition and 29,954 for its Saturday edition), down from 42,974 only a year earlier.


This is perplexing to many since it is published in the 2nd largest Latino media market in the country with 4.6 million Latinos, 56 percent of whom are Spanish-dominant. El Diario, however, estimates that, including paid and pass-on readers, it reaches 286,351 daily readers, which they say translates to 1 million readers a month of both its print and online editions. This means that El Diario estimates that its total readership is more than six times its paid readership, probably using a formula from a past sample survey or surveys they conducted. .


The new owners recently announced major changes in the operation of ImpreMedia that raise questions about the future of El Diario. Keeping Monica Lozano as the company's CEO, they designated Francisco Seghezzo, the former Corporate Planning Director of S.A. La Naci�n, as ImpreMedia's COO in charge of all operations of the company, while dismissing a number of its executives.


With respect to El Diario, however, it is changes in the role of its popular publisher, Rossana Rosado, that makes one wonder what is going on with the New York part of their operations. Rumors have begun to spread in the community that Rosado was on the way out, whether voluntarily or otherwise. Seghezzo, the new COO, told La Portada that Lozano "will be responsible for developing high-level business opportunities for the company and building our brand and influence externally. Rossana Rosado will work directly with her to implement an impactful external agenda that builds solid and lucrative relationships with leading business, civic, political and community partners." Sounds like a demotion or preamble to a buyout to me!


This raises the question, are the new owners planning to move Rosado out as publisher? Does this mean that they are rethinking their support of El Diario-La Prensa as they place the paper in this reorganization under their new Business Unit East, which will oversee the print editions of El Diario, La Raza, La Prensa and Vista? While the talk is that they plan to invest more to increase circulation, it is not clear how foreign owners who know very little about the Latino experience in New York will be able to shape a more relevant content that would drive greater circulation.


Rosado has been Publisher and CEO of El Diario-La Prensa since 1999. Starting as a desk assistant for WCBS-AM in the early eighties while she was still a student at Pace, she joined El Diario in the 1980s as a general interest cub and city hall reporter, and columnist, and eventually became the first woman in the paper's history to hold the position of Metro Editor and, after leaving to work for the city, returned as the first female Editor in Chief in 1995. Rosado clearly is in the unique position of knowing El Diario's operations from top to bottom as well as having street creds as a reporter. She has received many awards, including an Emmy, a STAR award from the New York Women's Agenda, the Peabody Award for Journalism, the New York Press Club's President's Award and, most recently, the 2012 Ruben Salazar Award for Communications from the National Council of La Raza.


The takeover of El Diario and ImpreMedia by this politically conservative Argentinian newspaper raised eyebrows in light of El Diario's largely liberal political leanings. But now the question is not so much whether its political orientation will change but whether its new foreign owners will shut it down or allow it to fail. There has been much speculation about this even before the Argentinian takeover, but now this appears to be a more serious possibility.


El Diario-La Prensa has been an integral part of New York City's Puerto Rican and now broader Latino community for close to a century. Journalists like Luisa Quintero, Manuel de Dios Unanue, Conrado Hernandez, Fernando Moreno, Evido de la Cruz, Gerson Borrero and others helped to define the Latino experience in this city and its editorials once had enough clout to affect the city and state's political priorities.  But with the general decline of the newspaper industry, the competition from new media and an increasingly diverse Latino population, among other factors, it has been tough going for this important community institution.


Before the La Naci�n takeover, Juan Gonz�lez and Joseph Torres, in their book, News for All the People, described El Diario-La Prensa's position as follows:


Few of the surviving Spanish-language dailies in the United States today are owned or controlled by Latinos. Even the most prestigious, such as El Diario/La Prensa and La Opini�n, are controlled by non-Hispanic investors. ImpreMedia, which acquired La Opini�n and New York's Hoy from the Tribune Company, and purchased El Diario separately, has emerged as the largest publisher of Spanish-language dailies in the country, with the Lozano family, former owner of La Opini�n, holding a minority share. Founded by Canadian entrepreneur John Paton in 2003, ImpreMedia is a joint venture of three private equity firms --- ACON Investments, Clarity Partners, and Halyard


Since then, this media consolidation has gone from one dominant foreign investor from Canada to now another even more dominant foreign investor from Argentina. The paper currently, for example, outsources much of its production to cheap labor in Monterrey, Mexico, undercutting local union workers in the process. So will we being seeing more of this under the Argentinian owners? What this means for the future of not only of El Diario but for Spanish-language dailies in the United States as a whole is anybody's guess at this point. But it certainly has important implications for the way millions of Latinos will be getting their news and defining their issues. 


Some observers have noted that there may have been greater concern about the future of El Diario-La Prensa, except for the irony that Rosado's credibility and long history with El Diario and the Latino community may have led our community to let their guard down and be less demanding. But regardless of this, it appears that now is the time to not only be concerned but to act to assure that El Diario not only survives but that it returns to be the vital community institution it once was, "El Campe�n de los Hispanos," by keeping up with the changing times, technology and rethinking its relationship to New York's Latino community. 


Angelo Falc�n is President of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP), for which he edits The NiLP Network on Latino Issues. He has been a guest columnist for El Diario-La Prensa from time to time over the years and has been quoted extensively on its pages. He can be reached at  



�El Fin  

de El Diario-La Prensa?

En la v�spera de su centenario, no se vislumbra

claramente el futuro de "El Campe�n de los Hispanos"

Por �ngelo Falc�n (19 de julio de 2012)


Angelo Falcon BW  Cuando a principios del a�o el peri�dico argentino La Naci�n compr� ImpreMedia, propietario de El Diario-La Prensa, La Opini�n y otros diarios en espa�ol en los Estados Unidos, dio a conocer varias promesas-tal como la mayor�a de compradores hacen al principio-de que no habr�a muchos cambios. No obstante, cambios recientes que ha anunciado para sus nuevos diarios parecen indicar la posibilidad palpable de que son contados los d�as que le quedan a El Diario-La Prensa.


Con su renombrado lema, El Campe�n de los Hispanos, El Diario cumplir� sus cien a�os el a�o entrante, lo que lo califica como el mayor y el m�s antiguo diario en la ciudad de Nueva York (y el m�s antiguo en Estados Unidos). Sin embargo, puede que esa gran historia se vuelva historia tambi�n, resultado del proceso cada vez m�s prominente de la consolidaci�n de los medios de comunicaci�n, esta vez bajo el control de una sociedad extranjera.


US Hispanic Media Inc., una subsidiaria de La Naci�n, SA de Argentina, compr� el 90 por ciento de ImpreMedia en marzo, el m�s reciente cambio en los due�os de El Diario desde su fundaci�n en 1913. El �ltimo cambio en la estructura del peri�dico fue el resultado de una fusi�n en 1963 de La Prensa (fundado en 1913 por Rafael Viera, un Espa�ol) y El Diario de Nueva York (fundado en 1947 por Porfirio Dominicci, un doctor Dominicano), cuando los compr� el ahora legendario O. Roy Chalk quien, entre otras cosas, fund� y fue el propietario de Trans Caribbean Airlines.


En 1981, Chalk lo vendi� a Gannett por $10 millones. En 1980, Carlos D. Ram�rez, Peter Davidson y su empresa de inversiones, El Diario Associates, lo compr� de Gannett por un poco m�s de $20 millones, y en 1995, lo fusionaron con Entravision Latin Communications Group. En 2003, un inversionista canadiense, John Paton, el actual principal ejecutivo de MediaNews Group, compr� El Diario-La Prensa y lo fusion� con La Opini�n de Los �ngeles, el mayor diario en espa�ol en Estados Unidos, creando as� ImpreMedia, una empresa que �l fund� y que controlaba. Luego, en marzo de este a�o, la sociedad an�nima argentina adquiri� m�s del 90 por ciento del control de ImpreMedia. Se rumora que La Naci�n, S.A. pag� unos $6 millones por esta participaci�n; en vista de que en 1980 tan solo el valor de El Diario ascend�a a unos $20 millones, pareciera que la compra fue una ganga para los argentinos.


Los negocios de La Naci�n, S.A. comprenden la publicaci�n de revistas y la gesti�n de sitios "web" de noticias e informaci�n. Otra de sus subsidiarias, Dridco, tiene sitios de anuncios de empleos, bienes ra�ces y autom�viles en Latinoam�rica y Espa�a. Sus ganancias consolidadas alcanzan $250 millones por a�o y tiene un total de 1,500 empleados en todas sus empresas.


Impremedia, que se promociona como la compa��a n�mero uno de noticias e informaci�n impresas para los hispanos en Estados Unidos, y tambi�n como una fuerza en l�nea, alcanza el 25 por ciento de la poblaci�n hispana, contando unos 11 millones de lectores y una presencia en los 15 mercados hispanos m�s importantes. Durante los �ltimos 12 meses, ha experimentado una tasa de crecimiento sin precedentes del 34 por ciento de sus lectores y el n�mero de sus usuarios en l�nea casi se duplic�.


No obstante, su compa��a en Nueva York, El Diario-La Prensa, ha experimentado una serie de problemas de circulaci�n y laborales, notablemente en los �ltimos a�os. De una circulaci�n m�xima de 80,000 a finales de los ochentas, de acuerdo con el Audit Bureau of Circulation, su circulaci�n a base de suscriptores fue tan solo 38,325 el 31 de marzo de este a�o (23,351 para su edici�n dominical, y 29,954 para su edici�n sabatina), o sea una baja de 42,974 un a�o antes.


Esto es un misterios para muchos, ya que se edita en el segundo mercado latino de medios en el pa�s, con 4.6 millones de latinos de los cuales el 56 por ciento son mayormente hispanohablantes. El Diario, sin embargo, calcula que si se incluyen los lectores pagos y los de segunda mano, alcanza a 286,351 lectores diarios, lo cual, dicen, se convierte en un mill�n de lectores mensuales tanto de sus ediciones impresas y electr�nicas. Esto significa que El Diario estima que el n�mero total de lectores es m�s de seis veces sus lectores abonados, a lo mejor usando una f�rmula de una encuesta anterior o encuestas que ellos mismos realizaron.


Hace poco, los nuevos propietarios anunciaron cambios mayores en las operaciones de ImpreMedia que presentan preguntas sobre el futuro de El Diario. Han mantenido a M�nica Lozano de presidente director, y nombraron a Francisco Seghezzo, el antiguo director de planificaci�n de La Naci�n, S.A., principal ejecutivo de operaciones de ImpreMedia, encargado de todas las operaciones de la empresa, al mismo tiempo que despidieron a varios ejecutivos.


En cuanto a El Diario, sin embargo, son los cambios en el papel de su directora popular, Rossana Rosado, que provocan la pregunta de qu� est� pasando con la parte neoyorquina de sus operaciones. Han comenzado a circular rumores de que Rosado se va, sea voluntariamente o no. Seghezzo, el nuevo jefe de operaciones, dijo a la revista Portada que Lozano "se encargar� de desarrollar oportunidades comerciales de alto nivel para la compa��a y de crecer la marca empresarial y su influencia, externamente. Rossana Rosado trabajar� directamente con �l para ejecutar una fuerte agenda externa que construir� relaciones s�lidas y lucrativas con socios l�deres en la vida c�vica, pol�tica y comunitaria." Esto me suena como un descenso o el pre�mbulo a una separaci�n financiera.


Esto hace surgir la pregunta: �Los nuevos propietarios piensan sacar a Rosado como directora? �Significa que est�n evaluando su apoyo a El Diario-La Prensa mientras colocan al peri�dico en esta restructuraci�n bajo su nueva unidad comercial del este, que dirigir� las ediciones impresas de El Diario, La Raza, La Prensa y Vista? Seg�n se comenta, piensan invertir m�s para incrementar la circulaci�n, pero no est� claro c�mo due�os extranjeros que saben muy poco de la experiencia latina en Nueva York podr�n moldear un contenido editorial m�s adecuado que conduzca a una mayor circulaci�n.


Rosado ha sido la presidenta director de El Diario-La Prensa desde 1999. Habiendo iniciado su carrera como asistente de asignaciones en WCBS-AM a principios de los ochentas, cuando era todav�a una estudiante en la universidad Pace, se uni� a El Diario como reportera de asuntos generales y municipales, llegando a ser la primera mujer en la historia del peri�dico a ocupar el puesto de Jefa de Redacci�n para el �rea Metropolitana, en 1995. Rosado ocupa la posici�n singular de conocer desde arriba para abajo las operaciones del diario y de tener credibilidad como periodista. Ha recibido muchos galardones, entre ellos un Emmy, un premio STAR de la New York Women's Agenda, el premio Peabody para el periodismo, el premio del presidente del New York Press Club y �ltimamente el premio a las comunicaciones Rub�n Salazar 2012 del Consejo Nacional de la Raza.


La toma de control de El Diario e Impremedia por el diario conservador argentina sorprendi� a muchos, en vista de la orientaci�n mayormente liberal de El Diario. Pero la pregunta del momento no es tanto si la orientaci�n pol�tica cambiar� sino si los nuevos propietarios extranjeros lo cerrar�n o permitir�n que fracase. Ha habido mucha especulaci�n respecto de esta posibilidad a�n antes de la compra por los argentinos; pero esto parece ser una posibilidad mucho m�s seria.


Desde hace casi un siglo, El Diario-La Prensa ha sido parte integral de la comunidad puertorrique�a y ahora m�s ampliamente latina. Periodistas como Luisa Quintero, Manuel de Dios Unanue, Conrado Hern�ndez, Fernando Moreno, Evido de la Cruz, Gerson Borrero y otros ayudaron a definir la experiencia latina en esta ciudad, y sus opiniones editoriales en un momento ten�an suficiente peso para afectar a la ciudad y las prioridades pol�ticas estatales. Pero con el debilitamiento de la industria de la prensa escrita, la competencia de los nuevos medios y una poblaci�n latina cada vez m�s diversa, entre otros factores, se le ha dificultado el camino para esta importante instituci�n de la comunidad.


Antes de la compra por La Naci�n, Juan Gonz�lez y Joseph Torres, en su libro News for All the People (noticias para toda la gente), describieron la condici�n de El Diario-La Prensa as�:


"Pocos de los diarios en espa�ol que sobreviven en los Estados Unidos son propiedad de latinos ni son controlado por ellos. Hasta los m�s prestigiosos, El Diario/La Prensa y La Opini�n, son dirigidos por inversionistas y ejecutivos no hispanos. ImpreMedia, que adquiri� La Opini�n y el diario Hoy de The Tribune Company y compraron El Diario separadamente, se ha convertido en la mayor empresa de diarios en espa�ol en el pa�s, y la familia Lozano, antiguos due�os de La Opini�n, tiene una participaci�n minoritaria. Fundada por el empresario canadiense John Paton en 2003, ImpreMedia es una inversi�n conjunta de tres empresas de inversiones privadas - ACON Investments, Clarity Partners y Halyard Capital-con la meta espec�fica de 'consolidar el sector period�stico en espa�ol'".


Desde entonces, dicha consolidaci�n ha pasado de un inversor extranjero dominante del Canad� ahora a otro inversor extranjero a�n m�s dominante de Argentina. Actualmente, por ejemplo, el diario realiza una buena parta de su producci�n con mano de obra barata en Monterrey, M�xico, con el efecto de subsanar a los obreros sindicalizados locales. Me pregunto si veremos m�s de esta pr�ctica bajo los propietarios argentinos. Lo que esto significa a estas alturas para el futuro no solamente de El Diario sino para todos los diarios en espa�ol en Estados Unidos es dif�cil precisar. Pero tiene, claro est�, importantes implicaciones para la forma en que millones de latinos obtendr�n sus noticias y definir�n sus intereses.


Se comenta que el futuro de El Diario-La Prensa puede haber sido a�n m�s preocupante si no fuera por la iron�a de que la credibilidad y larga trayectoria de Rosado con El Diario y la comunidad latina hayan permitido a la comunidad bajar la guardia y ser menos exigente. Lo anterior no obstante, pareciera que ahora es el momento no solamente de preocuparnos sino de actuar para asegurar que El Diario sobreviva y que vuelva a ser la instituci�n comunitaria vital que hab�a sido, "El Campe�n de los Hispanos", si se mantiene al d�a, aprovecha nuevas tecnolog�as y re-eval�a su relaci�n con la comunidad latina neoyorquina.


Angelo Falc�n  es presidente del National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP) para el cual publica The NILP Network on Latino Issues. Ha sido columnista inivitado para El Diario-La Prensa de vez en cuando durante muchos a�os y sus opiniones se han citado extensamente en sus p�ginas. Puede comunicarse con el a