Spanish Dailies Face Off in Dallas

DALLAS Knight Ridder hopes the extension of its decade-old La Estrella to five days of publishing from two will give advertisers a “powerful tool” to reach a growing constituency in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, according to the newspaper’s publisher, Javier Aldape.

The Spanish-language paper, which is owned by the parent company of the Fort Worth, Texas-based Star-Telegram and will go by the name Diario La Estrella, will launch with the new frequency Sept. 2. Later that month the paper’s chief rival, Belo’s Dallas Morning News, will launch its Spanish-language publication, Al Dia [Adweek, July 14]. There are only a handful of Spanish dailies in the country; others include Knight Ridder’s El Nuevo Herald in South Florida and the Tribune Co.-backed La Opinion in Los Angeles.

“We would be lying if we said competitive pressures didn’t enter into our thinking, but this is something we’ve been thinking about over the last few years,” Aldape said. “We’ve gone through different iterations as the market has changed and we think five days is an important benchmark in terms of reliability of information and yet it’s able to achieve many of those goals without the added expense of seven-day circulation.”

There are 800,000 Hispanics in the Dallas metropolitan area, a number that has grown 325 percent since 1980, according to the Center on Urban & Metropolitan Policy and the Pew Hispanic Center.

Diario La Estrella is expanding its content to offer more news, features, sports and classifieds. The free paper will be published Tuesday through Saturday and will have a daily circulation of 25,000 (Al Dia will initially print 40,000 copies). It will be circulated through both home delivery and on racks in Dallas and Fort Worth.

Although Diario La Estrella will be independent of the Star-Telegram, advertising sales reps that currently sell general-market ads will begin to sell space for the Spanish paper as well. “We are going to be relying very much on existing relationships we have with our advertisers,” Aldape said. “This is another tool in their portfolio. By offering them the benefit of frequency and expanded distribution, I think we’re in the position to deliver this market to our advertisers.”

The paper has hired Irving, Texas-based Cooksey Communications to handle public relations locally for the launch, but the publication will create radio, television and outdoor advertising in-house.

Earlier this month Al Dia hired Publicis Groupe-backed Moroch Latino/Leo Burnett USA of Dallas to handle advertising for the launch of its publication.