New Tabloid ‘Rumbo’ Rolls Into Houston

DALLAS Upstart publisher Meximerica Media invades the nation’s fifth-largest Hispanic market Monday with the launch of its second tabloid daily, Rumbo de Houston.

Rumbo, which introduced its first edition in San Antonio last month, will have a separate Houston staff of reporters covering local news, the company said. The paper said it would also cover national and world news, sports and entertainment, with an emphasis on Mexico and Latin America.

Meximerica is spending $2.7 million on TV and radio advertising, billboards, and face-to-face and household sampling, company executives said.

The Houston launch is expected to be followed by editions in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in September and Austin, Texas, in October.

Meximerica Media is funded by Recoletos Grupo de Comunicacion, a Spanish firm whose principal shareholder is international media company Pearson. Recoletos is funding the first four Rumbo newspapers with an initial investment of $16.5 million this year. Meximerica executives said the company would consider expanding beyond Texas in 2005.

Rumbo is the second major Spanish-language publication to appear in Houston this year. In April, The Houston Chronicle began distributing an entertainment weekly called La Vibra (The Vibe) to Hispanic households.

Unlike the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Houston has lacked a major Spanish-language daily. In North Texas, The Dallas Morning News publishes a Spanish edition called Al Dia that competes with the free Diario La Estrella issued by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“Rumbo” is a word that is commonly understood to mean “heading north” among immigrants from Latin America, with a secondary meaning of “moving up in life,” the publishers said.

The newspaper will cost 25 cents and will be distributed at 2,500 sites, including supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants and coin boxes.