The Houston Chronicle just announced that starting on June 4th, Alex Sanchez will be new general manager and publisher of La Voz, the company’s Spanish-language newspaper, and vice president of marketing and advertising for the Chronicle. Sanchez joins the Chronicle from the Dallas Morning News, where he served as general manager of communications and automotive and publisher of the Spanish-language publication Al Día.
Portada talked to Sanchez about the opportunities and challenges he faces in Houston and the state of the Hispanic digital and print media markets overall.
Portada: What are your main priorities for La Voz and related Houston Chron Hispanic media properties?
Alex Sanchez: “I really see four immediate priorities coming into the market: A number one priority is to be an advocate and voice for the community. La Voz is a watch dog and we want to make sure the population stays on top of current issues and remains well informed. In doing that, we will serve as a platform for the community to voice comments and concerns. In fact, we look forward to serving as the epicenter for dialogue and informational exchange, both on the print and digital platform. Additionally, we look to increase the La Voz share of voice in the marketplace. A major goal is to connect with the community. It’s a two-way street. With our increased community profile, we look forward to cementing and solidifying our connection in a variety of ways through different events, stories and programs. And lastly, as we grow the La Voz community footprint, of course we will grow the publication’s profitability. To sum it up, it’s advocacy, share of voice, community connection and profitability.”
Portada: We understand that Al Dia Texas has been successful during the last few years. What elements of its success are you going to incorporate to La Voz’s strategy?
A.S.: “I’d say first and foremost, it’s an understanding of the community and the niche within the niche. Having said that, it’s important to grasp that there are different audiences within this vast Hispanic space. With each of these audiences comes an area of need. For our part, we MUST comprehend who the audience truly is and what the audience wants for us to build the products that are relevant to them. You will see La Voz being very active in the community on a grass roots level. We will employ street teams, participate in events, create our own events and develop solid media relationships and partnerships that will aid us to further connect the segments. Having said that, we recognize that we are part of a super media brand — The Houston Chronicle. I will look for the internal adoption by the entire Chronicle team and enlist this team to help sell the brand.”
In what way are Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth different Hispanic newspaper markets?
A.S.: “The audience composition in Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth is similar, yet markedly different. Houston Hispanics come from many different countries of origin. The Houston audience is far more diverse in geographical origin and wealth composition.“
Both in Al Dia and now in La Voz you have had responsibilities in their sister English-language newspapers. How does this benefit your job as a publisher of a Hispanic newspaper?
A.S.: It gets La Voz “a seat at the table” so to speak. By being publisher of our Hispanic product AND part of the Houston Chronicle executive body, I am afforded the opportunity to elevate the Hispanic product to a higher level with greater speed. It allows La Voz to work across all Chronicle teams and gives us access to additional advocacy for the brand and the market. “
Al Dia is part of the EPMG Digital network of sites. Is La Voz also going to enter this network? What is your digital strategy for La Voz (including mobile)?
A.S.: “It’s under consideration.”
In what ad-categories do you see most growth potential going forward for La Voz?
A.S.: All of them. But specifically, I would say automotive, pre-prints, national, retail, and classified.”