Ryan Bouc, publisher of Hispanos Unidos newspapers in Columbus and Lincoln, Nebraska recently sold the publications to the Lincoln Journal Star (circ. 74,586, Sundays 83,387) and its parent company Lee Enterprises. Bouc took ownership of the Columbus paper in January 2004 and launched the Lincoln paper on May 5. The Spanish language weeklies are among the first Hispanic publications purchased by Iowa-based Lee Enterprises. Lee owns 38 daily newspapers plus joint-interest in six others papers in 19 states. Lee also publishes nearly 200 weekly newspapers, shoppers and classified and specialty publications.

Bouc, who is now general manager of the Spanish language papers, says that Hispanos Unidos and its staff have only gained from the transaction. One of the major benefits is access to increased rack locations. “In Crete, NE, Hispanos Unidos went from 50 racks to almost three times that number with the addition of racks owned by Lee,” says Bouc. Currently, the paper, which has a circulation of 5,000, is distributed half by rack and half by mail, but Bouc plans to increase rack distribution and eventually mail only to subscribers. His mailing list is purchased from a large national list company. Bouc declined to disclose the company's name. Increased rack distribution will also lower mailing costs making large inserts more affordable. Currently, Hispanos Unidos is supported entirely through local advertising by companies like Woods Bros. Realty in Lincoln and Jack Keef General Motors in Crete. Potential national advertisers include cell phone companies and General Motors. Bouc and his editors will retain control of editorial content and will have access to Lincoln Journal Stars' well-established systems, databases and photo banks. “We now have access to a functional system. We are able to sit in on meetings and really see how a big business works,” explains Bouc. The editorial and sales staff has not changed, except that now many part-time and freelance employees have become staffers. Bouc declined to give information regarding the papers' annual revenues.

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