Wehco Media Launching Tenn. Spanish-language Paper, Arkansas Weekly to Follow

By: Mark Fitzgerald

Walter E. Hussman Jr.’s Wehco Media is launching Spanish-language weeklies from its daily papers in Tennessee and Arkansas.

The papers will share content and business operations, with the paper in Chattanooga taking the lead, Jeff Jeffus, vice president and general manager of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Northwest told E&P Friday.

Noticias Hoy de Chattanooga will be launched Thursday Jan. 26 by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The flagship Democrat-Gazette will launch Noticias Hoy del Noroeste de Arkansas this spring. The target date now is April 6, Jeffus said.

Both papers will initially be 16 broadsheet pages in two sections, Jeffus said. Both will be free-distribution.

In northwest Arkansas, the paper will be run by Hector Cuevas, who is also the circulation director for the Democrat-Gazette’s aggressive northwest Arkansas edition. In the market, subscribers get the Democrat-Gazette plus an inserted copy of either the Benton County Daily Record or the Northwest Arkansas Times.

The Democrat-Gazette’s Spanish-language paper will circulate in the northwest of the state where its rival, The Morning News, already publishes two free Spanish-language weeklies.

Based in Springfield, Ark., The Morning News publishes La Prensa in the Arkansas part of its market, and El Tiempo in Missouri. They have a combined distribution of about 16,000 copies.

Arkansas has the nation’s fastest-growing Hispanic population, according to the U.S. census, and the northwestern part of the state is the epicenter of that population boom. An estimated 50,000 Hispanics live in the area now, many attracted by food-processing jobs available at Arkansas-headquartered Tyson Foods.

“Our main reason for doing this, of course, is that we feel like that portion of population is underserved here,” Jeffus said.

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