New Editor, and Local Focus, for Chicago's 'La Raza'

By: Mark Fitzgerald La Raza in Chicago, one of the nation's biggest Spanish-language weeklies, has a new top editor with an assignment to break more local news.

Jorge Mederos, who had been the editor of the paper's zoned metro sections, was named managing editor, La Raza Publisher and CEO Robert J. Armband announced.

La Raza, which is now owned by New York City-based ImpreMedia along with El Diario La Prensa in New York and La Opinion in Los Angeles, also named Steve Forrestal as general manager and controller. Forrestal's 20-year career includes a 10-year stint with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. In Chicago, Tribune publishes an edition of its daily Spanish-language newspaper Hoy and distributes a weekend total market coverage (TMC) that competes directly with La Raza, a weekend tabloid with a distribution of 187,401. Of that total, about 160,000 is delivered free to households in heavily Hispanic Zip Codes.

"I've been looking for a way that we could continue to delve even deeper into local news, and issues that ... challenge the community," Armband said in a interview Friday. "Jorge has been doing that as editor of our zoned Metros, so instead of looking outside, we brought him in as the new managing editor."

The previous top editor, Elbio Rodriguez Barilari, will continue to contribute to the paper, Armband said. "He's a Renaissance guy, as you know," Armband said. "He's got so many opportunities coming his way in teaching, music, maybe even going back to [his native Uruguay]. This has all been brewing for some time." Barilari, whose musical compositions have been performed by Chicago-based and international orchestras, was profiled in E&P's February 2004 issue.

Armband said Forrestal was hired as a " very strong CFO type" to meet the heavier workload of financial reporting demanded by chain ownership.

"For me it's a godsend," Armband said. "I've got more time to spend in the community instead of balancing the books."


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