La Prensa is San Antonio’s only bilingual newspaper, owned and operated by Tino and Millie Duran since 1988. Serving as San Antonio’s source for positive community news, it boasts a longstanding legacy in the city’s Hispanic community. In 2013, the publisher of La Prensa, Tino Duran, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As a result, Mr. Duran became increasingly less involved in the paper’s day-to-day needs. In his absence, the newspaper was mismanaged and risked bankruptcy by December 2015.
His daughter, Nina Duran, was given the opportunity to take over the paper as publisher and save its operations in January 2016. At the time, Nina held the position of Vice President of Sales & Marketing at HeartFire Media, a creative marketing firm in San Antonio owned by Samantha Najera. Nina and Samantha chose to partner the two companies and combine resources to save La Prensa.
Aside from saving the paper’s finances, an overhaul of the paper’s design was also necessary. The newspaper’s logo and website had not been updated in over 10 years. Necessary upgrades included launching an updated website, activating social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), updating the paper’s logo and tagline, and updating the layout of the print edition. The ultimate goal was to expand the paper’s audience to include San Antonio’s new generation of bilingual, tech-savvy millennials.
After physically merging the companies’ offices, Samantha and Nina strategized how the two companies would work together. Samantha developed a business plan and strategic timeline of roll-outs for the year ahead. Staff roles were altered as needed to adapt to the changes envisioned for the paper.
After finalizing the plan, Nina and Samantha chose to publicly announce the upcoming changes via press conference in front of San Antonio’s City Hall. The goal of the press conference was to inform local media, city officials, and the general public about the new business partnership, the proposed changes to the newspaper, and Mr. Duran’s retirement.
HeartFire Media contacted City Hall for permission to conduct the press conference in early March. Once granted permission, a date and time were set for Monday, March 21, 2016 at 10:30 AM. HeartFire rented a podium, microphone and speakers for the press conference. Additional planning included creating La Prensa/HeartFire Media branded Fiesta Medals for free distribution to all who attended the press conference.
HeartFire Media published a teaser about the upcoming announcement in their weekly e-newsletter on March 3rd. The e-newsletter reached over 1200 local community leaders and business owners. The new Fiesta Medals were also promoted on social media to generate buzz about the upcoming announcement.
HeartFire Media and La Prensa officially announced their business partnership on March 16, 2016 via La Prensa’s Facebook page, Nina’s personal Facebook page, and HeartFire Media’s e-newsletter. That week, Samantha was interviewed by Texas Public Radio, where she had the opportunity to discuss the business partnership and promote the press conference.
Personal invites to city officials were placed via phone call the week prior to the event. A press release was sent to local media outlets the day prior and the morning of the press conference, inviting reporters to cover the story. Follow-up phone calls to media were also placed the morning of the press conference.
After setting up the equipment from the entertainment supplier, the press conference was held in front of San Antonio’s City Hall. HeartFire Media’s Marketing Coordinator, Blanca Morales, facilitated live social media posts, including a Facebook Live video of the press conference, onsite Instagram posting, and tweeting of the event. Follow up interviews between the media, Nina and Mr. Duran, were facilitated by HeartFire Media’s CEO, Samantha Najera.
Effectiveness of the press conference was measured by the quantity of attendees, the extent of media coverage, and engagement on its social media posts. Over 50 people attended the press conference, including various city officials. Feature stories were published by the Rivard Report, the San Antonio Business Journal, and News Radio 1200. All local televisions stations covered the event, including KSAT 12, WOAI 4, Fox 29, Univision and Time Warner Cable News. HeartFire Media’s Facebook live video reached 20,947 people, generated 9,930 views and 321 reactions.
The University of the Incarnate Word published a follow-up article in their student newspaper, the Logos, about the change in leadership at La Prensa. Their alumni magazine, The Word, published a feature story on the partnership of the two companies, with a focus on Nina, Samantha and Blanca’s roles in the new dual business dynamic.