After more than 33 years, the founder and publisher of El Central Hispanic News, Dolores Sanchez, has handed over the reins and sold her business to Eva Garza Dewaelsche and her husband Robert.
Based in Southwest Detroit, El Central Hispanic News has been a pioneer in local bilingual and Hispanic cultural news. The award-winning publication is the oldest and only bilingual newspaper in Michigan.
The paper announced the new ownership on April 14.
“EL Central Hispanic News is an institution in our community of Southwest Detroit and in the Hispanic community statewide,” Robert tells Metro Times.
The newspaper will remain a Hispanic- and women-owned company with Eva Garza as the majority shareholder and publisher, while Robert will have a minority ownership share and serve as managing editor.
Throughout the years, Robert says his family always had countless copies of the newspaper in their home, so they know its value personally.
“We knew that after 33 years of publishing, the founder and publisher of the paper, Dolores Sanchez, would be thinking about what happens next, so we approached her to inquire about her plans,” he says. “After some more thought on both sides, we reached an agreement to purchase the paper in order to continue its contributions and legacy in our community.”
Sanchez created her company to not only inform the local community of the news, but to also promote and enhance the image of Hispanic people and Hispanic-owned businesses.
The new owners say they aim to continue the sections of the newspaper that readers enjoy and find useful, including its bilingual English/Spanish content and its focus on local features and news.
“At the same time, we plan to expand readership,” Garza says. “The biggest change is we plan to ‘go digital’ as soon as possible to make the paper accessible online through a brand-new website and regular email blasts to free subscribers.”
Sanchez says she is delighted to pass the legacy of the newspaper to the Dewaelsche family.
“I was very happy to learn that Eva Garza Dewaelsche and her husband Robert were interested in carrying on the legacy of El Central Hispanic News, because they are both from our community and committed to making it a better place for everyone who lives and works here,” Sanchez said in a press release. “I feel very confident that they will uphold the integrity of El Central News and the important role that the newspaper fills in keeping our people informed and helping to celebrate their accomplishments.”
The paper is a free publication supported entirely by advertising revenues. Sanchez will remain active with the newspaper as founder, publisher emeritus, and director of advertising and sales.
“We have already begun to reach out to local residents and representatives of businesses and nonprofit agencies to provide even more original content and discussion of issues important to our readers,” says Dewaelsche. “We would love to be able to engage the next generation to learn about the field of journalism and hone their journalistic skills.”
As long-term residents and businesspeople working in Southwest Detroit for most of their adult careers, Robert and Eva say they appreciate being a part of the community.
“We love the culture, the food, the music, and the camaraderie of the people we encounter in Southwest Detroit every day,” Garza says. “You will not find a more vibrant, diverse, and collaborative community anywhere else in our great city.”
Over the next few months, the publication will launch a brand-new website and build up a social media presence. The new team also plans to include many more original articles and features contributed by local writers.
Mariana Garcia, 52, of Detroit says she is glad that the newspaper will continue to serve her community.
“El Central has been around for a long time, you know, so it’s good to see that there will be improvement to the paper,” Garcia says. “I look forward to seeing all the wonderful [things] happening with it.”
Robert says the goal is to keep El Central a part of the community for many years to come.
“Our overall goal is to preserve the voice of local, Hispanic leaders and families,” Dewaelsche says, adding, “Ultimately, after a few years, we would love to turn over the reins of this news media organization to an employee- or community-owned enterprise that will be sustainable for generations because of the vital role that this publication plays in our community.”
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