Monday, January 23, 2006

NY Media: Hoy goes free

Brand new blue newspaper boxes started appearing during the weekend all through my neighborhood with the sign "HOY GRATIS!" Sure enough, this morning I picked up the first free issue of the daily newspaper Hoy before I went into the subway.

This is the latest step for a beleaguered newspaper which emerged as an alternative to the other major New York City Spanish-language daily, El Diario La Prensa but has suffered as of late: Since 2004 advertising at Hoy had fallen precipitously, a number of reporters had been fired and local newspaper stands started refusing to carry the newspaper due to their delays in meeting store-front sale agreements.

The reason? The damaging findings by the Audit Bureau of Circulation released in the summer of 2004 which revealed that Hoy and its parent newspaper, the English-language daily Newsday, had substantially inflated circulation numbers (a key measure when it comes to a newspaper's livelihood: Advertising prices).

This is unfortunate because Hoy's reporting on LGBT issues has been, for the most part, stellar, bringing fair and balanced information to a large segment of the New York City Spanish-speaking community with cover stories on same-sex marriage (see image above), gay-bias attacks in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, the suicide of a transgender Mexican porn actress, the hanging death of a gay Mexican youth at Flushing Meadows Park, and gay pride rallies. Last year they even did a first-ever gay pride supplement featuring several community organizations as well as a story on gay parenting.

So, this might be a last-ditch move for a newspaper looking for a way out of a circulation scandal, a smart move that will save it, or both. Let's hope it survives and can continue to be a voice for some of our issues in years to come.

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