Family-run paper provides resource for growing Hispanic community
It was a rainy day, we had been in Nebraska for one week but we already fell in love with the country, the landscape, and the beautiful people that we met. During that experience Elisa and I had the great opportunity to meet and interview with this issue’s Entrepreneur Extraordinaire, who have their work and their passion, the editors and publishers of Buenos Dias Nebraska.
Norma and Jose Rives were seated on a green sofa near the big windows in Buenos Dias Nebraska’s headquarters in downtown Grand Island, Nebraska.
They are the mind and the pen of Buenos Dias Nebraska, a Spanish newspaper printed in 12 cities across Nebraska. The publication helps Hispanic community by giving them essential information in Spanish.
Grand Island has a growing Hispanic community, according to Census.gov, around 27 percent of the entire population of the city are Hispanic.
Buenos Dias Nebraska was started by a husband and wife duo, and has remained a family business since. Oscar Rives founded the newspaper 17 years ago.
“At first, it was a local free newspaper for Hispanic community, but a lot of things have changed since then, now the focus on the Hispanic community is deeper and we talk about a lot of things that are going to be around [the] community,” Norma Rives said.
Buenos Dias Nebraska tries to fill the gap between Hispanic community, the illegal immigrants and the American culture around them.
Oscar Rives came to the U.S. with a working visa 18 years ago. He was a taxi driver in Zacatecas, Mexico, and before he studied to become an architect. In 2000, he started the newspaper. Norma Rives was born in Vera Cruz, Mexico. When she was 15 she moved to Zacatecas where her family has a store. She studied to become an accountant in Mexico, but nowadays she is the one who writes the news for the paper.
Keep focus local
“We work on local news with the aim of helping the Hispanic community be more informed about the different local activities and fundraising events. At the same time, we have a lot of donors and people who work for free. We care a lot about local activities, we talk about immigration, technology and science. The main topics are local news and information about immigration primarily,” Norma Rives said regarding the topics Buenos Dias Nebraska covers. “Hispanics want to know that there is help from nonprofit organizations. Over 100 nonprofit organizations work here and help with different problems, from donating Christmas gifts, to putting a roof over the heads of people in need.”
Buenos Dias Nebraska’s revenue is generated by advertising, 90 percent of which comes from local businesses. The cost of the advertisements varies, it goes from $30 to $1,000 per month due to the different kind of ad being placed and the business they talk with.
Norma writes almost every article in the paper, but they have also a freelancer who is not part of the family who works a couple of hours per week. It’s for free and they don’t receive any payment.
“In total, five people work at the magazine,” explains Jose Rives. “[We have someone] who writes and is focused on content, she is my mom [Norma]. A sales manager, [who works on sales], someone who works on videos and different kinds of promotion; and dad, who is involved in distribution and delivery, he cares about printing. So it can be called a family business.”
The most important thing for the Rives family is connection, a lot of people look for the magazine and respect its content.
“We are not religious, we are not political, so if someone wants to write something that is aggressive we don’t include it,” Norma said.
Looking to grow
When Oscar started the business, the newspaper was distributed in 4 cities, today Buenos Dias Nebraska is read in 10 cities: Omaha, Lincoln, Schuyler, York primarily and another six towns: Grand Island, Gibbon, Kearney, Lexington, Minden, Hastings.
They always are thinking about how to increase the business.
“Everyday we’re looking to different ways to grow, everyday we expand! We are always looking for new ideas and we spend a lot of money in new businesses,” Jose said.
The publication is an online resource as well, you can find a majority of their content online at buenosdiasnebraska.com. They have seen their web traffic grow since they started promoting it more online.
“We’re actually in the process of working with a web designer [who updates our site] and we have a Facebook page. In the last three months we have had 100-200 people reading the periodical online,” Jose said of their digital newspaper. “Our focus is on national news, not global, and the most interesting topic for Hispanic population is news about immigration.”
Like many publications, one challenge for Buenos Dias Nebraska has been engaging readers, Jose said. “A great challenge is involving more readers, now we have about 600 people reading online, we have an app that is still in progress.”
Jose is the eldest son of the Norma and Oscar, and considers himself to be the one with the most innovative ideas of the family. He is interested in the 3D printing methods in order to change the way they print the magazine. He said that they have to find the way to “keep the newspaper alive” and up with the times.
Every business person has motivation, and Norma is no different.
“When we bought the newspaper Oscar hadn’t spent too much time on it. He had a lot of businesses, he was focused on advertising, real estate,” she said. “His way of thinking was different from mine, for example on Facebook there were only six followers, and now we have 6,000 of them.
“We believe that is important for Hispanic people to be aware of events and all the other things that happen in the community they are living in.”
Change it up
That’s where the publication started to change.
“We started to offer more information, to increase the use of online content, and fundraising. My interest was and still is the community and how to help it. Before the news about the events in the city were only in English, but most of the people in our community don’t speak English very well. So I started to translate them, to let people know about events for children or parents for example,” Norma said.
Online traffic started growing and so did overall readership. Buenos Dias Nebraska’s reach had bridged the gap between the Hispanic community and the non-Hispanic community.
It is no surprise that Rives family struggles with printing costs of the newspaper. One of their dreams for the future is to own their own printing equipment. For them, laser printing would be fantastic.
They also have their sights set on possibly starting a new magazine in order to sell the copies. Buenos Dias Nebraska is, and will remain, a free magazine for the users, and the other newspaper can be useful to cover the cost of Buenos Dias Nebraska.
Norma said they are excited for what the future holds and gives business owners sound advice, “If you want to open a business, it is because you have a dream. It’s not easy, but you have to do everything in your power to achieve your goals.”
“Don’t be scared,” Jose added excitedly.
For more information about Buenos Dias Nebraska visit them at buenosdiasnebraska.com.
THIS STORY WAS COMPILED BY STUDENTS FROM THE INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF LANGUAGES AND MEDIA FROM MILAN, ITALY.
Christina graduated in International Relations and Politics, in Catania (Italy). She is very interested in issues such as sustainable development and multicultural environment. She is getting a Master’s Degree in Communication for International Relations, in Milan at IULM University of Language and Communication.
Elisa graduated in Economics and Business Administration at Catholic University of Milan. She chose the MICRI Master because of the entrepreneurial history of her family and the great opportunities that the program offers.