The Cuenca Dispatch newspaper and the CuencaHighLife website have merged under a new company, Ecuador Media Marketing Services, Cia. Ltda. Partners in the new business are Michael Soares, founder of The Cuenca Dispatch, and David Morrill and Jonathan Mogrovejo of CuencaHighLife. The move comes on the heels of a partnership arrangement that has been in effect for several months.
“A few months ago we started to work together on some projects and realized our two businesses fit together very well,” says Soares, who will hold the title of publisher in the new venture. “When we started The Cuenca Dispatch, our goal was to give people something to read that made them feel good. There are so many sources of unpleasant and hostile news that we just wanted people to have that nostalgic feel of reading a newspaper when they were young, when local newspapers covered events in a more balanced and less sensational manner.”
Soares added: “We found over time that there were some negative stories that simply had to be covered. We still felt they could be covered in a way that was more informative and less sensational. And that’s what CuencaHighLife does. And they do it well every day.”
As the two publications worked together on some smaller projects, the idea germinated to combine assets so that The Cuenca Dispatch could grow into a Sunday newspaper with more pages, more information and longer, more in-depth articles of the news CunecaHighLife covers during the week.
“When you consider what we’ve been doing for years with CuencaHighLife, joining forces with The Cuenca Dispatch makes good sense,” says Morrill, who will be the editor of the merged media. “Many of the news stories we cover deserve greater coverage but because of the need for timely reporting and the nature of online publications, we’re forced to keep our posts short. Partnering with Dispatch, we will be able to provide greater depth and context of important stories in the expanded Sunday newspaper,” says Morrill.
In addition to plans of expanding The Cuenca Dispatch Sunday edition, the group will add more online services including an electronic advertising platform that will serve both publications, and a newly designed classified section both online and in print that the partners say will change the way people list products and services and items for sale.
“Right now, our readers are somewhat limited in how they can advertise themselves, their business or items they want to sell. With the technology we have today, there’s no excuse for that,” said Mogrovejo, the new venture’s General Manager. “We see a future where advertisers can reach potential customers with focused marketing plans that include print, online media and events, and where readers and customers can quickly and easily find the information they need without maneuvering through a sea of information they don’t need.”
Morrogejo said Ecuador Media Marketing Services plans to release early versions of the technology upgrades within the next two weeks.
CuencaHighLife.com was launched in 2008 by Morrill, a former newspaper reporter, columnist and university administrator who moved to Cuenca in 2004. Today, the website is the longest-running and most widely read English-language news site in Ecuador.
The Cuenca Dispatch was founded in 2016 by Soares, a former corporate acquisitions executive and the current owner of The Vegetable Bar restaurant in Cuenca. The newspaper is distributed at Cuenca Supermaxis and other locations in the city. Interested readers residing outside of Cuenca can subscribe to receive The Cuenca Dispatch in their inbox here.
CuencaHighLife, The Cuenca Dispatch and the daily e-letters have a combined monthly readership of 150,000.