Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Gilbert Bailón Leaves Al Día for St. Louis

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Leader in News Industry to Become Opinion Editor

Gilbert Bailón, a former executive editor of the Dallas Morning News who launched the paper's Spanish-language offshoot, Al Dí­a, of which he is editor and publisher, on Monday was named editorial page editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

 

Bailón, 48, is also president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, a past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a former board member of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

The move to St. Louis represents not only a break from the Belo Corp. — Bailón joined the Dallas Morning News as a reporter in 1986 — but from Spanish-language journalism.

He was detached in 2002 to create and lead Al Dí­a, which launched the next year as a paid, Monday-through-Saturday product after the rival Fort Worth Star-Telegram moved up the frequency of its own, free La Estrella from twice a week to Tuesday through Saturday. Al Dí­a, now free, has a circulation of 34,203 daily and 38,427 on Saturday, while La Estrella has become a weekly, Cynthia Schmidt Carr, the Dallas Morning News' senior vice president for niche products, told Journal-isms.

"We are very fortunate to have a journalist of Gilbert's caliber leading our editorial page, building the newspaper's long-standing tradition of advocacy for our region," said Post-Dispatch publisher Kevin Mowbray in announcing the appointment, according to a Post-Dispatch story.

Bailón said the editorial staff "will continue to build on our vital role as public servants in a free society and to help the readers stay informed to improve their lives," the story said.

Carr told Journal-isms that Bailón would not be immediately replaced. Bailón had "built a really strong team" that can carry on in the meantime, including Managing Editor Alfredo Carbajal and President Alejandro Sanchez, she said.

Carr said Bailón brought from the Dallas Morning News standards and a focus on good journalism, "and applied that to the Hispanic community. Al Día reflects those values." She noted that the newspaper had won for breaking news this year in the NAHJ awards for its coverage of immigration protests.

Belo executives praised Bailón's contributions in a story in the Spanish-language Al Dí­a.

In a note to the staff, Morning News Editor Bob Mong said of Bailón, "He never forgot where he came from or what it felt like to be a young journalist just starting out. He literally has helped hundreds of them over the years, many of whom can attribute at least some of their success to his caring and attentiveness. This is a legacy that rivals his many journalistic accomplishments."

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