La guerra entreEl Diario y La Prensa

The newspapers merged in 1963, but they weren't always the best of friends

You probably have always seen them together. However, El Diario and La Prensa didn’t always see eye to eye. When the first issue of El Diario came out in 1948, La Prensa had three decades of history as the city’s only Spanish-language newspaper—and it made no mention of its new rival.

But the two media outlets didn’t ignore each other, especially as El Diario started gaining ground. They battled after the 1956 disappearance of Spanish intellectual Jesús Galíndez, a columnist for El Diario and promoter of the Hispanic Parade—who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.

Stanley Ross, editor of El Diario, reported Galíndez’s disappearance. However, La Prensa said the report had been delayed by several days, to which Ross responded with an angry editorial where he accused his rival of trying to damage his reputation. (In 1984, Manuel de Dios Unanue, editor of El Diario/La Prensa, confirmed during an investigation that Ross deliberately delayed filing the report.)

In March 1957, El Diario raised suspicions about La Prensa’s charity funds: “So far, we don’t know anyone who has benefited from those thousands of dollars,” it said in an editorial.

Four years later, it was La Prensa’s turn to attack El Diario for criticizing the appointment of two Puerto Ricans close to Governor Luis Muñoz Marín to top diplomatic posts. La Prensa, which avoided mentioning its competitor by name, considered this an offense to Puerto Ricans, publishing a series of articles with headlines like “Newspaper Insults Boricuas.”

The mutual attacks stopped in 1962, when businessman Roy O. Chalk purchased both papers. They continued to be published independently and briefly shared the same editor: Stanley Ross. From April 8, 1963, when the first joint issue of El Diario/La Prensa was published, they’ve been inseparable.