continued Asked if Frontera has reached a position of influence in Tijuana, Healy nods and offers as evidence, "[The authorities] often follow our lead. A few times we've discovered something wrong, and two or three days after, or even the same day, the authorities do what they need to do. Two weeks ago we discovered a casino working illegally in Rosarito beside the Palenque, where the roosters fight. So we put that on the front page, and four days later the authorities closed the casino."
The building that houses both the Frontera offices and its printing press sits on the Vía Rápida Poniente, Tijuana's chief east-west artery, about three miles east of the San Ysidro border crossing. It's a modern building, though it incorporates elements of colonial Mexican architecture. You enter into a stone-tiled rotunda lit by high windows and halogen spotlights. Busy staff members bustle back and forth across a balcony at one end of the rotunda. Upstairs, the editorial lounge area is furnished with leather couches and mission-style coffee and end tables. The place has a posh air to it. "We decided to invest in a nice building because we wanted people to know that we came here to stay. We want to be permanent, like we are in Hermosillo and Mexicali. When they see this, they say, 'These people are serious.' And in a way, we think that to be a good newspaper, you give your people a very functional building. Our old newspaper in Hermosillo, El Imparcial, it's in an old building, and every year we have to open walls to retrofit the building, and it's very problematical. So we decided to build a functional building so that people would work better."
Like their building, the bulk of Frontera's readership is on the high end. "We are the number one in what we call the ABC market," Healy explains. "The A is the highest class, B is the upper-middle class, and C is the middle class. D is the lower-middle class. We also cover D but not as well as the ABC. E class is the lowest, and unfortunately, they don't read newspapers because it's an expensive product for them. The newspaper costs six pesos, and E class, they don't have the extra money to spend on it."
Healy convinced the paper's board to invest in the paper's design. "My job as publisher and CEO is to push some things like that. I thought we needed to have a very good and very good-looking newspaper from the beginning."
Frontera is visually striking. The first two and last two pages of each section display vivid color in the graphics. And the color photographs are crisp and lack the fuzziness often seen in color newspaper photos. But nice buildings and slick design aren't cheap, and Healy, when asked if the paper is profitable, answers, "Not yet. We are very near to being profitable. We just had a fiesta celebrating three years; now our plan is to be profitable in the fourth year. We're getting there. In fact, the last six months we have been profitable. But if you look at it over all three years, we haven't been profitable. But we're getting closer."