Interview: Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush

Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush joined El Diario/La Prensa, New York's largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the US after launching and directing Time Americas, Time magazine's Spanish-language supplement for Latin America.

Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush joined El Diario/La Prensa, New York's largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the US after launching and directing Time Americas, Time magazine's Spanish-language supplement for Latin America. He has also served as deputy editor of the Latin American edition of Time, managing editor of ArtNews, and as a research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations.

PRWeek: How has El Diario/La Prensa evolved in order to meet the needs of the Hispanic population, which is now the largest minority group in the US?

Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush: It's an exciting and important moment for the Latino population in the US. Hispanics are basically standing on the threshold of a series of very important events. One is in terms of political influence. This is really the first time in which Latino voters have played a vital role in the political nominating process of both political parties. And in political activism generally, there are a record number of Hispanic politicians that are going to be elected to office this coming election.

Economically, the Latino population has been under-noticed and underserved generally by businesses. Hispanics are at the point in which they are such an important market, such a growing market, and such a vital market that they really can no longer be ignored by advertisers and business.

PRWeek: What are the most important election issues to your readers? How does El Diario/La Prensa's coverage of the presidential elections address those issues?

Vourvoulias-Bush: El Diario along with the other Impremedia sister publications, did some polling of Hispanic voters and the three top issues for Hispanic voters are, as one would expect, the economy, the war in Iraq, and immigration. Those, by far, are the most important issues and they are issues in which Hispanic voters feel very strongly.

In El Diario along with our sister papers, we've had an unprecedented level of coverage of the national presidential election. We've had, together with El Opinion in Los Angeles, six reporters embedded in different campaigns, following different candidates on a day-to-day basis, we've done complete coverage coast-to-coast of the primary season, of the debates, always focusing specifically on the issues that are important to our readers and the Latino community.

We will continue our coverage, [which is] an unprecedented level of coverage, not only for the Hispanic press, but in terms of the ethnic media across the board and across languages.

PRWeek: For the Hispanic community, how important is the Internet?

Vourvoulias-Bush: It's very important and growing [in importance]. As you know, there's a digital divide in this country, in which Hispanics have a lower level of access to the Web than non-Hispanics. But Hispanics are the fastest growing group in terms of gaining access to the Net and the fastest growing group in terms of broadband access, wireless use, and a whole series of measures. We see this enthusiasm and surge of use in the Latino community. We want El Diario to be among the future providers of information on the Internet to Latinos in the US, and Impremedia wants to be among the future providers.

To [go] back to our election coverage, we partnered with MTV and MySpace to provide online candidate forums and debates with some of the major candidates in Spanish. We've reached out to online Latinos and we plan to do so in the future.

PRWeek: In 2004, El Diario/La Prensa merged with La Opinon beneath the Impremedia umbrella. How does coverage and content in LA differ from New York? How do those two regions differ from coverage and content in other parts of the country?

Vourvoulias-Bush: The merger was an important event, partly because La Opinion and El Diario are perhaps the two most prestigious, well-respected Spanish-language newspapers in the US. They're publications with long traditions of quality journalism and paying attention to the Latino communities we serve.

New York is the second largest Hispanic community in the US; it's one of the most plural of the communities in the US. We have a very important number of readers who come from or their families come from every Latin American country. We have a whole network of correspondents in Latin America; we have a broader network of correspondents in Latin American than The New York Times does. And we have to do that because our readers, in a very real sense, live with one foot in two worlds. And they understand that what happens in Queens or in Washington Heights effects what happens in Puebla or in Santo Domingo.

For, La Opinion, their readership profile is different. Most of their readers come from Mexico and Central America originally and so they're focused in terms of connecting the dots between the local stories and the national context and the international context is just slightly different from ours.

PRWeek: What has been El Diario's relationship with the PR industry? What are your tips for PR pros who want to pitch you stories?

Vourvoulias-Bush: We have great relations with the PR industry. The PR industry provides a very useful service for us because there are times in which different agencies have brought to our attention issues or services or companies that we think make great news stories.

My advice is the PR pitch that comes from someone who knows our publication, knows what sort of issues we cover, or knows [the] tone of our paper, or knows who our audience is, those pitches are always more interesting to us than the broad pitches that really come to us without any knowledge of who we are.

Know the publication you're pitching and direct it in a way that you know will be of interest to that publication's readers.

Name: Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush
Title: Executive editor
Outlet: El Diario/La Prensa
Preferred contact method: alberto.voirvoulias@eldiariony.com
Web site: http://www.eldiariony.com/noticias/index.aspx

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