Journalist Q&A: Armando Correa, People en Español

Armando Correa, managing editor of People en Español and bilingual peopleenespañol.com, speaks about the evolution of the print title and how to best pitch it

Name: Armando Correa
Title: Managing editor
Outlet: People en Español
Preferred e-mail address: Armando_correa@ peoplemag.com
Website: www.peopleenespanol.com

Armando Correa, managing editor of People en Español and bilingual peopleenespañol.com, speaks to Alexandra Bruell about the evolution of the print title and how to best pitch it

Discuss the evolution of the magazine.

Correa: Our first issue was in 1996 and it was a project. After [star singer] Selena's death, People created a special issue that sold 1 million-plus copies. It realized there was a Hispanic audience and decided to create People en Español.

I worked for The Miami Herald's Spanish edition at the time. They offered to bring me here to work on a five-year project. They started with only four issues a year and then we started doing 10 issues.

Even today, people think it's just a translation for People. At the beginning, it was half and half. Then we started working with our celebrities. It was a crossover of sorts when we started. We had Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, and Enrique Iglesias. Then, we started defining our voice. And here we are 15 years later. What was a small group of subscribers is now about half a million.

The 15th anniversary will be a big party around the whole company. Coverage will be the behind-the-scenes, big stories. We'll look at things such as Shakira then and now.

What other misperceptions do PR people have about People en Español?

Correa: The problem is we get pitches about someone having huge success with a CD release. This is not how we work. This isn't a music or movie magazine. It's about people. If they have to pitch a story like that, they need to find the human-interest side. I spend hours talking to publicists about this.

So how can PR pros effectively pitch you?

Correa: There's a PR company in Miami that gets it. First they said, "We have something about Sofia Vergara and her line for Kmart." We said we couldn't use it. Then they came with a story about doing a photo shoot with Sofia, her family, and the new Kmart line. This is a piece we can work with.

How often do you profile non-Hispanic celebrities?

Correa: At the start, our "Most Beautiful People" list was almost half Hispanic. Now, the entire list [in our May issue] is Hispanic.

Sometimes we cover Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt with the family because our audience in Mexico - not the Mexicans in Los Angeles - don't read the English version, but sometimes they want to know about this kind of celebrity.

Is that a result of the growing Hispanic population here?

Correa: If you are an English-dominant Hispanic living in the US, you will not buy People en Español to read about Jennifer Aniston. You can have that in People or InStyle. If you're going to buy it, you're going to want access to the celebrities you don't have access to in the US.

Fashion is different, however. For the best and worst dressed lists, we're doing red-carpet coverage in the US.

How does recent Census data affect the brand?

Correa: Hispanics total more than 50 million here. This information is more for the general market, agencies, and clients. For us, that information is most important for sales to leverage. They can use it to say we're strong and the population is spending millions in the US.

Describe your readers?

Correa: They are between 30 and 40 years old. They have families and are watching Telemundo. They love soap operas.

Where does editorial meet brand promotion? What's your role in balancing the two?

Correa: People en Español is not the same as People and we must have a voice in the market. The brand is really strong. My role is to keep the connection with our readers. This is an entertainment magazine for users, but we must cover it all. That's a tough part of the job to un-derstand. To clients, 'Hispanic' is not just one nationality, so we have to cover many areas.

For the "50 Most Beautiful" list, for example, we had seven [ethnicities]. Hispanics on the East Coast are different from those in Mexico, who differ from those in Los Angeles. Sometimes we have to divide the East Coast between New York and Miami. It's tough trying to find a voice for all these ethnicities around the US.

Are there specific sections gaining popularity?

Correa: The front of the book, all the photos of celebrities and fami-lies, is very popular. Also, our fashion editor's column, which once had one of the lowest readerships in America, is now one of the highest. Columns about motherhood, relationships, training, or diet are also very popular with our readers.

Discuss the website and its reach.

Correa: The audience is sometimes completely different from the magazine. The website appeals more to multicultural people than the print title.

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