MEDIA: HISPANIC OUTLETS - Media Roundup. Hispanic boom presentsplenty of PR opportunities

The boom of the American-Hispanic population has attracted an army

of Spanish-language media. David Ward looks at some of the key pitching

opportunities propelled by advertisers looking to tap into this

burgeoning market.

The increasing size and economic clout of the Hispanic community in the

US is helping to boost Spanish-language media to new heights. Not only

are Spanish-language outlets thriving in Hispanic population centers in

South Florida, Texas, California, Chicago, and New York, but there are

new radio stations and community newspapers in emerging markets in

Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, and North Carolina.

Driving much of this media growth are advertisers looking to tap into

the Hispanic community, which grew 58% to more than 35 million during

the 1990s. That, in turn, has prompted the Hispanic media to invest more

money and resources into news-gathering operations, resulting in more

outlets and better journalism. "The quality has gone from poor to

excellent," says Claudia Fonnegra, SVP with Edelman's diversity

solutions division.

"Where it used to be a very gossipy kind of news, there's a lot more

hard-core news, and it's a lot more sophisticated. Right now, we have no

reason to envy the general-market media at all."

This is especially true in television, where Univision and Telemundo

enjoy a national reach comparable to major broadcast networks. Telemundo

was recently acquired by NBC for $2 billion after a bidding war

with Viacom.

The TV market is set to grow early next year when Univision launches

Telefutura, giving major markets at least three news and entertainment

channels in the Spanish language.

While virtually all Hispanic journalists working in the US are

bilingual, many PR professionals recommend issuing releases and other

material in Spanish when dealing with a Spanish-language outlet. "You

want them to use the lingo that you're using," explains Cristina Alfaro,

SVP of marketing and communications at Miami-based IAC Group. "You don't

want them to translate something literally, because sometimes a phrase

in English has a different meaning in Spanish."

Hispanic PR Wire believes that releases should be bilingual, and

distributes around 90% of its content in both Spanish and English. "It

minimizes common translation errors that can hurt you or your client,"

says president and CEO Manny Ruiz.

It's more than just translation

Of course, it's not just language that separates the Hispanic and

general interest press - it's also content. While the front pages of

Spanish-language newspapers do have stories on the war in Afghanistan,

there is a lot more space devoted to news from the Caribbean, and

Central and South America.

"They would give a lot more coverage to the hurricane in Cuba, whereas

that would not get major coverage in the general press," notes


Virginia Sanchez, director of PR at Houston-based Lopez Negrete

Communications, says Spanish-language outlets have a slightly different

mission than their English-language counterparts. "One of the roles that

the Hispanic media plays is helping its audience understand what is

happening in their community in their language of choice," she says.

At the same time, Dora Tovar, director of PR for The Bravo Group, says

the Hispanic media also helps second- and third-generation Hispanic

Americans learn more about their heritage as part of a growing trend

toward "retro-acculturation." Ruiz identifies family, aspiration,

empowerment, and living advice as being the most powerful themes.

As a result of this dual education and community-building role,

audiences tend to be fiercely devoted to Hispanic media outlets. While

numerous general-interest newspapers have targeted the Spanish-language

audience (either through special inserts or, in the case of the Los

Angeles Times, the launch of a Spanish-language newspaper), they are not

easy sells.

"Just like the Hispanic consumers are extremely brand-loyal, they are

also incredibly loyal to those community newspapers that have struggled

for decades to reach a level of profitability and value," says


In the end, the Los Angeles Times abandoned its Spanish-language paper,

and instead invested in L'Opinion.

In the past, the Hispanic media tended to be somewhat regional: In Los

Angeles, it was L'Opinion; in Miami, El Nuevo Herald; and in New York,

El Diario and others. But now, layered over this regional media, are

national broadcasters Univision and Telemundo, the national radio news

service Radio Unica, and a growing number of lifestyle and business

magazines targeting Hispanics from all walks of life. These include the

bilingual magazine Latina, Latin Style, Urban Latino, Hoy, Hispanic

magazine, and Hispanic Business, as well as Spanish-language versions of

Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, Popular

Science, and even Motor Trend. Maxim, arguably the most successful

magazine launch in recent years, has announced a Spanish-language

version to be published by Grupo Televisa.

Currently, the rising star among Hispanic magazines is People en


"Nothing really sticks like People en Espanol," says Joe Genova, media

director with advertising and marketing firm Lopez Negrete, adding that

since its launch in the mid-1990s, the magazine has grown to a

circulation of more than 400,000.

Journalists stake their claim

All this growth has created tremendous opportunities for Hispanic

journalists, some of whom move comfortably back and forth between the

English- and Spanish-language press. They include Maria Hinjosa, who

went from Latina to CNN, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald

columnist Liz Balmaseda.

Other high-profile Hispanic journalists include Univision anchor and

syndicated writer Jorge Ramos, People en Espanol editor Angelo Figueroa,

and Cristina Saralegui, the "Oprah Winfrey of Hispanic media." Among the

key Hispanic journalists working in the general-interest press are

Eduardo Porter of The Wall Street Journal.

One of the benefits that many of the US Spanish-language media outlets

enjoy is distribution in Central and Latin America. But PR professionals

say this international reach is not a primary concern among clients.

"Our goal is to reach the US Hispanic market," says Sanchez. "That they

have an extra circulation outside the country doesn't change our

strategy. It's more of a bonus audience."

Indeed, targeting a US Hispanic audience is complicated enough. Ray

Durazo, president of Los Angeles-based Durazo Communications, points out

that not only are there various nationalities, but the level of

acculturation varies from recent immigrants who speak Spanish

exclusively, to second- and third-generation US residents who get most

of their news from English-language sources, but still gravitate to

Hispanic outlets for cultural content. As a result, campaigns need to be

continually tweaked depending on the target segment within the

Spanish-speaking community.

Fonnegra says Edelman faced that challenge when launching Home Shopping

Espanol last year. In addition to a high-profile launch event in New

York, the agency also took the shopping network's celebrity hosts on the

road for events in New York, Miami, Puerto Rico, and Los Angeles. "These

events were all very targeted," she says. "In New York, we used

Charytin, who is Dominican. In Miami, it was Lucia Mendez, who is an

international singing star. In Puerto Rico, it was Charlie Masso, who

used to be with (Puerto Rican boy band) Menudo. In Los Angeles, it was

Mexican performer Luisa Fernanda."

Edelman augmented the road tour with mass mailings for smaller


The campaign ended up generating over 80 million impressions, including

hits in high-profile outlets such as El Diario, People en Espanol,

Telemundo, Univision, and the front page of the Miami Herald business



Newspapers: L'Opinion (LA); El Diario (NY); El Neuvo Herald (Miami); El

Dia (Houston); Exito! (Chicago); community daily and weekly papers

Magazines: People Espanol; Latina; Latin Style; Hispanic magazine;

Hispanic Business; Glamour en Espanol; Vogue en Espanol; Harper's Bazaar

en Espanol; Cosmopolitan en Espanol; Estylo; Hispanic Network magazine;


TV & Radio: Univision; Telemundo; Telefutura; Radio Unica; local radio

outlets across the US

Internet: CNN (Spanish); AOL Espanol;;;

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