Miami media has a lexicon of its own

With the growing prominence of its Hispanic community and its rising status as a cultural hotbed, Miami is now a major pitch target for local and national stories.

With the growing prominence of its Hispanic community and its rising status as a cultural hotbed, Miami is now a major pitch target for local and national stories.

There's no doubt that the rise of South Beach as a destination for fashion, society, arts, and entertainment has dramatically raised Miami's international profile over the past 15 years. But when it comes to local media, what really distinguishes the South Florida region is the size and economic clout of its Hispanic community. "There are definitely more Spanish-language outlets, particularly as it relates to TV," says Rissig Licha, EVP at Fleishman-Hillard, MD of FH Hispania, and regional director of FH Miami/ Latin America. "In Miami, 60% of the population is Hispanic, with 50% of those being Cuban and 50% coming from other parts of Latin America, such as Nicaragua," he says. "They have different types of issues that interest them and you're seeing stations coming up that are catering to a very particular viewership niche." Residents favor local outlets Although Miami is home to two national Spanish-language networks, Telemundo and Univision, residents still look locally for TV content, says Santiago Caicedo, president of Latin Media Sources. "The national Hispanic networks tend to be aimed more at the Mexican-American market because most Hispanics in the US are of Mexican origin," he says. "But though it's the same language, and it may even be about the same celebrities, Hispanics in Miami may prefer to get news from Cuban-Americans or other nationalities." The same goes for radio in the area - especially Spanish-language radio, which relies on content more local than the nationally syndicated programs of English-language stations. "In the Hispanic market, radio is the most powerful of all the media, more so than any paper or TV [outlet]," says Gaby Garcia, SVP with Coral Gables, FL-based Kreps DeMaria. "And because it's listened to all day long, they have to keep the content fresh. [As such,] they're always looking for stories to cover and people to interview." Among South Florida papers, the Miami Herald remains dominant, though it does face competition in northern suburbs from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. But even the newspaper market is seeing the impact of the surge in first-, second-, and third- generation Hispanics, most notably through the growth of the Herald's Spanish-language sister paper, El Nuevo Herald. "Although circulation figures for the Miami Herald have been declining for the past 20 years, El Nuevo has been a huge success story," says Jim Mullin, editor of the alternative weekly Miami New Times, who describes El Nuevo Herald as a "weird hybrid" of Latin-American and American-style journalism, but stresses that no one would question its impact in the local community. The two Herald papers do share some resources, but Licha says they have different priorities, adding, "You'll pitch different editors, and sometimes you'll pitch different angles." South Beach's emergence as a cultural force has also triggered a surge in lifestyle outlets aimed at the Miami market. "You have TV shows like Deco Drive that combine [nationally syndicated] celebrity news ... with local stories on, say, Shaquille O'Neal," says Tadd Schwartz, partner with RBB Public Relations. He adds that longstanding lifestyle magazines such as Ocean Drive and the Spanish-language Selecta have been joined in recent years by newer titles such as Lincoln Road, all of which tend to be open to PR pitches. "There's a new lifestyle magazine cropping up every month," Garcia says. "But you have to give them at least three months before you start pitching them because you're not sure they're going to be around." Current focus on real estate New York may glorify Wall Street titans, and LA, its film and TV stars, but Garcia says Miami's current fascination is with real estate and real-estate developers. "It permeates nearly everything you read or see on TV," she says. "The developers are celebrities in their own right and they get covered from a personal standpoint, from their art collection to their hobbies to where they like to eat. You go to Ocean Drive and the majority of advertising is real estate, as are many of their features and stories." As for the business press, Caicedo says Miami's role as the gateway to Latin America means that even local financial issues can have an international feel. "There are publications, such as America Economia and Poder, based here that have a pan-regional focus and include stories on Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, as well as other parts of Latin America," he says. ---------- Pitching... Miami-area outlets
  • Any Miami media strategy needs to the have a dual English-Spanish language focus that takes into account the huge cultural and economic clout of the area's Hispanic residents
  • Radio is an ideal target, especially Spanish-language stations. They tend to have an avid audience and are continually on the lookout for fresh story ideas and people to interview
  • Both the 'South Florida Sun-Sentinel' and 'Miami Herald' have partnerships with local TV news outlets, so the right story pitch can generate both television and print coverage

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