Spanish outlets grow amidst downturn

The contrast couldn't be more startling. Amid a flood of stories about the struggles of newspapers - including a recent feature in The New Yorker containing a prediction that 2043 will be the year print newspapers finally die in the US - comes a study finding that Spanish-language dailies and weeklies are actually gaining in circulation and ad revenues.

The contrast couldn't be more startling. Amid a flood of stories about the struggles of newspapers - including a recent feature in The New Yorker containing a prediction that 2043 will be the year print newspapers finally die in the US - comes a study finding that Spanish-language dailies and weeklies are actually gaining in circulation and ad revenues.

Yet Hispanic Market Weekly editor Adam Jacobson, the study's author, stresses that growth does not mean the outlets are immune from the technologies that are changing media.

"ImpreMedia (owner of New York's El Diario/La Prensa, LA's La Opinion and Chicago's La Raza) has said [it realizes that it is] going to face the same issues as a non-Latino newspaper in terms of declining circulation and ad dollars, which is why [it's] making a push to put all [its] newspapers together under one Web environment," he says. "But more so in the US, there are a lot of Hispanics in areas where the local print newspaper is still the main outlet for news about their home country, as well as their community."

The readership of many Spanish-language newspapers is not only increasing, it is diversifying. The Hispanic newspaper audience in South Florida, for example, may include Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Columbians, and other various nationalities originating from South America and the Caribbean.

Rodrigo Cervantes, editor-in-chief of Atlanta's Mundo Hispanico, says it's also important to understand the unique traits of various Latin American cultures. It's also vital, he adds, to try and develop a cultural understanding of Hispanics, including the numerous differences among the Spanish-speaking nationalities.

"Two of the things that connect us together are family values and the need of [Hispanics] to have a better understanding of the American culture," Cervantes says.

La Opinion is a Hispanic print success story, seeing its circulation grow 3.7% in September, the largest increase of any newspaper - in any language - in the US.

"It's the content that people can't get anywhere else that's driving growth," says Mike Cano, La Opinion's head of marketing and PR. Cano, who has spent 28 years in Hispanic media, including stints as a reporter, editor, and as founder of the Dallas-based Al Dia newspaper, says that in addition to news from their home countries and about the immigration debate, [Hispanic]-newspaper readers want to know about general topics in the news, such as education and medicine.

"[That is] especially [true] for issues like healthcare, because our audience is... hungry for all the content they can get," he says.

Pitching... Spanish-language papers

It's not the language, it's the culture. Make sure you don't just translate press releases into Spanish, but tailor the content for the specific Hispanic newspaper audience

Spanish-language newspapers are interested in themes that relate to Hispanics regardless of nationality, such as family, education, and health

Spanish-language dailies are starting to follow English-language counterparts online, so pitch stories that include multimedia content that can be used on these portals

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