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Major market news papers increas ingly are report ing the news in Spanish.

U.S. Hispanic population growth gives newspaper publishers an opportunity to expand their circulations and serve advertisers interested in this market.

"Our future readers are there," says Arnold Velez, publisher of an upcoming English/Spanish supplement to be inserted next month in about 100,000 copies of the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram. "We have to find a way to target them now."

Aside from La Estrella, other recent startups include: the Chicago Sun-Times/La Raza's Domingo, Chicago Tribune's Exito, Los Angeles Times' revamped Nuestro Tiempo, Rocky Mountain News' Las Noticias, and the Santa Barbara (Calif.) News-Press' El Nuevo Tiempo.

They join The Miami Herald's El Nuevo Herald, Los Angeles Times' 50%-owned La Opinion, and El Diario/La Prensa, New York. Some 37 major market newspapers also distribute Vista, a 1.1-million circulation Parade-like supplement in English and Spanish.

These supplements are knocking heads with some of the estimated 500 Hispanic-owned publications in the U.S.

"Sure, there is some apprehension" over the major papers' entries into the market, says Tino Duran, president of National Association of Hispanic Publications and publisher of Spanish-language non-dailies in Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas.

But most Hispanic-owned publications and ad agencies say the major dailies will expand the print market.

"I do not see the Chicago Tribune's Exito driving out Spanish-language weeklies that have been here for years. They have a good strong market," says Jesse Wilson, exec VP at San Jose & Associates, Chicago. "I see them growing the market and bringing in advertisers they already work with."

According to Bruce Kramer, director of marketing services and development for Tribune Co., up to 70% of the ads in Exito, with 65,000 circulation, represent ad dollars previously not spent in the Hispanic market. "That indicates we are growing the market," he says.

Advertisers include AT&T Co., Montgomery Ward & Co., Sears, Roebuck & Co., Walgreen Co., and Trak Auto Corp.

Some Hispanic-owned publications have teamed with major dailies to get increased distribution and ad sales assistance. Domingo, a weekly magazine launched in September by the Chicago weekly La Raza, is distributed in the Both papers sell advertising for it.

"We're talking to new advertisers that we've never talked to before" because of the affiliation, says Robert Armband, associate publisher of La Raza.

But even with the backing of major market newspapers, selling the medium as an ad vehicle to reach Hispanics still will be tough, Hispanic agency media buyers say.

Common doubts include whether to buy an ad in an Hispanic supplement if one's already been purchased in the main paper; whether papers are being delivered or read, since most Hispanic publications are free; and what portion of a local Hispanic market is a paper really reaching. Also, since most papers don't put all stories in English and Spanish, they may limit their market through language.

"I have my doubts that people are .|.|. reading [Hispanic] newspapers," says Abbott Wool, VP-media director at Siboney Advertising, New York, noting that print lacks the syndicated measuring services that radio and TV have.

Also, Hispanic newspaper ad buys are hard to make. One city may have several Hispanic newspapers. And the different frequencies, page sizes and languages of each publication make multiple-market buys difficult.

"The logistics of a print buy are overwhelming sometimes," says Norma Gonzales, media planner/buyer for Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates, San Antonio.

J.C. Penney Co. nationally buys Spanish-language TV and radio, but Hispanic newspaper buys "are not happening in most of the Hispanic markets," says Patricia Asip, manager of minority public relations. "Basically, the budgets get very tight and first consideration is given to TV and radio. Until we see a response from certain ads in the paper, we won't set aside a budget for it."

Some papers, such as The Dallas Morning News, don't see the need to create Hispanic sections.

"Our nominal research suggests that in our market, Hispanics prefer news about themselves and their culture in English. To date we've had a steady menu of that news," says Jeremy Halbreich, the paper's president.M


La Estrella plays up its bilingual approach by Hispanic journalists from Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram

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