by Chris Metinko, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/San Francicso
With the nation’s Hispanic population now topping 50 million people — or 16.3 percent of the nation — according to the latest U.S. Census, the importance of catering to Spanish-speaking media cannot be underplayed.
Earlier this month, Business Wire’s Denver office held a media breakfast to discuss just that, as well as the major issues and trends with greater Denver Hispanic media members. The most obvious obstacle in reaching Hispanic and Spanish-speaking communities — the panel agreed — was in regards to language and trying to adjust to a population that is becoming more bilingual.
“The way things are going, you are seeing the Hispanic population really growing in the states and we are seeing people at different language levels,” said María Rozman, news director at KDEN Telemundo Denver. “We are seeing more people who are born here who speak both languages.”
Luisa Collins, news director at Univision Colorado, said the goal is to try and figure out if that community still chooses one language over the other, despite understanding both.
“Maria was talking about the Spanish language being spoken at home even if it’s a bilingual home, and one of the things that we see in the commercials — Spanish media research has shown — is that many of the Hispanic commercials are more effective than American commercials or those spoken in English,” Collins said. “So you have to know your viewer.”
As for what is interesting to the Hispanic community, Roberto Martínez-Maestre, general director of the newspaper El Hispano, said to not think to narrowly when pitching.
“One of the most important things is to stop having this idea that as Hispanics or Spanish speakers we are only interested in certain things or our needs are very exclusive or unique,” Martínez-Maestre said. “I, for example, in the newspaper or on my radio show don’t even sell it as a Hispanic media outlet. When I tell people what my newspaper is or my radio show is, I tell them it’s a newspaper and a radio show that happens to be published in Spanish. . . . What the content is, it’s very general . . . The only difference is that I do it in Spanish. Do I focus on Hispanic needs? Not really, and that’s what I think we need to start doing more and more.”
Martínez-Maestre, added another thing to remember when pitching Spanish-speaking media.
“We all speak English, but if you are reaching a Spanish outlet, translate the release. If I get something in English I’ll read it, but then I think I have to translate it myself. It’s not being lazy, it’s being efficient. The Business Wire LatinoWire is all in Spanish and that’s very helpful,” he said.
“And provide someone who speaks Spanish for an interview,” Collins added.
JoAnne Hirsch, Business Wire/Denver also contributed to this post.