Making the Leap: Hispanic Print’s Online Migration

While Hispanic newspapers have traditionally maintained underdeveloped websites, as placeholders on the net or as value-added advertising for their print sponsors, there is an increasing trend of further online development. Vida en el Valle’s Valerie Bender notes, “The Web site is beginning to take off. We've been running online contests for Juanes, Vicente Fernandez, Ricky Martin, George Lopez and others. We also run online contest for tickets to movie premieres and sports events to increase traffic on the site.” Bender says that, increasingly, the paper is using the print edition to move readers to the Web for additional stories, photos and information. “While we can't fit everything in print, we can give our readers additional material online. We use Web references to this material throughout the paper. Because we are bilingual, we also use the Web to highlight Spanish-only stories and fully-translated stories,” says Bender.

Prensa de San Diego Editor Daniel Munoz comments that the paper uses the website to offer readers and advertisers another vehicle, as opposed to breaking news: “La Prensa has maintained a Web site since 1986 providing content on line. Our web site, as then, is updated every week, reflecting the news in the weekly publication. During disasters such as the recent fire storms in San Diego we provide daily information to assist our readers,” says Munoz, adding, “Our primary source of income from the Web is from news services like Lexis-Nexis that buy our articles. Other than that, we garner very little online income.”
 
Out of the comfort zone…
Hoy LA’s Publisher Roaldo Moran puts it this way: “Our online edition is a work in progress, but already attracts an audience far beyond our print markets of Los Angeles and Chicago. Electronic media has forced newspapers to react. I think it has made it challenging, and has helped us get out of the comfort zone, which is good.”

Angelo Figueroa, editorial director for Tu Ciudad Los Angeles, notes the online medium’s exclusive capabilities and speaks of the magazine’s efforts to drive readers online. “We see the website as an extension of the print publication,” says Moran. “But you can do certain things on the web that you cannot in print.” He cites the piece they did with Cuban-American actor Odette Yusman, who appeared in the movie Cloverfield. “The movie release didn’t coincide with our print edition at all, so we ran a Q&A with her on the website, included a trailer for the movie, and even posted a playlist of her favorite music.”
 
Tu Ciudad is also making a conscious effort to reference its Web site in the print edition to drive more traffic to the fledgling site, launched just over a year ago. Moran says that these print references seem to be working as 60% of its 8,000 monthly unique visitors are first-timers.
 
Figueroa points out that having a Website is imperative these days for publishers to enhance their advertiser offering. “Most advertisers today want some sort of online component for their buy. Other advertisers, particularly local advertisers, just want to go for Online because it is cheaper and they have limited budgets. Across the board, though, the chances of getting the sale are much higher if you offer an online component.”

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