SOUNDING OFF: Public and Legal Notices Must Stay in Hispanic Newspapers
In the below "Sounding Off" article Martha Montoya, Publisher of El Mundo Newspaper (weekly, Washington State) & Creator of Los Kitos, argues that government agencies should continue to place public and legal notice ads in Hispanic newspapers. Her rationale includes that Hispanic newspapers have in many cases growing circulations, opposed to the falling circulation of many general market newspapers, and the fact that broadband penetration is still relatively low for many Hispanics.
It seems that public and legal notice ads that government agencies place in local newspapers are the latest attempt to not only silence the press, but to drive a proverbial stake through its financial heart.
But, as a growing number of newspaper readers tire of the so-called mainstream press where circulation continues to plummet, the Hispanic media has solidified its trustworthiness stand in the community and its circulation numbers have gone against the grain and increased.
For starters, let’s go over three main reasons why public notices are important and why government agencies should not overlook the Hispanic press when placing these notices.
- Newspapers who carry a household name like the Los Angeles Times or the Washington Post are losing circulation, but a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center revealed that circulation grew by 4 percent for Spanish-language newspapers. These papers are reaching their readers at record levels and placing public and legal notices in these publications ensures that a significant portion of the community will be reached. It is these newspapers, in general, who have been able to reach countless Hispanic residents with legal and public notices even as many municipalities overlook minority-owned publications when placing notices, Media Life noted. “This trend reflects the great appetite for reliable, local news among Hispanics in markets across the country, both big and small,” the study authors said.
- In addition to Pew Research, the National Association of Hispanic Publications have reported that the circulation of audited Hispanic newspapers and magazines more than tripled from 2005 through 2013, and Hispanic publications have garnered more than US$1 billion each year in advertising over the past decade, according to a 2015 report issued by Net News Check.
- Another Pew Research study concluded that the Hispanic population consumes local and neighborhood news at a higher rate than the overall population. So, by publishing public and legal notices in Hispanic-owned newspapers, agencies are reaching more people whose appetite for reliable and local news and information is being fulfilled only by these publications, according to Pew researchers.
Here are three proven indicators as to why public and legal notices and other advertisements do well in Hispanic newspapers.
- A growing circulation. Media Life Magazine noted that a number of Hispanic newspapers, including Impacto USA in Los Angeles, La Voz in Houston and the Orlando El Sentinel, have circulation of at least 120,000 per week.
- It is these newspapers, in general, who have been able to reach countless Hispanic residents with legal and public notices even as many municipalities overlook minority-owned publications when placing notices, Media Life noted.
- Only about 50 percent of American Latinos have home broadband access. That number drops below 40 percent for Spanish-dominant Latinos, said Jessica J. González, the executive vice president and general counsel for the National Hispanic Media Coalition, a Pasadena, California-based media advocacy and civil rights organization. The National Hispanic Media Coalition has been working to bridge the digital divide because we understand that our community is missing out on important opportunities, such as the EPA notices and others having to do with healthcare, education, employment, and the list goes on,” González said. If the notice is on a website, the person seeking the information must go find it, if he or she has a computer. Older and less wealthy citizens may not have the equipment to access those sites – for them, the online notices are a failure, and they may relate to matters of great public importance, he said, adding that there might be a significant zoning change to be discussed at a public hearing, or a discussion of how public tax dollars will be spent.
The circulation of audited Hispanic newspapers and magazines more than tripled from 2005 through 2013
Yes, it’s a financial issue as government agencies historically overlook minority-owned newspapers. But, most importantly, it’s an issue of informing all citizens. “It is a national imperative that the United States connect 100 percent of American families to broadband before it moves to issuing important public notices in online only formats. Until then, government agencies must, in addition to internet notices, use newspaper, radio and other widely-available resources to disseminate important public service announcements,” González said.
Martha Montoya is at the forefront of the dialogue regarding diversity contracting with Corporate America, particularly in the media and agricultural industries among others, Ms. Montoya is the owner of Los Kitos Entertainment and El Mundo Communications.She leads several national initiatives to advance the position of Minority owned businesses. Through her work, Martha has forged relationships with Corporate, State and Federal leaders in United States and countries overseas to understand and bring to the table candid conversations to find solutions for the small and minority business advancement.