Headed up by the wife/husband duo of Marie and Jose Villa, the Hawaii Hispanic News was first launched in 1994 to serve the state’s diverse Latino population. However, after 5 years, the paper was forced to stop production. As Marketing Director/Editor Marie Villa tells Portada, “The advertising just wasn’t there.”
However, in May of this year, after almost a decade on Hiatus, the presses were fired up and the paper was again in production: “The state’s Latino community experienced strong growth and so we thought the time was right to get it going again,” explains Ms. Villa.
According to Ms. Villa, at 105,000, Hispanics account for about 10% of the population, though until recently, they were largely invisible in the state’s consciousness. “One factor is that there aren’t really any Hispanic barrios here, because everyone just lives where they can afford to,” says Villa, who is also the President of the state’s Latino Business Chamber of Commerce.
With the Hawaii Hispanic News the Villas are seeking not just to serve the State’s Hispanics with news and information, but to feature Hispanics who are making a positive impact on thir communities and on the state as a whole. As Senior Editor Jose Villa states emphatically, “We’re not anti-anybody. We’re just pro-Latino!”
The English-language paper currently distributes 5,000 free monthly copies of it’s 20-page paper, and plans to boost that distribution to 7,500 shortly. It distributes through 60 locations in all, including all military bases, Hispanic restaurants, and other locations. HHN is also available by subscription.
Major advertisers include the Bank of Hawaii, the AARP and the American Cancer Society, thought the majority of advertising is local.
According to Ms. Villa, the paper’s most popular page is “A Donde Estamos?”, which profiles 6 Latinos a month, chronicling their interests and contributions to the community.
The paper also serves as a cultural pillar, hosting mixers and barbecues and sponsoring scholarship programs and the Annual Hawaii Hispanic Achievement Awards.