Jesus Hernandez Cuellar
news organizations in the United States know that media relations
professionals do a valuable job. Hispanic news producers, editors and
reporters expect you to send news releases about corporate and/or
community events, new products and services, and other important
Some small publications would like to publish news releases on community
events of interest to their readers. Large publications, TV stations and
radio stations handle this process in a different way. The code of ethics
that applies to the English-language mainstream news media also applies to
most news organizations serving the Hispanic community.
This means that assignment editors will read your news release to decide
whether it is newsworthy. If it is, editors will assign a staff writer or
a contributing writer to cover your story. Bingo! Your news release will
generate a story with the credibility editorial contents usually have.
We suggest you, as a media relations professional, to take the following
steps to get the editorial coverage your company or your clients deserve:
1. A news release is
always part of a well designed campaign, so make sure that your news
release is a) newsworthy, b) newsworthy, c) newsworthy.
2. Write your news release as a news story with basic information
in the lead, as professional journalists do. Do not forget to explain
"what" is all about, "when" it will take place or
took place, "where" it occurred or will occur, and
"who" is involved in your news story. News features published
by dailies, weeklies and magazines present a different writing style,
but you need TV producers, editors and reporters to understand your
message immediately. They do not have time to read a "fairy
3. Never send out a Spanish-language news release, original or
translated, if you are not sure your release contains a high-quality
Spanish. Grammatical errors, poor vocabulary, translations replacing an
English-language sentence with Spanish words resulting in a disastrous
syntax, will be taken as a lack of respect.
4. Avoid adjectives and self-compliments media professionals
hate. Do not say yours or that of your client is the leading company in
its industry unless it really is. Never say, for example, "our
talented and brilliant CEO..." or "the best product consumers
have ever seen." Those phrases may take your news release to the
5. Keep in mind that professional journalists are as busy as you
are. Four hundred to five hundred words should be the average length of
a standard news release.
6. Always include a contact person and his/her telephone number
in your release. Do not call editors and reporters more than twice
during the follow-up process, unless you want to get the following
responses: "we'll call the contact person if further information is
needed"; or this punch on your liver, "thanks for your pitch,
but we are not interested."
7. Small publications continuously say U.S. corporations send
them news releases but only occasionally buy ad space. Never promise a
large or small publication that advertisement will come later on, if
your news release is published. Publishers and editors understand this
as "blackmailing." It is a very old trick they know. If
publishers and editors request your help to reach the ad agency handling
your company's or your client's ad campaign, share the information with
8. As a PR professional, your goal is to get news coverage from
high-quality, credible news outlets. In the follow-up process focus your
energy and time on such outlets.
9. Never underestimate a news organization. Send out your news
release to as many news outlets as possible.
10. Do not underestimate the Latino community as the final
destination of your PR message. Latino immigrants used to consume a
high-quality journalism in their native countries. In the United States,
they demand the same high-quality. Serious news organizations know that.
Hernandez Cuellar, founder of Contacto
has worked at the U.S. Hispanic news media for the last 21 years, and
was an Instructor at the UCLA's Department of Journalism
and Public Relations.
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