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Understanding U.S. Hispanic News Media
What you should know before sending out news releases.
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 by Jesus Hernandez Cuellar
Contacto PR News

Jesus Hernandez CuellarHispanic 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 announcements.

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 tale."

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 trash can.

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 them.

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.

Jesus Hernandez Cuellar, founder of Contacto PR News
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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