Newsletter-turned newspaper returning to the fold
Hawaii Hispanic News
will spring back to life May 1, just before Cinco de Mayo, when just about everyone is Hispanic at heart.
Initially a one-page newsletter, the paper was published by Jose Villa from 1994 to 1999; its distribution peaked at 15,000.
"It was ahead of its time," Villa said.
"What has changed is, the 2000 Census was the document that put the U.S. Hispanic population on the map."
U.S. Hispanics went from 23 million in 1990 to 43 million in 2000, not counting the 9 to 12 million undocumented Hispanics, he said.
"Suddenly, corporate America saw those numbers and Fortune 500 companies began asking, 'What are we doing with the Hispanic community? Anyone here speak Spanish?' " Villa said.
People do. Spanish-language Univision was the No. 2 broadcast network among 18-to-34 year olds last week, according to the TV Business Confidential newsletter yesterday.
Villa estimates Hawaii's Hispanic population at more than 100,000.
His publication will be written primarily in English, so as not to exclude younger generations who may not be fluent in Spanish.
Several members of Latin Business Hawaii, a nonprofit association of which Villa is a board member, have said the community "really needs" a newspaper.
While there are local Hispanic radio shows, "the advantage of a newspaper is, it's that physical item that's there, you can hold onto it, cut out pieces of it and stick 'em on the fridge," he said.
"We can do a lot of in-depth reporting just focused on this one community," which he sees as a complement to mainstream media.
"This is about us, for us, by us ... and if it involves our community, it is our business," he said.
As before, the paper will profile role models such as "our doctors, lawyers and professional women -- people we want to spotlight," Villa said.
It will also seek to "educate our community, to help advocate for our community ... and to provide our folks with the stuff they need."
He heard his own experience validated in a recent Webinar on marketing to Hispanics.
Ethnic audiences use media differently than the greater population, he said.
Among Hispanics, 86 percent use ethnic media to get information or to make a purchase decision -- the highest percentage of any ethnic group, he said.
Hawaii Hispanic News will be a free, monthly publication distributed where Hispanics are likely to congregate, such as Hispanic eateries, churches with Spanish-language services, military bases with large Hispanic populations, dance venues and at public schools with Spanish clubs.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org