News Leadership 3.0

December 03, 2009

Más fuertes juntos

In a guest post, Craig Matsuda describes a new alliance between two Spanish-language media companies - and how it started at a Knight Digital Media Center training session


Craig Matsuda, a longtime editor at The Los Angeles Times and now a consultant, coordinated Knight Digital Media Center’s June conference, “Transforming Ethnic News Organizations for the Digital Now,” in partnership with New America Media, the McCormick Foundation and the Knight Foundation. I have asked Craig to follow up with program participants in a series of guest posts. Today’s post: Stronger together

By Craig Matsuda

Ethnic media organizations, like many start ups, may struggle with the twin challenges of getting the business to that next level of success and overcoming a sense of professional isolation.
But a fortuitous meeting at a recent Knight Digital Media Center program has resulted in a new deal that will give Atlanta Latino, an up-and-coming,  Spanish-language multimedia company, a big boost in a partnership with Impremedia, a top U.S. national Spanish-language news and information company.

The two organizations will share share content and business resources in what executives of both call a “model” and a “win-win” arrangement that will benefit not only the two businesses but also their audiences.

For the thousands of relatively affluent, educated and youthful Spanish-speakers who read the Atlanta Latino in print, online and on mobile devices or who follow its television programming on YouTube and Telemundo, the new deal gives them deep, rich news coverage of Hispanic communities nationwide in places like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

For the millions of Spanish-speakers who get their news and information online, in print and through mobile devices from ImpreMedia and its 27 properties, such as La Opinion in Los Angeles or El Diario La Prensa in New York, the new deal gives them unprecedented coverage of one of the fastest growing Latino areas in the nation - Atlanta, Georgia and the Southeast.

“This is a win-win deal because it gives ImpreMedia a new footprint in an important market they weren’t in before, and for us, well, it gives our audience the national perspective on issues key to them - everything from immigration to sports—in a way we couldn’t offer before,” says Atlanta Latino publisher Farid Sadri. “Plus, for us, we’ll now have access to new resources, such as national advertisers, that we couldn’t tap.”

Arturo Duran, CEO of ImpreMedia Digital, hailed the partnership with Atlanta Latino, saying it provides a model for his company’s evolving strategy to work with others to increase the flow of news and information while keeping costs low and the returns for all parties high.

“We see ourselves helping to build and bring together communities,” Duran said. “We’re getting excellent coverage of one of the fastest growing Latino markets in the country and we’re not having to build it ourselves. Meantime, we think we can help Atlanta Latino with our national footprint, our advertising, business and technology resources. It’s a sharing relationship that benefits everybody and it’s something we’re expanding elsewhere. “

Both parties emphasize that they’ve entered into an alliance, not an acquisition.

In concrete terms, the recently redesigned Atlanta Latino web site home page, for example, carries a sizable, interactive box with tabs that can be clicked to link to headlines, stories and other content from ImpreMedia’s New York, Chicago and Los Angeles coverage; in print, Atlanta Latino can carry any stories in Spanish from ImpreMedia publications.

ImpreMedia, meantime, links to Atlanta Latino and its content, just as it does with its own properties and those of its McClatchy partners. Duran said his company will be selling to advertisers its expanded reach, especially into burgeoning markets like Atlanta; he says ImpreMedia is scouting for similar alliances with other Spanish-language outlets in fast-growing markets with the savvy demonstrated by Sadri and his editor-wife, Judith Martinez.

Duran was a speaker at the KDMC session last June and Sadri and Martinez were invited participants. Building on what they learned in KDMC sessions, the couple say they have in some hectic months: redesigned their web site to make it easier to view and navigate, as well as to increase opportunities for advertisers; added new technologies to reach their audiences via cell phones and other mobile devices; launched a presence on social media with both Facebook and Twitter; and improved their site video, both with YouTube and with partner Telemundo, so that Martinez’s Spanish language television show can be more easily and widely seen online.

They’re also keeping firmly in mind the strategic plan they developed for Atlanta Latino in the KDMC sessions - and they’re carefully measuring, analyzing and reassessing their efforts.
“These still are tough times, economically,” Sadri said. “But, even with the natural ups and downs, we know that our analytics tell us that our web traffic was up 3.9% last month over the previous month. So we think our hard work is just beginning to pay off. We’re trying a lot of new things. But we’re excited because we can see that they’re starting to really work.” 

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Exploring innovation, transformation and leadership in a new ecosystem of news, by journalist and change advocate Michele McLellan.

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