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Published April 2006

Herald to launch
Spanish-language newspaper

John Wolcott
SCBJ Editor

Snohomish County’s largest newspaper, The Herald, has become a bilingual publisher, announcing the launching of La Raza del Noroeste as the latest addition to an expanding family of community news publications.
Image courtesy of La Raza del Noroeste
La Raza, a free, weekly Spanish-language newspaper being launched this month by The Herald, will be distributed throughout Puget Sound to the growing Hispanic community.

“First, there was just The Herald. Today, we publish The Enterprise weekly papers for several communities in south Snohomish County, the Snohomish County Business Journal (launched in 1998) and now La Raza,” said Herald Publisher Allen Funk, “along with the Pickle Press and our electronic Internet publication, Heraldnet.”

La Raza Publisher Jorge Rivera, a senior Herald executive, based the design and content of the new 20,000-circulation publication on a similar newspaper he saw in his native Columbia. The first tab-sized issues of La Raza will be off the Herald’s presses on April 21. The free 40- to 44-page issues will be delivered on Fridays to several hundred “tiendas” (Hispanic grocery stores) and retailers in Skagit, Snohomish and Pierce counties, an area with an estimated 206,000 Hispanic residents.

“Eighty percent of these people are first-generation immigrants, most of them from Mexico, who have a huge need for information in their own language about how to understand life here and function in our society. Local issues affecting the region will be covered from a Hispanic perspective, including sports and entertainment,” Rivera said.

Rivera said La Raza will provide “a local voice for Hispanics,” covering more local, regional and international news than the smaller existing Hispanic newspapers in the region. Along with his staff of seven editors, reporters and distribution and sales managers, Rivera will be employing correspondents in Mexico and South American countries to provide contributions to the publication’s “news from home” section.

After months of market research, which included demographic analysis, meeting with focus groups and talking with potential advertisers, Rivera found broad acceptance, from people who want community news in their native language to advertisers who want to reach concentrated numbers of Hispanics with their products and services.

“In Spanish, ‘La Raza’ means ‘the race or the people,’ which translates to ‘our friends’ in Mexico or ‘our ethnic heritage’ in Latin America,” Rivera said. “The Hispanic population is the fastest growing community in the Northwest, including Puget Sound. ... Once new immigrants have been here more than a short period they become very concerned about such things as education and understanding the financial and legal systems in America ... La Raza will help them.” Rivera said the Hispanic population in Puget Sound has increased 200 percent in the past 10 years, making Washington one of the five fastest growing states for Hispanics and creating a need for a new source of community news for the Hispanic community.

“The initial advertiser reaction has been very positive,” Funk said. “Our entire production will be funded by advertising. At every sales call we’ve made the people have told us this is a market they want to reach.”

Research also showed that Hispanics have a history of “avid readership of community newspapers, and La Raza will concentrate on local community news,” Rivera said. “This provides a new opportunity for institutions, businesses and others to communicate with this group.”

Funk said The Herald is growing in circulation, in contrast to most newspapers nationally that are experiencing level or declining circulation.

“But broad readership growth from the English-speaking population across the country is basically flat,” Funk said. “Niche publications, however, are growing, such as our business journal. Assuming La Raza is successful, we will be looking at printing other niche publications,” including The Herald’s own new products or publications for others, which would be printed through the newspaper’s commercial printing services department.

For more information, contact La Raza del Noroeste at P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206, call 425-673-6503 or visit the paper’s Internet site at www.raza-nw.com.

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