By Mike Mika
Special to Delaware Business Times
Jose M. Somalo, publisher and owner of Hoy en Delaware [Today in Delaware], created the monthly Spanish-language newspaper in his Georgetown apartment in 1996. His goal was to give the state’s growing Hispanic community a source for news and information.
Delaware Business Times recently talked with Somalo about about the paper’s overall mission to become a bridge for understanding the Hispanic population in Delaware.
As a publisher focusing on Delaware’s Hispanic readership, what are the three critical issues you plan to cover this year?
Delaware Hispanics are not different from the rest of the population, so they are interested in the same issues: economy, education and immigration — the last one playing a larger role than in the general population.
Why do you think your print readership is increasing and do you plan to expand beyond a monthly publishing cycle?
Although several print publications are shrinking, the opposite is true for many niche or local publications. We [print publications] may not have the number of print issues we used to have, but we do have an increased number of followers and readers through different media platforms: print, web and social media.
Much of the relevant digital content is produced by print publication, whether it’s news, reports, in-depth information, or analysis.
Delaware’s Hispanic population is officially around 9 percent and growing. Since we have been covering the entire state of Delaware for 22 years, the youngest ones have grown up with HOY en Delaware at their homes. HOY en Delaware was the local Facebook when they didn’t exist.
What is the mix between Latino and Anglo readers?
Now, they follow us both in the print edition on a monthly basis and daily on our Facebook page (HOY en Delaware). Even though we don’t have numbers to prove the mix that you are asking for, we know that our Anglo readership is growing for several reasons, but mainly because of the quality of our Spanish together with the national trend of embracing a second language — mostly Spanish.
Many teachers use HOY en Delaware for their classes. We are very careful with the use of language. Respecting grammar, orthography and using standard Spanish comprehensible for readers from more than 20 different countries, which speak, write, learn and think in Spanish.
Your publication is part of the Hispanic Digital Network. What is the group’s mission statement and is it attracting new members?
HDN serves the business needs of Hispanic agencies and advertisers through Hispanic publications. On the other hand, HOY en Delaware’s mission is to inform, educate, entertain, empower and inspire Hispanic individuals and families, as well as serve as a bridge of understanding among the established and newly arrived communities.
Your mission statement says that Hoy en Delaware goes a lot farther than merely reporting on events; it bridges the gap between the Anglo and Latino communities. Can you explain some of your successes?
When you offer a good product to people, you have success. When it comes to the print edition, we are the only Hispanic media with a well-established network of customized newsstands throughout the entire state of Delaware.
Our brand has the reputation and following with our Hispanic community. And even though the state agencies and institutions use our newspaper to reach our community, we have the largest base of private advertisers among print Hispanic media in Delaware.
We are very proud of having contributed to the betterment of many Delawareans with HOY en Delaware, by providing information, role models and opportunities for economic improvement.