The worst in the COVID-19 crisis seems to be behind us. While the country has suffered greatly, the first signs of an economic awakening are visible.
During the long and terrible months of the coronavirus, the print media as a whole lost staff positions, circulation, content and advertisement. Many publications had to shut down. This left its mark on the national news landscape by depriving many communities of their main sources of information.
The crisis has been especially cruel to the press in local ethnic communities, such as the ones served by Impremedia; with outlets including La Opinion in Los Angeles, El Diario in New York, La Raza in Chicago and La Opinion de la Bahía in San Francisco, all of which owe their existence to a fundamental and organic link with the communities they serve.
For decades, newspapers like ours have been important tools for the integration of immigrants into the US, helping millions of newcomers to become part of the American dream, and to contribute to our country through their work, their taxes and their sacrifices. Latinos have become a group of increasing importance, represented in all spheres of the economy and government.
During all these years, we’ve linked millions of readers to advertisers and the products and services they offer. We have done this by publishing advertisements on our pages.
This mission continues. And the economic, social and political problems to which our community has been subjected to have made it even more essential.
In all Impremedia publications we are ready to continue our work, specifically to keep being that bridge between the community and advertisers.
We must tell the truth: the crisis caused by the Coronavirus has unfortunately accentuated a negative anomaly. The financial investment made by mainstream advertisers, agencies and corporations to ethnic media in the distribution of their advertising funds has decreased significantly.
The meager fraction in those advertisement funds left for community ethnic media represents neither the importance of immigrant communities nor the leading role that publications like ours have in representing those communities. The advertising investment in the Hispanic market in the US is only 6% of the total, when we are 19% of the population. The investment in Minority-Owned / Operated Media is even less than that.
Specifically, they are reinvesting billions of dollars, but at an unacceptable rate, in the larger mainstream media, technology platforms and social media.
That way, there will be those who say that advertisers are actually abandoning our community. There will be those who claim that they are adopting a discriminatory attitude. That they are impervious to the fate of community media outlets. Even when those outlets are crucial for the very communities they say they want to reach.
Advertising invested in other minorities also turns out to be minimal and inadequate relative to the proportion of that community in the general population. Important media owned by African Americans have mounted a public and successful campaign exposing the roots of that abandonment. We sympathize with their effort and demand that the treatment of ethnic media by agencies and advertisers change.
The decline of local and community news media not only destroys the media outlets themselves but also the vision of an open, comprehensive and democratic society. A vision that corresponds to current demographic trends, where the percentage of Latinos grows throughout the country.
No one should forget: here we are and we’re not leaving; here we are and we are not leaving. By neglecting outlets like ours, advertisers open the door to accusations that they are abandoning Hispanic readers. That they do not consider those readers worthy of being part of their circle of consumers and users.
Just when many media and entities accuse advertisers and agencies of this, supporting Impremedia would be a key sign that those agencies and advertisers have a commitment to plurality and diversity.
It is time for them to reconsider the distribution of their advertising budgets without prejudice, without discrimination, and with an eye to the future.
Iván Adaime CEO of Impremedia
Javier Casas CFO of Impremedia
Rafael Cores VP of Digital Content Impremedia
Armando Varela, Executive Editor, La Opinion
Carmen Villavicencio Executive Editor, El Diario
Jesús Del Toro Executive Editor, La Raza and La Opinion de la Bahía
Gabriel Lerner Editor Emeritus, La Opinion
Read this same letter in Spanish