It has been in the works for months, but NBC News only announced its plans to launch NBCLatino.com a few days ago. The online site, targeting acculturated Hispanic females 25-54, is scheduled to launch in early 2012.
Chris Peña left his job as Assistant News Director at Chicago’s WMAQ-5 and moved to NYC in May of this year to lead the new project. He is currently the Executive Editor of NBCLatino.com. He’s responsible for all aspects of the project – from developing the business plan, to staff selection, to content.
“Our focus is telling the Hispanic American story and cover stories that affect Hispanics within the U.S. We won’t be focusing on issues like immigration,” says Chris. “We know it’s an important issue – it ranks 5 or 6 in surveys, but we want to highlight Latino human interest stories – of Hispanics doing great things in the community.”
The main categories, he says, are politics, news (within the U.S. and international only when it makes sense), education, parenting and family, and food.
“We chose these categories because they’re passion points among Hispanics,” says Chris.
Politics will be a key category. “It’s an area which NBC news has a long and proud tradition of being a leader in. We know the importance of Hispanics in the outcome of the 2012 elections – not just for how it affects Hispanics, but following and covering those who are instrumental in driving policy in D.C., like Congressman Xavier Becerra, who seems to be becoming more influential by the day.”
The full-fledged site is not up yet, but Chris’ team has been doing a test run on a tumblr site.
“We launched on tumblr so we can define our editorial voice and tweak and make changes as we see fit,” explains Chris.
The editorial team currently consists of six people. Former Latina magazine editorial director Betty Cortina is Consulting Senior Web Producer. María Eugenia Alcón, most recently a producer for “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” is Deputy Editor. Former Telemundo NY News Director Sandra Lilley is a Web Producer, who has been assigned to the political beat. Nina Terrero is a Web Producer. Adrian Carrasquillo, Web Producer/Social Media joins the team from Fox News Latino. Kristina Puga, who has been covering the Latino community for about a decade for publications such as the NY Daily News and AOL Latino rounds up the team as Web Producer. You can see their pictures and read more about them here.
In addition, Chris says he’ll be announcing some high-profile contributors in January and doesn’t discard the possibility of doing more hires as the project grows. “There’s support from the very top of NBC news for this project to succeed.”
But NBCLatino.com isn’t the first to go after the growing English-speaking Hispanic audience. Fox News Latino launched in 2010 and Huffington Post launched Latino Voices in August of this year.
So how will the new site be different?
“I would argue, if you look at their sites, that their content tells the story,” says Chris.
“We’re going to differ from the others. We really want to speak to the aspirational aspect of the Hispanic-American experience.”