‘CENTRO’ Newspaper Launches in Tampa Bay Area in October

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By: Nancy Ayala, Marketing y Medios

CENTRO Mi Diario, a new weekly Spanish-language newspaper serving the Tampa Bay area, will launch at the end of October, confirmed Orlando R. Nieves, general manager for Hispanic Initiatives for the Florida Communications Group. The group oversees operations for The Tampa Tribune as well as WFLA News Channel 8, TBO.com and other newspapers serving West Central Florida. All are owned by Media General Inc.

The newly formed media brand CENTRO Grupo De Comunicaci?n will take a three-pronged approach with the launch of the free tabloid newspaper; the Web site centrotampa.com, which will be active Sept. 15; and Centro C?psulas, a media partnership with radio and TV providers in the area, pegged to late this year.

Though the newspaper name CENTRO Mi Diario may seem like an oxymoron — the paper, after all, is a weekly not a “daily” — Nieves says, “We chose the word because it’s a commonly used in Latin America to convey newspaper. It’s a generic term for a newspaper, like Kleenex.” He says that even before launch the singular CENTRO is frequently used to describe the paper.

The free publication will reach 65,000 Hispanic households, or approximately 215,000 readers on a weekly basis, Nieves says. Forty thousand newspapers will be hand-delivered, and the balance will be found for free in racks and in area stores.

Nieves points to the built-in leverage the paper has with advertisers because of the shared resources with sister companies, particularly The Tampa Tribune. “They already know our salespeople, and they know the importance of the Hispanic market,” Nieves says.

CENTRO will launch with 32 pages, 50% dedicated to advertising and the rest to editorial content. Nieves adds that the all-color tabloid will also contain five or six advertising inserts. “We’re tapping into national accounts that are already partners [with The Tampa Tribune] and local clients that have shown interest in reaching the Hispanic consumers,” he says.

A launch party, complete with cocktails and a presentation, is planned on Thursday to talk to the media, sponsors, advertisers and government officials.

Manuel Ballagas, a former editor at The Wall Street Journal Americas, has been named editor of CENTRO. He will oversee a not-yet hired staff including a copy editor/translator, two reporters and a graphic designer. New hires also include Otelo Vizca?no, the creative team leader for centrotampa.com, and online producer Vanessa V?zquez.

There are several other Spanish-language newspapers published in Tampa, including Las Am?ricas Herald (10,000 circ), Latino International (17,295), Nuevo Siglo (22,000) and La Gaceta (20,000).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 300,754 Hispanics live in the Tampa Bay market. The area’s total population is nearly 2.5 million.

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