Celebrating its fifth year, Hispanicize is the second largest Latino event uniting those in the journalism, marketing and entertainment fields and that provides daily education sessions, networking events and support to Latinos looking to advance their media skills.
Hispanicize chairman and founder Manny Ruiz started the event after selling his company Hispanic Wire and other properties to PR Wire for $5.5 million in 2008.
“It really started as an experiment…,” Ruiz said. “I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next because I had been an entrepreneur for so long. I wanted to unite the multicultural diversity of public relations because I hadn’t seen that before.”
Hispanics comprise 17 percent of the U.S. population, but only 20 media outlets – 13 local and seven nationally – directly serve the community, according to the National Hispanic Media Coalition, which tracks how Hispanics are covered in the media. One of the themes of this year’s Hispanicize is how content providers can more effectively communicate to bilingual audiences and deliver multi-generational content.
What began as one of small five ventures for Ruiz morphed into one large celebration of Latino culture and networking event for marketing, film and journalism industry professionals.
“Selfishly, I wanted to do it because I wanted to build a platform that would service my interest in being a film maker,” Ruiz said. “One of the biggest costs filmmakers have is marketing. So, I did see opportunity in creating a mass media and social media event. I realized after the first one there was an incredible appetite for the vision that we had.”
The journalism component is an integral part of Hispanicize as it speaks to the inclusiveness of the Latino community, said Hugo Balta, senior director of multicultural content at ESPN and Hispanicize board member.
“In telling the story of U.S. Hispanics, it is imperative that who is empowered to produce those stories are reflective and inclusive of that community,” Balta said. “As Hispanicize seeks to inform and educate the marketplace about the diversity opportunity, journalists are key in delivering that content to English and Spanish speaking audiences.”
“There isn’t any city in the U.S. where the general audience isn’t going to be exposed to Latinos,” said Balta, who will host a Hispanicize session on media outlets delivering bilingual content to multigenerational Latinos. “Hispanicize provides an important voice and fills a need, not just in the Latino community but in the American community at large, so (content providers) have a better understanding in reaching underserved communities.”
Recap of Hispanicize 2014: