How and Why Public Relations Firms Must Amplify the Voices of the Growing Hispanic/Latino Population


In the final week of National Hispanic Heritage Month, I was on a tour of Univision Chicago – the city’s number one Spanish language television station with a ratings-topping weekday newscast at 5 and 10 p.m. – organized by the Publicity Club of Chicago.

We had the privilege to meet with several passionate, connected, and influential producers, editors and on-air reporters from Univision’s television news and radio stations. They were all welcoming as they kindly shared insights on the types of media pitches that resonate and the types that don’t, and related to that, the top three stories that most resonate today with their audiences:

Gentrification: In many areas across the country, Hispanic/Latino residents feel forced out of the neighborhoods they’ve helped build and sustain for many years due to rapidly rising housing costs that put the cost of living out of reach for many. Audiences want to hear these local neighborhood stories, and are looking to have a voice, too.

Immigration Crisis: With migrants arriving in record numbers, the situation is dire. Some cities, including Chicago, are near a breaking point in the ability to meet the need.

Crime: Above all, stories about crime are most in demand. Univision audiences are primarily aged 25 to 54, a demographic that includes many families raising small children. Families want to know when and where the crimes occur, but also importantly, they are looking for solutions.

Knowing the stories and issues concerning this audience is crucial for all of us who work in media. A few facts and statistics to keep their growing importance in perspective:

The population continues to grow faster than most. The U.S. Hispanic population reached 63 million in 2022, up from 50.5 million in 2010. That means one-in-five people in the U.S. are of Hispanic/Latino origin. In Chicago, according to Census Data and as reported by WBEZ, Latinos are the city’s second-largest racial or ethnic group, growing by 5 percent, to nearly 820,000 in 2020 up from a reported 779,000 in 2010.

Their purchase power is increasing. Across the country the purchasing power of Latinos is growing and especially in our largest urban cities. According to the 2022 Chicago Metro Latino GDP Report, a first of its kind study, Hispanic/Latinos contributed $97.5 billion to the Chicago Metro Area’s GDP in 2018. And that kind of impact is expected to keep growing.

When I think about what this means for Reputation Partners’ clients, I am motivated to work to help my clients connect with this audience directly in the most relevant and authentic ways. It’s so much more than saying “we care about DEI” or making Spanish translations available on the website (although of course that’s important, too). The questions I ask frequently include:

  • Are your Latino business leaders being supported and encouraged to share their success story with all communities, but especially to largely Latinos audiences with a goal to inspire the next generation to greatness?
  • Are you aware of the business groups in your organization where you lack Hispanic/Latino representation, and do you have a plan to address those gaps?
  • Are your Hispanic/Latino affinity groups empowered to bring the richness of their culture to life in your organization for the benefit of everyone?
  • Are you aware of the serious issues impacting the Hispanic/Latino communities in the areas where your employees live and work, and are you engaged on those issues and supportive of your employees who are trying to make a difference?
  • Are you effectively reaching and motivating Latino audiences to wield their purchasing power with your company?
  • Are you connecting with the Latino/Hispanic media influencers in the cities where you live and operate and sharing with them the stories that will make their audiences even more impactful and engaged citizens?

Don’t make the mistake of assuming Latino audiences are a monolith. Like any demographic, there is diversity of views within the Latino community on all the issues affecting our cities and our country, including crime and immigration. Advancing the success of the Hispanic/Latino community in media and communications strategies is important, not just during National Hispanic Heritage month, but year-round.