Not Dutch? New Spanish language magazine launches in Holland

Jan 24, 2013

Most people know Holland, Michigan for its Dutch roots and maybe it’s big tulip festival.

But in the 2010 U.S. Census, more than 1 in 5 people who live in Holland identified as Latino. So maybe it’s no surprise why The Holland Sentinel newspaper decided to put out a new Spanish language monthly magazine.

Joe Silva is with the newspaper and he’s helping manage content for “Nuestra Comunidad,” translated to “Our Community,” which the Sentinel launched this week.

“Most are bi-lingual, let’s not fool ourselves,” Silva said of the Latino community living around Holland. But he says there are many in the “middle” and “older” generations “that feel good about reading something in Spanish.”

Silva says Holland business owners wanted to reach that audience. They wanted to hire Hispanic workers. That sparked the idea to publish the new magazine.

There are Spanish newspapers based out of Grand Rapids. But Silva says Nuestra Comunidad will have a “hyper-local” focus on news, entertainment and community events. The debut issue features a column authored by Victor Orozco, a former Holland City Councilman.

“Not only has the population, the minority population, grown but we’re becoming more involved in politics, community, volunteering and stuff like that,” Silva said. Silva has lived in Holland his whole life, but he says his parents migrated to Holland in the 1940s from south Texas to work and stayed.

“I mean it’s a lot different now than it was 20 years ago or even 10 years ago,” Silva said, “We’re getting braver, more involved.”

Silva says the newspaper doesn’t assume the people the monthly is targeting necessarily get The Holland Sentinel delivered to their doors. So for now they’re reaching out to non-subscribers. The new magazine was sent out Sunday in a weekly mailing and piled specific drop spots; health clinics, stores, schools, and churches.

“We gotten a great response from city hall, local agencies; not so much readers yet but we’re looking forward to feedback once more people pick it up,” Nicole Burns, another content manager for Nuestra Comunidad said.

The paper has not hired any new staff for the magazine. Like many newspapers, circulation is down, but online hits are up, Silva said. But “we’re holding our own” with a weekend circulation of about 18,000, Silva said. He could not recall any recent layoffs. The paper still delivers 7 days a week.

Find the first full issue of the magazine online here.