Latino Newspaper Entrepreneur Making Waves on North Side
By Tim Sallinger
CHICAGO, Ill. — Clemente Nicado is making bold moves, releasing another Spanish-language newspaper while many in Chicago’s ethnic news media industry are struggling.
His company, Nicado Publishing, launched “El Chicago Hispano” in December. Since 2007 he has also published “Negocios Now,” a business newspaper in the style of “Crain’s.” Both papers are thriving, in a time when other, larger newspapers report plummeting profits.
Nicado’s strategy is simple: provide a space for entrepreneurs to advertise directly to their consumers.
“The focus in my paper is small businesses, not huge companies. [“Negocios Now”] is working because it’s something that the community needs. [“Crain’s”] isn’t talking about what’s happening around the corner—they’re talking about all of Chicago.”
But there is more to his strategy and some of it comes from being an immigrant.
“Everyone who comes over the water wants to be a success in this country,” he said with a wry grin as we spoke on his home turf of East Rogers Park on the North Side. Soft-spoken, he seemed relaxed even as his two sons ran around the table shouting. “My passion was to open a newspaper focused on Hispanic business.”
Born in Cuba, Nicado worked as an international correspondent for 10 years in Cuba and Mexico, for various news agencies. In 2003 he moved to the United States to write for the Tribune Company’s “Hoy,” the second largest Spanish daily newspaper in the country.
Part of Nicado Publishing’s success is due to its focus on a full-color paper format. While almost all other newspapers are expanding into the digital world, “El Chicago Hispano” does not have so much as a website. Even “Negocios Now”’s site does not contain any video or audio.
“The access to Internet in the Hispanic community is less than others. Many do not have computers in their homes. [Hispanic people] like to react to the paper, to touch it.”
The number of Hispanic businesses in Chicago grew 25 percent between 2002 and 2007, according to the United States Census Bureau. Still, the unemployment rate among Latinos in Chicago remains at 13.3 percent.
Nicado believes that “the access to capital is the main thing for all businesses.” However, start-up businesses often do not have the capital to pay for advertisements that reach the whole city. By advertising in “Negocios Now” or “El Chicago Hispano,” entrepreneurs can “provide information to the community with a limited budget.”
While “Negocios Now” is distributed directly to businesses, “El Chicago Hispano” is designed to help businesses reach consumers.
Nicado Publishing currently operates out of Rogers Park, but the company’s plans do not end there. Nicado described Rogers Park as a “laboratory.”
“I would like to attack different niches in Chicago.”
“Negocios,” which started as a quarterly but quickly became a bi-monthly paper, has earned eight national awards in the past three years.
Nicado said the initial investment in “Negocios” was huge. He would like to eventually expand the paper to a national audience, but will only do so if he can secure the financial support.