In Pinellas, efforts to reach Hispanic voters are mixed
Keeping the county electorate informed requires election supervisors to buy ad space in local publications, but it’s usually a good idea to make sure your message will reach an audience first.
Between July and August, Pinellas Elections Supervisor Deborah Clark spent about $1,700 on three different ad buys in La Gaceta, a trilingual newspaper based in Hillsborough County.
Here in Pinellas, the paper has 450 subscribers, meaning Clark spent almost $4 to reach each one of them.
"It's to reach our Hispanic population and those folks who may be eligible to vote to provide voter information to them," Clark explained.
Told of the newspaper's modest local reach, she said it was important to try as many methods as possible to contact potential voters.
"I don't think it's [La Gaceta] very popular within the Hispanic community" in Pinellas, said Andrea Vendetti, the coordinator of the Hispanic Outreach Center in Clearwater. "The radio is where they mostly get their information from."
There are two Spanish-language stations in particular: Genesis, a Christian AM radio station, and Maxima on 92.5 FM. Both of them will run local advertisements, she said.
Clark's other efforts to reach the county's more than 70,000 Hispanic residents are more likely to hit their target. In August, she spent $1,060 ads in La Guia, a popular Spanish-language magazine with 6,000 Pinellas subscribers, and 7Dias, a weekly newspaper with a circulation of 5,000 in the county. Both of those are widely read by the county’s Hispanic population, Vendetti said.
Clark also reached out to African American voters through ads in The Weekly Challenger and The Power Broker Magazine, which lays claim to 33,000 readers in the Tampa Bay area.
And, in full disclosure, she spent more than $5,000 for ads in the Tampa Bay Times.