Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

June 6, 2022

New Britain publisher’s latest ethnic newspaper targets growing Hispanic population

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED The first issue of La Vision, a Hispanic newspaper (shown above) targeting central Connecticut, hit newsstands in April and published 6,500 copies.

While many traditional media outlets in Connecticut continue to struggle with declining print circulation and advertising, Darek Barcikowski sees real opportunity in the space.

But he’s carving out his own unique niche.

After seeing success with his popular Polish-language newspaper White Eagle, Barcikowski recently launched a Spanish-language newspaper — La Vision — targeting central Connecticut’s growing Hispanic population.

The New Britain-based paper’s inaugural issue published 6,500 copies in April and covers topics ranging from community events to local and statewide news.

Darek Barcikowski is a New Britain-based ethnic newspaper publisher. In the photo, he’s holding the inaugural issue of La Vision, a Hispanic newspaper.

Barcikowski said he launched the publication after several New Britain Latino community members asked him to consider the idea. He also saw a market for it. He hopes the new venture reaches an audience that once lived in somewhat of a news desert.

“We need to know the community and community leaders enough to put this publication out. It’s all about building relationships, which we continue to do,” Barcikowski said. “One of the indicators of early success is that, after the first edition, we had people reach out to us with story ideas, content and photos from different community events. Folks are interacting with the publication and there has been a willingness to advertise and that’s always been the biggest measure of success.”

With La Vision, Barcikowski is tapping into the U.S.’ ever-expanding Hispanic news media market, which is growing faster than any other ethnic media, according to the University of North Carolina Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

In 2020 there were 224 Latino-Hispanic newspapers, 173 television stations and 27 radio stations in the United States.

In Connecticut, launched years ago as an English language online-only news site that covers Latin and Latino issues. There are other local players in the mix.

The sector’s growth comes amid the country’s changing demographics. The U.S. Hispanic population reached 62.1 million people in 2020, a 23% increase over the previous decade, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. In Connecticut, the state’s Hispanic population increased 30% over the same time period (to 623,293) and now makes up 17.3% of the state’s 3.6 million residents, Census data show.

Diverse client pool

Barcikowski launched his Polish paper nearly two decades ago in Boston, where he grew up. The 44-year-old has lived in New Britain for the past six years.

Today, there are five separately-printed editions of the White Eagle, which is based in New Britain’s Little Poland community. One covers Connecticut, generally New Britain and surrounding areas, while other editions exist in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.

The Polish paper has grown its advertising and circulation base even during the pandemic, Barcikowski said, with more ad revenue from government agencies regarding pandemic and vaccine information.

He said he expects to generate $750,000 in revenue in 2022.

While the New Britain area is overly saturated with Polish-American papers — there are about a half-dozen — Barcikowski and his business partner, Marcin Bolec, saw that wasn’t the case for Hispanic newspapers.

There are just a few in the region, primarily Hartford-based La Identidad, which publishes every two months and New Haven-based LaVoz Hispana, which has been around for decades and is distributed in central Connecticut.

La Vision was launched with many of the same advertisers that support the White Eagle, which comes out twice a month. La Vision’s inaugural 36-page issue had 25 advertisements and was available in more than 100 locations including town halls, travel agencies and supermarkets. The goal, Barcikowski said, is to reach between 25,000 and 30,000 homes. All of the Polish editions combined reach about 20,000 households.

Advertisers for both paper’s include local hospitals, real estate firms, mortgage brokers and even bakeries and delis.

“We are seeing a much more diverse client pool than even a few years ago,” Barcikowski said. “New Britain has such a large Polish and Spanish-speaking community that these businesses have had an interest to advertise in both papers.”


Both ethnic papers — which employ a combined 15 full- and part-time staffers, including reporters and salespeople — offer hyper-local news that readers won’t find elsewhere, Barcikowski said.

Culturally relevant

Wilson Camelo is the president and chief marketing officer for Camelo Communications, a Hartford-based marketing and communications company he founded nine years ago that works with businesses to reach more diverse audiences.He said there is an opportunity and need for ethnic media outlets.

“A lot of the Hispanic population coming into Connecticut is coming from other countries, not just Puerto Rico,” Camelo said. “It continues to be a growing market and we are seeing big growth from central and south America. When you think of Spanish-language papers, you are talking primarily about [readers] who are older or newer arrivals and Spanish dominant.”

Camelo said Barcikowski “has done a great job in the Polish community covering the news and being credible. If he takes the same approach with his new paper, he can be successful.”

“You need to be relevant and culturally relevant,” Camelo said. “You need to provide news not just for the general market in Spanish, but that covers Hispanic issues and issues of interest to that community.”

In addition, Camelo, whose firm is working with Hartford HealthCare on outreach to the Hispanic community, said there are plenty of advertisers for the growing Spanish-speaking market.

“More and more businesses are realizing the value of reaching the Hispanic consumer,” Camelo said. “Businesses will continue to do that even as whites are slowly becoming the minority group and will be the minority group in this state and in the country in 2042.”

Rich Hanley

Richard Hanley, a media expert who is an associate journalism professor and co-director of sports studies at Quinnipiac University, said ethnic media have been part of the journalistic landscape for well over 100 years, including in Connecticut.

Hanley said reaching first- and second-generation Spanish-speaking residents in their own language with news they can use is a powerful tool that can attract advertisers.

“Businesses want to reach specific communities and ethnic newspapers are a vehicle to reach them,” Hanley said.

In terms of future growth, Barcikowski said he’d like to eventually launch La Vision in other markets.

“I wouldn’t mind if it followed the White Eagle model,” he said. “I am confident we will grow, and I disagree with those who say people do not read newspapers anymore. I believe there is a strong demand for news that is not readily available elsewhere and that papers that produce such content can grow.”

Sign up for Enews


Order a PDF