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She Has The Whole “Parents” In Her Hands… Parents Latina: A New Addition To The Parents Brand. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Content Officer Dana Points.

April 9, 2015

“People think that print has gone away because they don’t understand what they’re hearing about the decline of newsstand sales. But newsstand is only a small portion of magazines and the idea that, in the case of Parents and American Baby, thousands of them a day are raising their hands and inviting print products into their home, which to me says this is still a really robust area.” Dana Points

parents latina The Parents (as in the magazine and its family of platforms) brand is a phenomenal scope of content that exceeds expectations when it comes to platform and audience. The success and popularity and trustworthiness of the brand are unquestionable and pave the way for a new baby for the ‘Parents’ to love: Parents Latina.

Dana Points is editor-in-chief and content director for the Parents group at Meredith. The passion and knowledge that she brings to the table when it comes to this niche in the publishing marketplace is unequivocal.

I spoke to Dana recently about the new infant over at the Parents hospital and was delighted to learn that this title was a very welcomed addition to the family. The need for a parenting magazine in English for second-generation Hispanics was the selling factor behind this new venture. The hope is to touch readers that Parents and Ser Padres might miss and give that audience a voice and an information outlet to consider.

So, I hope that you enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Dana Points, content director, Parents Latina, and consider yourself invited to the new baby’s first birthday.

But first, the sound-bites:

Points, Dana Headshot On why she believes publishers are rediscovering print: I don’t know if it’s that publishers are rediscovering print; I mean across the industry I think you are definitely seeing a lot of experimentation and innovation happening, looking for alternate revenue sources because of what’s going on in the larger print ad market.

On the impact print has on readers and advertisers:
We see, not only for the readers, but for the advertisers, that print advertising has a proven impact on consumer behavior and sales, so I think that’s a strong story as well.

On whether she thinks Latina-oriented magazines are a trend and every major publisher will soon be launching one:
I don’t know, because I think this is a very fast-moving market when you look at the pace of the adaptation of the consumer. It could be that for many publishers, the portion of their audience that is Hispanic, reading on their regular titles that they already produce, will grow to match the portion of Hispanics in the population. I don’t know.

On the Hispanic heritage that is thriving in the U.S.: Already 26% of children under age one are in a Hispanic household. So, my audience for American Baby, for example, which we tend to get these women often in their first pregnancy to around five months of age, that’s already a very Hispanic audience.

On the fact that Parents Latina is leading the pack in its market niche and who its real competition is:
I think people would argue to some extent that our competition is from the Hispanic mom’s phone. With the Hispanic consumer there is higher mobile use incidence in that population.

On where she believes the magazine will be a year from now:
I’d like to see our Hispanic readers grow on Parents, as it grows and as the population of moms who are Latina grows, I would like to see the numbers pick up on the main magazine, Parents, the English magazine as well.

On her directives to her editorial team:
In the United States, Mexican heritage is dominant. The directive to my small team that works here on Parents Latina is that we want to speak, in English, to the parenting passions of the new generation of Hispanic moms.

On the biggest stumbling block she’s had to face so far:
I would say in part just the linguistics of working on a magazine that is quarterly. Right now, we’re just in kind of start-up mode from a staffing perspective, so just working out the intricacies of the production schedule, tucking it into the group here when we are already producing 12 issues of Parent, 11 issues of American Baby.

On what it feels like to be the Queen Bee of the entire parenting garden:
I don’t feel like a Queen Bee at all; I feel like there’s a lot of worker bees that are surrounding me at all times and I’m just another worker bee. But I will say it’s really fun.

On whether there will ever be a parenting magazine on teenagers from Meredith: People ask us about teenagers all the time. I think that often readers might graduate from Family Fun to Family Circle. And Family Circle has, under Linda Fears, over the last few years done a considerable amount of coverage of issues that would be of specific concern to parents of teenagers,

On what makes Dana click and tick:
First of all, I love working, and I’ve done this at other points in my career, but I love working on brands that really make a difference in people’s lives; a contact that really makes a difference.

On what keeps her up at night:
Really, not much, which is not to say that I don’t have concerns, but I’ve always been a good sleeper. I think that people are finally getting the straight story about what’s going on in print magazines, but there are still some people who don’t fully understand.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Dana Points, Editor-in-Chief and Content Director, Parents Latina…

Samir Husni: Why do you think that suddenly publishers are rediscovering print? Meredith just came out with Parents Latina; Bauer has a new title, Simple Grace; National Geographic just came out with History; Rodale is launching Organic Life…

Dana Points: Right. And then you have the examples such as the CNET magazine; all of these digital/verticals that are creating print products and obviously, I know you’ve covered the very successful Allrecipes trajectory.

I don’t know if it’s that publishers are rediscovering print; I mean across the industry I think you are definitely seeing a lot of experimentation and innovation happening, looking for alternate revenue sources because of what’s going on in the larger print ad market.

And I think, in the case of Parents Latina, we really saw a group that no one was talking to directly, which is the English-dominant, largely second-generation Hispanic mom. She is very likely, at this point, to have been born in this country and prefers to read in English versus Spanish. We have a magazine, Ser Padres, that serves our Spanish-dominant customer, and then we have Parents, which is really for anyone who wants to read in English. And we know we have a significant group of Hispanic women who are reading Parents already, but we looked at Parents Latina to sort of fill in the gap between the people who we might be missing with Parents and the people who are reading in Spanish with Ser Padres.

Samir Husni: Without new magazines we don’t have an industry. You have to keep adding new blood, while you are reinventing the established ones. And as you said, no one is talking about print being dead anymore; they’re now saying that print is in decline. I give them five more years and they’ll once again be talking about the power of print.

Dana Points: I think so too. We see, not only for the readers, but for the advertisers, that print advertising has a proven impact on consumer behavior and sales, so I think that’s a strong story as well. And I applaud all that the MPA has done to tell the whole story about magazines and audience and include digital.

Samir Husni: Do you feel there’s a trend in the wind to reach that English-speaking Hispanic market, because as you know, Cosmopolitan launched Cosmo Latina in English and now Meredith has launched Parents Latina; do you think that we’re going to see every major magazine spinning a Latina edition in English?

Dana Points: I don’t know, because I think this is a very fast-moving market when you look at the pace of the adaptation of the consumer. It could be that for many publishers, the portion of their audience that is Hispanic, reading on their regular titles that they already produce, will grow to match the portion of Hispanics in the population. I don’t know. I think in the case of parenthood, it’s a very emotional, personal experience and so we felt that there was a need, and in our research we saw a need, for a product that hit on some of the aspects of parenthood that are unique for this audience.

Samir Husni: As editor-in-chief and content director and as you consider all of the parenting magazines underneath your umbrella; you mentioned a bit about the similarities, but also that there are some unique differences when it comes to content. And according to the most recent census you researched, by 2030 one out of three children born in the U.S. will be of Hispanic heritage.

Dana Points: Yes and already 26% of children under age one are in a Hispanic household. So, my audience for American Baby, for example, which we tend to get these women often in their first pregnancy to around five months of age, that’s already a very Hispanic audience. And we’ve recognized that for really as long as I’ve worked on the brand, which is six years now. We adjusted our photography, for example, in American Baby to reflect more Latina moms on our pages. So, we’ve been incubating and following this audience for a while.

Samir Husni: As the leader of the pack, and I don’t think there is really even any competition for you in this field…

Dana Points: Not really. I think people would argue to some extent that our competition is from the Hispanic mom’s phone. With the Hispanic consumer there is higher mobile use incidence in that population.

We are platform agnostic here at Meredith; we work on everything. But I think that we have seen the fragmentation of where this woman is consuming her information and I will share with you that we have some new data coming on that probably in the next couple of weeks. We are releasing another wave of our Moms and Media survey that we’ve done now for several years and I can tell you that this mom, be she Hispanic or not, is just using so many different sources of information.

So, one of the things that I’ve been very interested in over the last few years is when you have so many different sources of information; what really grabs your attention in an immersive way; what do you focus on, and where do you place your trust?

In the Parents brand, we have this incredibly trusted, 85-plus-year history behind us and this very well-recognized brand and then we have this immersive experience of reading print. When you’re reading print, and I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but when you’re reading print, there’s nothing else that’s going across your screen. If you’re looking at print, there is nothing else popping up on the screen, although, if we could figure out how to make that happen, it might be cool.

Samir Husni: (Laughs).

Dana Points: But anyway, that’s an opportunity to really get to her on a very personal topic at a time when she’s a huge sponge when it comes to information consumption and in a setting that is immersive and visually rich.

Samir Husni: If I’m talking with you a year from now and ask you about the success of Parents Latina; what do you think you’ll tell me?

Dana Points: I would like to be able to tell you that 700,000 was no problem, which I’m sure it will be; we’d like to see it potentially grow and possibly grow in frequency, but there is no plan for that right now; it’s a quarterly.

And then I’d like to also see our Hispanic readers grow on Parents, as it grows and as the population of moms who are Latina grows, I would like to see the numbers pick up on the main magazine, Parents, the English magazine as well. And then of course, build out a presence of Parents Latina on Parents.com, which is very embryonic at this stage of the game.

Samir Husni: I was flipping through the pages of the first issue of Parents Latina and for some reason it took me back in time to 1978 when I first came to the United States and when Parents magazine had its first major reinvention. The magazine just feels so close to the audience.

Dana Points: That’s good. We did a lot of digging into, not only the research that we have on the audience, but also what’s out there in the larger population. I’ll give you an example; one thing we know is that a modern, second-generation female Hispanic, of those who marry, about 40% will marry someone who is not Hispanic. So, this is an issue of blending cultures; people think, oh, here’s a magazine for this population, we’re going to have to talk about being bi-cultural or being Hispanic and “American.”

Well, in the case of this particular reader, it’s actually often tri-cultural. We have a case in the first issue that acknowledges and speaks to that. And you can see a little bit of that also in Grace Bastidas’ editor’s letter in the first issue.

Another area that is more specific to this population is, first of all, how they might handle discipline. Typically, you might have a more traditional approach to discipline, particularly in a first-generation, Spanish-dominant reader. But this is a reader who is maybe a little farther down the spectrum and maybe is wrestling with how she can reconcile the discipline that she grew up with and the discipline that her mother might favor versus what friends who are not Latina are doing.

And then you have nuances like the fact that a family member, particularly the grandmother, is more likely to be a caregiver for this reader, so it’s things like that, hopefully, that are giving you this sense of specificity when it comes to the audience.

Samir Husni: What’s your directive to your editorial team when they are actually reflecting that specificity? It’s my understanding that there several different Hispanic backgrounds, whether they’re from Mexico, Cuba or the Caribbean.

Dana Points: In the United States, Mexican heritage is dominant. The directive to my small team that works here on Parents Latina is that we want to speak, in English, to the parenting passions of the new generation of Hispanic moms, so that means culturally relevant, advice, information, just doing so much of what Parents magazine does; you know, we say: we answer your questions, address your concerns, advocate your causes and celebrate the joys of raising children. That’s the same across both brands; we just want to do it in a way that’s culturally relevant.

Samir Husni: What has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve had to face so far and how did you overcome it?

Dana Points: I would say in part just the linguistics of working on a magazine that is quarterly. Right now, we’re just in kind of start-up mode from a staffing perspective, so just working out the intricacies of the production schedule, tucking it into the group here when we are already producing 12 issues of Parent, 11 issues of American Baby; I mean really silly things like we can’t be shipping all of these products simultaneously; we have a good-sized group here working on all the magazines, but from a logistics standpoint, it’s a little bit like creating a calendar from scratch and I’ve had the managing editor of Parents, Michaela Garibaldi, working on that and she’s done a terrific job.

Samir Husni: How does it feel to be the Queen Bee in this whole parenting marketplace? You’re it, in terms of anything that comes to parenting or the brand as a whole.

Dana Points: No pressure.

Samir Husni: No pressure? (Laughs)

Dana Points: (Laughs too) I don’t feel like a Queen Bee at all; I feel like there’s a lot of worker bees that are surrounding me at all times and I’m just another worker bee. But I will say it’s really fun. I’m looking at my wall right now, looking at Family Fun and Parents, American Baby and Parents Latina, and then we also have in this portfolio Ser Padres and there are global specials and lots and lots of great stuff that’s being created and thinking about how all these things fit together is a wonderful, challenging, fun puzzle. I think that is another aspect of what’s challenging about it, not just squeezing it into the production schedule.

My goal is to have magazines that are distinct, in terms of brand identity and appearance. For example, in the case of Parents and Parents Latina, they feel like they’re of the same family. They don’t look the same; you wouldn’t confuse them if they were lying on the table next to each other, but they come from a similar heritage. I always think, and this is not how the reader sees the product, because we have very minimal overlap from an audience standpoint on the various titles, but when we go into a discussion with an advertising partner, I want to see, when you lay all these products on the table that my group works on, I want to see a consistency of quality, great visual design, journalistic chops, and really understanding who the consumer is and speaking to her directly.

Samir Husni: When I put all the magazines next to each other that Meredith has, and when I look at the 100-million-women database the company uses for part of the research; you seem to have all of the babies and parents covered, but there is a gap between Family Fun and Better Homes and Gardens; is there any plan to fill in that gap? To create magazines for when those babies become toddlers or teenagers?

Dana Points: People ask us about teenagers all the time. I think that often readers might graduate from Family Fun to Family Circle. And Family Circle has, under Linda Fears, over the last few years done a considerable amount of coverage of issues that would be of specific concern to parents of teenagers. I think what’s interesting about it is, and I now have a teenager, Samir, at the point that you are the parent of a teenager; on one hand you have a really acute need for help in areas like texting and driving, college admissions and academics and social stuff, but on the other hand you’re also feeling the beginnings of the distance and that’s why I feel like there might not be a product in print that totally revolves around the care and feeding of your teenager. You have kids, right?

Samir Husni: Oh yes, kids and grandkids.

Dana Points: American parents are really involved in their kids’ lives and there’s been a lot of back and forth about that statement. It’s very different from how it might have been a generation or two ago or in other cultures and so if you get really wrapped up in your kids’ lives, there’s a point where you need to make sure that there are other things on your dance card because you can’t live through your kids. So, I think that a product that has diversity, in terms of its coverage is important.

Samir Husni: What makes Dana click and tick? What makes you get out of bed in the morning and look forward to going to work?

Dana Points: First of all, I love working, and I’ve done this at other points in my career, but I love working on brands that really make a difference in people’s lives; a contact that really makes a difference. You hear that a lot and I hear it when people come to interview me; I hear it when people leave our group to go on to other jobs, that they feel like they weren’t just kind of selling space, that they really did have an opportunity to impact people’s happiness, their behavior, by virtue of the fact that they’re consuming our content.

I like the kind of do-good aspect of my job, even as I also like the business part of my job, which is all the stuff we’ve talked about already, thinking about all the brand entities and how they all fit together and how do we do what we need to do on the budgets that we have, strategizing about new projects or PR or redesigns or special sections, things like that.

And then I just love the team that I work with. We have a great group here and in Northampton at Family Fun and in our Spanish-language group as well.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you at night?

Dana Points: Really, not much, which is not to say that I don’t have concerns, but I’ve always been a good sleeper. I think that people are finally getting the straight story about what’s going on in print magazines, but there are still some people who don’t fully understand. Occasionally, I’ll be somewhere and someone will meet me for the first time and say, how’s it going? And they sound worried and I think that there are still too many people who have the perception that print is going away, which I’m talking to some of the youngest customers out there and we are simply not seeing it. These readers do still love their print magazines.

I think what’s happened, most acutely in the last year, in terms of newsstand sales, has tarnished the idea of print a bit. People think that print has gone away because they don’t understand what they’re hearing about the decline of newsstand sales. But newsstand is only a small portion of magazines and the idea that, in the case of Parents and American Baby, thousands of them a day are raising their hands and inviting print products into their home, which to me says this is still a really robust area. That people like to have that magazine hit their mailboxes, be on their coffee tables, be beside their beds at night, etc. So, that perception that print is threatened keeps me up some at night.

And then right now we have a lot of great products and just sort of keeping all those balls in the air and working with the digital team here to make sure that you really have brand evenly across the platforms, which is not to say that we have to do the same thing across platforms because it’s different and the audience can be different. But how do we continue to use digital and social, which is so fragmented and everybody is always on to the shiny new thing; how do we continue to bring new audiences into our brand, whether that be print, digital or whatever.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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