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Speaking the same language: Southern California News Group expands Excelsior brand.

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For more than two decades, Excelsior has established itself as the leading Spanish-language newspaper in Orange County, Calif. To coincide with its 25th anniversary, Southern California News Group (SCNG) has expanded the Excelsior brand into Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where it publishes a pair of Spanish-language weeklies.

"We have been evaluating all aspects of our Spanish-language media during the past several months, and determining how and where we could grow audience and advertising participation," said Hispanic publications editor Carlos Aviles. "When Freedom Communications merged with Los Angeles News Group to become SCNG last year, we had three autonomous and distinctly local brands with little to no connection to one another."

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Impacto USA, which debuted in 2005, has been renamed Excelsior Los Angeles, while Excelsior now includes "Orange County" in its masthead alongside a special 25th anniversary seal. The original La Prensa name will remain in the masthead with "a publication of Excelsior" designation to connect the Inland Empire edition to the Excelsior brand.

Additionally, the free papers have added several new features based on current events and readers' interests such as "What to do?" which includes information on immigration, education and pathways to citizenship. Another new weekly section, "Ask a Lawyer," lets readers send in questions and receive guidance from legal experts.

As part of the rebranding effort, each paper's website will be redesigned and merged into a single, centralized site (ExcelsiorCalifornia.com) tying all three brands together. The new and improved website is expected to be launched later this year. In the meantime, SCNG will continue to share content through its existing sites and on social media.

Aviles said the print editions also received an upgraded design "to have a more visual and sophisticated feel" modeled after popular newspapers in Mexico and South America.

"Our newspapers are now quicker reads with larger pictures and more infographics," he said.

The Excelsior newspapers maintain a combined circulation of nearly 400,000, and are distributed through a mix of home delivery and racks in retails stores in high-density Hispanic neighborhoods. Typically, the page count can vary from anywhere between eight to 20 pages.

Aviles attributed the success of their Spanish-language publications to the strong mix of local, national and international news coverage.

"There's tremendous value in receiving relevant content from a trusted source that impacts the quality of our lives," he said. "A large part of our success is making sure we are in touch with our community, on the streets, attending their events, covering their community soccer leagues, and giving readers a voice that no one else does in the media."--SS

Caption: Earlier this year, Southern California News Group revealed the updated mastheads and redesigned pages of its three Spanish-language newspapers as part of the expansion of the Excelsior brand.

Caption: Carlos Aviles, Hispanic publications editor of Excelsior newspapers

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Title Annotation:the A section
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Sep 1, 2017
Words:476
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