Analyzing the ‘Diarios Chichas’ of Perú

By Sahar Vahidi, Syracuse/SND

Claudia Guillén’s presentation was a case study on Peruvian newspapers, specifically tabloids known as “Diarios Chichas”. The most popular Chicha papers currently are El Trome, Aja, and Diario El Popular.

During the 90s, a large amount of people moved to Lima from the Andes. In result, there was a big explosion of various Chicha newspapers to connect with this new demographic.

Chichas are thin dailies. They cost 15 cents and usually have a give-away or promotional ad on the front page. The front page ad is the
most expensive ad to purchase, because of the exposure it gets at the newsstands. The articles are a mix of hard news, entertainment, street news and features like “recipe of the day.” (Guillén swears that every Peruvian woman loves it.)

Chichas run similar layouts over and over. The common themes being: no whitespace, no hierarchy of headlines, irregular shapes and many
photos. The newspapers’ design are heavily influenced by Andes fashion, therefore the newspapers are extremely colorful. Some Chichas also try to incorporate different forms of street slang.

Chicha newspapers are incredibly popular right now and change over time to remain popular. El Trome is the biggest paper with 6 million copies distributed throughout the nation.

What’s the most controversial thing about Chichas? A governor once paid between (US) $75,000-150,000 to get front-page propaganda. His political party is now serving time in jail.

Q&A:

  • How sensational is the sensational news?

Guillén explained that people aren’t stupid and will stop reading the papers if they are crap. Therefore most of the sensationalism can be seen via use of headlines or photography. The way the Chichas keep the news “sensational” is they reveal one story over a few days. She said this makes news have more of a “soap opera” effect.

  • How do Chicha papers compete with the traditional daily newspapers of Lima?

El Trome, the more serious Chicha, is funded by a lot of big-name advertisers. However, it’s still considered a Chicha paper, because it has escort/prostitution personal ads.

SIDEBAR: Why are they called ‘Chicha’?

Chicha is a popular Latin American drink made from maize that’s usually alcoholic. Guillén said the drink is more popular than Coca-Cola in Peru. The drink is common among residents of the Andes. The word ‘chicha,’ when used in Peru, refers to the cultural blending of people from outside of Lima moving to Lima.