Conecta Arizona: A Year of Busting Covid Myths in Spanish
Conecta Arizona’s one-year anniversary is a milestone for community-focused journalism
Conecta Arizona’s one-year anniversary is a milestone for community-focused journalism
Over the past year, Hispanic media performed better than its English-language counterparts in the U.S., according to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Despite anti-undocumented immigrant rhetoric on its television network, Fox News has launched a new website – called Fox News Latino – it hopes will attract assimilated Hispanics.
The law making it a crime to be in Arizona without proper documents is story number one in the Spanish-language press.
For many Americans, May 1, 2006 was when they first began to comprehend the power of the nation’s Spanish-language media. Hispanic radio and TV played a key role on that day, urging Latino immigrants to take time off from work to demonstrate for immigration reform. Millions participated in the protests in cities across the country.
But while Hispanic media was credited for its role in bringing out the masses on the “day without immigrants,” most people remain unaware of the long history of the Spanish-language press in America, and its tradition of advocating for Latino interests.
The first U.S.-based newspaper for Spanish-speaking readers – El Misisipi – made its debut in New Orleans in 1808, nearly two centuries before the historic marches of 2006.
By the mid-19th Century Spanish-language newspapers were editorializing and covering news in New York, California, Texas, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. Among the causes they supported were independence for Mexico and Cuba, which at the time were Spanish colonies.
The nation’s oldest continuously-published Latino newspaper, – La Prensa – was founded in New York in 1913, and exists today as the daily El Diario/La Prensa.
“We’ve been around for years. We’re not a new media,” said Juan Gonzáles, who chairs the Journalism Department at the City College of San Francisco.
Gonzáles is producing a film that tells the story of America’s Spanish-language media, Voices for Justice: The Enduring Legacy of the Latino Press in the U.S. Along with fellow filmmaker, Félix F. Gutiérrez, a professor of Journalism at the University of Southern California, Gonzáles recently showed a preview of the film to an audience of ethnic media journalists in Atlanta.
Gonzáles told Feet in Two Worlds that the film intends to dispel myths about Latinos both among Hispanics and in the wider society. ” Through the pages of our newspapers we really get an impression of what Latinos are like,” he said. “Mainstream media always shows negative stories (about Latinos) — about gang activity and crime.” Gonzáles noted that many Latinos don’t know the history of the Spanish-language press. “We’re feeling a big gap of knowledge,” — he said — “the film is going to fill a void in telling the story of a people.”
The film project is also a way for Gonzáles and Gutiérrez to prod the Hispanic press to be more aggressive in the way it reports the news.
Today there are hundreds of Hispanic newspapers and magazine across the country. Spanish-language radio is a huge business, and Hispanic TV networks Telemundo and Univision have become as mainstream as their English-language counterparts.
Despite the numbers, Gonzáles, who founded El Tecolote, a bilingual community newspaper in San Francisco, laments that there’s “a lot of fluff” in journalism aimed at Latino audiences. “It does a disservice to the community,” he said.
“When it comes to hard stories, it’s something I continue to push for,” he said. “However much you don’t want to do it, you have to do it. Your simple existence is not enough. You need to help the community change conditions through your solid reporting.”
By Mary Thang, EthnicNEWz.org
Latino publishers in Massachusetts, including one that has served Spanish-reading communities for more than 30 years, are angry that the president of Phoenix Media/Communication Group called Hispanic newspapers in the area “not very good.”
Brad Mindich, president of the media group that now owns Spanish-language El Planeta newspaper, told EthnicNEWz.org in an interview last month that “the other Hispanic newspapers published in the area, with due respect, they are not very good.”
“For someone who cannot even speak or read Spanish to offer an opinion on editorial content on publications…serving the Latino community comes across as arrogant and condescending – which are the last qualities I want to see in someone controlling a media outlet in my community,” said El Mundo‘s vice president, Alberto Vasallo III, in an open letter that follows the cover story (see the full text of the letter below).
The story quotes Dalia Díaz of Lawrence-based Rumbo, whose articles and photos have been republished on EthnicNEWz.org; Victor Cuenca of Providence en Español in Rhode Island, who is a past interviewee of NEWz; Sergio Rivera of Worcester-based El Vocero Hispano; and Víctor Manuel González Lemus of Siglo 21 of New England.
The four publishers were all offended by Mindich’s remarks.
“We cover our communities in different ways and all with great sacrifice, with much love and not only for commercial purposes” (“Nosotros cubrimos a nuestras comunidades de diferentes formas y todos con mucho sacrificio, con mucho amor y no solamente por asuntos comerciales“), said Díaz, director of Rumbo. (more…)
“Nothing Hispanic. Debate ignores the border, relations with Latin America and immigration.”
That was the text on the cover of Hoy newspaper in New York after the second presidential debate this week. No references to immigration, no mentions of Latin America.
“At the end of the presidential debate … the concern of Hispanic analysts was quick to come. They do not understand why our community was not taken into account,” Spanish wire service Agencia EFE said under the headline “Indebted to Latinos.”
Mexican analyst Lorenzo Meyer told EFE,
The worrisome part is that they did not touch upon one single Hispanic issue.
“There was a big issue which was forgotten: immigration,” wrote Carolina Sotola of HoyInternet.com. She reported,
“It’s true that the economy is a topic that worries all of us no matter whether we are Hispanic or not,” said Paco Fabian, spokesman for pro-immigration group America’s Voice.
“But not even mentioning the issue of immigration reform seemed a mistake to me,” Fabian added, mentioning the very important role Latino voters will have in the Nov. 4 elections -especially in key states like Colorado, New Mexico, Florida and Nevada.
Sotola also quoted Christine Sierra, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico, saying she was “disappointed by the questions. They were all of the same kind, a little boring and focused on the economy.”
El Diario/La Prensa, the other Spanish-language daily in New York — both belong to the Impremedia conglomerate — ran an editorial Thursday criticizing John McCain’s performance in the debate. The paper said he failed to recover from “his out-of-touch response to the nation’s economic crisis.”
Journalist Diego Graglia has been documenting the lives of Latinos during this presidential election year. He recently traveled from New York City to Mexico City, stopping along the way to talk to Latinos in small towns and big cities about the issues that matter to them. For more on La Ruta del Voto Latino/The Road to the Latino Vote visit www.newyorktomexico.com.
New Orleans was Hispanic before being American, as street signs remind you in the French Quarter. Bourbon Street, no less, was named over two centuries ago after the royal family -last name Borbón- that still reigns over Spain.
Three years ago, after Hurricane Katrina, Latino workers poured into the city to help with clean up and rebuilding. But Hispanic Americans were in New Orleans long before that demographic explosion. The sense I got from talking to Latinos who’ve been there for many years, though, was that there was no real Latino community to speak of: no civic or cultural organizations, no newspapers, only one store where you could buy Latin American groceries!
“Before, we used to have one supermarket, two restaurants, the Honduran consulate, and that’s it,” says American-born Diane Schnell, the daughter of Honduran parents, who grew up in the city. “Now there’s ten or twelve supermarkets and the stores have tripled and quadrupled. There’s a Mexican consulate too.”
Spanish-language media giant Univisión announced last week that its local evening newscasts in Los Angeles and New York were the first- and second most-watched local broadcasts nationwide among all viewers in any language in the coveted 18-to-49 age bracket (otherwise known as the media’s Holy Grail).
The announcement is especially striking given the continued shrinking viewership of traditional English-language nightly newscasts produced by local affiliates of ABC, CBS, and NBC.
On any given night, KMEX, the Los Angeles Univision affiliate, dwarfs its English- language competitors with evening newscasts that draw 331,000 viewers. The closest English-language newscast in the same area lags KMEX by more than 70,000 viewers.
In recent years, Spanish-language stations (including Telemundo, owned by NBC-Universal) have consistently had the most viewers in cities with large immigrant populations such as Los Angeles and New York.