U.S. Spanish-language newspapers experiencing “Golden Age”


Spanish-language newspapers in the U.S. are going through a rich period and have an even better outlook though challenges remain, Reinaldo Escobar, a Colombian-born journalist and owner of The Spanish Times in Utah, recently told Latin Business Daily.

“Spanish-language newspapers in the U.S. are going through a Golden Age," Escobar, who has worked in Spanish-language media in the U.S. for two decades, said by telephone. "We are seeing a hatching of the language at all levels."

The importance of Spanish-language media has grown along with the U.S. Hispanic community's political importance.

“Three of the (presidential) candidates who are Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz speak perfect Spanish,” and this is unprecedented, he said.

Some big car manufacturers and other large companies who in the past spent a tiny percentage of their advertising on Spanish media, are moving toward making that expense closer to English media levels, he added.

In many school districts, Hispanic students are the majority. Many counties and courts make legal announcements also in Spanish in Spanish media.

One unique thing that makes Spanish-language newspapers important is that physical newspaper reading remains a cultural habit. Another unique thing is that Latin communities often live closer together, making distribution easier.

“As a result, in all of the states in the U.S. there are at least three to four small newspaper; but in those states with a big presence of Spanish speakers, there are as many as 10 to 15 newspapers,” he added.

Not all newspapers have the same quality, however. For the most part, they are just filled with advertising but little news, usually downloaded from the Internet without copyrights, Escobar said.

El Tiempo of Las Vegas, the El Nuevo Herald from Miami, La Opinion in Los Angeles, La Prensa in New York, El Dia in Texas and also The Spanish Times in Utah are on the other hand newspapers with well-established sections,” Escobar said.

Amid the opportunities, “many people (who) lack any knowledge of journalism have become publishers,” he added.

Even large U.S. companies, which run big business media for the English-speaking audience, have Spanish-language newspapers that have “very poor content" despite having a good design, Escobar said. 

“Good journalists are unemployed because a large part of the Spanish-speaking media is not interested in putting out a good newspaper,” he added.

The future looks even brighter for Spanish-language media as there are projections that by 2050 there will be at least 100 million Spanish speakers in the U.S alone.

That trend is already visible as “many Spanish-language newspapers are increasing their advertising while English newspapers are losing it," he said.

If large, formal Spanish-language newspapers have closed, it has been because Anglo managers have only left the editorial and not the administration in the hands of Latin journalists who know the communities better, he said.

Organizations in this Story

El Diario La Prensa New York El Nuevo Herald Miami El Tiempo Las Vegas La Opinion Los Angeles The Spanish Times

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