Spanish-Language Papers Sending Reporters On Campaign Trail

Spanish-Language Papers Sending Reporters On Campaign Trail

By Mark Fitzgerald
Editor & Publisher
Published: January 03, 2008 3:40 PM ET

CHICAGO At 6:30 local time Thursday, when Iowa voters start ambling across living rooms and school gyms to line up for their presidential caucus choices, the huge out-of-town press corps eagerly awaiting results will include reporters from U.S. Spanish-language papers.

Just by itself, ImpreMedia, the nation's largest publisher of Spanish-langauge papers, will have six reporters out on the presidential campaign trail at least through the Feb. 5 mutli-state “Super Duper Primary.”

The apparently unprecedented coverage by Spanish-language newspaper reporters reflects a campaign that has frequently revolved around immigration issues — and the growth in the Hispanic population in general and eligible voters in particular. Latinos, ImpreMedia notes, are the fastest growing segment of the electorate.

If Spanish-language papers are paying more attention this early, it's because after Feb. 5 more than 80% of the Latino population will already have had their chance to vote. And the nation's Hispanics are also largely clustered in so-called “battleground” states such as Florida, California, Arizona, and Colorado.

Tribune Co.'s two Hoy Spanish-language dailies, which are distributed in the Chicago and Los Angeles markets, aren't in Iowa Thursday, and don't plan to be in New Hampshire next week, but will be staffing the campaining for the Feb. 5 primaries in California and Illinois, said Javier Aldape, general manager of Hoy's Los Angeles edition who is in charge of shared editorial content for the papers.

At the beginning of this week, ImpreMedia's Los Angeles daily La Opinion sent four reporters to Iowa and New Hampshire, while its New York City daily El Diario La Prensa sent two. They will be sharing reports with ImpreMedia's other papers, such as the weekly La Raza in Chicago and the weekly Rumbo papers in three Texas markets.

The La Opinion reporters are Pilar Marrero, Maribel Hastings, Eileen Truax and Ruben Moreno. El Diario is sending Lorenzo Morales and Evelyn Hernandez.

La Opinion, the nation's biggest Spanish-language daily, has from its start as a family-owned paper emphasized empowering Latinos through politics. From time to time, it even includes voter registration forms as inserts in the paper.

La Opinion Publisher Monica Lozano said Latino voters prefer to read political news in Spanish “and from trusted sources like” her paper and El Diario.

“By providing unparalleled content on this important electoral process, we expect to play a pivotal role in informing and educating this segment of the voting public”, Lozano said in a statement.

ImpreMedia has set up a chain-wide Web site about the election.