Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Latino Media Outlets Thrive Despite Economic Crisis

Monica Lozano, Publisher of La Opinión

During an age when many newspapers are facing grim times, a few ethnic media outlets are thriving. This is because many of these newspapers and broadcast stations have been focusing on their expanding audience -the sons and daughters of immigrants.

In Los Angeles, the No. 1 TV station is Spanish-language KMEX, a Univision affiliate-not a mainstream NBC, CBS, ABC, or Fox channel.  According to Nielsen, the station is No. 1 in the U.S. with viewers aged 18-49, many the sons and daughters-even grandchildren who identify as Hispanic-Americans.

University of Southern California journalism professor Felix Gutierrez says it’s more than just language that’s attracting younger viewers. He says it’s the different perspective that Hispanic media has to offer.

Gutierrez said, “I was watching last night, and they were talking about the border wars – drug smuggling and all that. But they were covering it from the Mexican side. They had the same kind of footage, but it was a different perspective, a different angle that I don’t see on CBS, NBC, CNN and the other networks.”

La Opinión, the biggest Spanish language daily newspaper in the country is also expanding its outreach online through blogs and bilingual content. Although the Los Angeles paper’s circulation has dropped with the economic crisis, it still has half a million readers.

The paper which was started in 1926 by publisher Monica Lozano’s grandfather has survived the Great Depression, battles over immigration and world wars, and is now adapting to the recession and “new media appetites”. The paper has embraced the fact that many Latino households are multigenerational, multilingual, and quick to adapt to multimedia trends.

Lozano says, “So the beautiful thing is that the parents reading the newspaper, they’re talking to kids who are online; the kids are talking to their parents about something they’ve just learned; grandparents are saying,

Increasingly, that language is Spanglish for many Hispanic-Americans.

Latino 96.3 FM in Los Angeles is operated by the Spanish Broadcasting System, which owns radio stations across the country. The music aired ranges from rancheras to reggaeton to hip-hop. On the air each morning, Chuey Martinez switches easily between Spanish and English.

Martinez says, “I would like to think I’m talking the way everybody else is talking. Porque hablamos ingles aqui en Los Angeles y espanol tambien. We speak both, especially if you grew up here in L.A., you grew up speaking both.”

Martinez’s father is from the Dominican Republic, and his mother is Mexican-American. Like many young Latinos, he grew up watching telenovelas with his family and embraces his bicultural heritage.

He mentions that young Latinos are very tech savvy and quick to adapt to changing trends. “We like iPhones, we like the iPods, the MySpaces, Facebooks. I Twitter like you have no idea right now. I blog. I video blog a lot.”