Another article on the growth of Spanish-language media, this time in the United States

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

This article from the Associated Press I won't be translating into Interlingua because it's much too long to do tonight. It makes a few good points about the increasing presence of the Spanish-language media, but not just for the fact that some people prefer to get their news in the language, but also because the quality of the media itself is often better than in English. The Washington Post had a similar article in May that I posted about here, basically that a lot of the time the Spanish-language media will go into much more depth than what you can find in English. This one though is based in New York, whereas the other one was about the media in Los Angeles.

Here are some of the interesting parts of this article today:

Within the past few months, WXTV's 6 p.m. newscast has eclipsed its English-speaking competitors on ABC, CBS and NBC stations in popularity among viewers younger than 49. Sister station KMEX in Los Angeles had more viewers in June for its newscast than any of its English competitors, regardless of age, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Spanish-speaking news outlets all across the country have grown to become major players in their markets and all trends indicate that growth is only going to continue.

"It talks about how the United States is changing," said Ray Rodriguez, president and chief operating officer of Univision Communications Inc., the stations' parent company. "It's a bigger story than just television."

In the New York market, for example, there were 2.7 million Hispanics in 1990 and 4.3 million this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


One startling change has been the TV-watching habits of Hispanic viewers. In 1995, most Hispanic viewers in New York primarily watched English-language television (62 percent) over Spanish-language stations (38 percent), according to Nielsen Media Research. Last year, viewers favored the Spanish stations 71 to 29 percent. Similar trends are happening elsewhere.

That might be alarming to people who believe these new citizens aren't assimilating into their new country, but Univision executives say the majority of their viewers' homes are bilingual.

"More and more bilingual Hispanics are tuning to us," Rodriguez said. "I think we're hitting the nerve. They can relate better. As our product has improved over time and more and more people are coming in, people tune in and say, `That feels more like me.'"

The choice is made more for content than language, Macin said.

That's one good thing about the presence of more than one language: it's harder to create a completely unified atmosphere (the mind-numbing "our news team kicks the ass of your news team" ads that the Daily Show always parodies come to mind) when there's more than one language, and when one starts to get the upper hand the other one may have to start paying attention. It can help keep one or the other from becoming too lazy.


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