Hispanic Media in Central California Fight to Survive

The word crisis is the same in English and Spanish. And media in both languages are experiencing it equally. In general terms, the problem is that income from advertising has been reduced dramatically. English-language publications also face another problem: the decline in the number of readers, who now prefer other ways of getting their news, such as the Internet. This problem has not seriously affected Spanish-language publications -- at least not yet. 

In San Joaquin Valley, the southern part of California’s Central Valley, which comprises eight counties (Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare), the effects of the crisis on Spanish-language media are evident. 

In late 2007, the Spanish-language weekly Las Noticias del Valle shut down operations. The newspaper has been published in the city of Hanford, in Kings County, by the English-language newspaper Hanford Sentinel.? 

In late 2008, El Mexicalo, of Bakersfield (in Kern County), also stopped publishing after almost 30 years. This was the oldest independent bilingual publication in the San Joaquin Valley.

“The crisis has affected us all and we had to implement measures to cope,” said Miguel Baez, editor of Noticiero Semanal, based in Porterville (Tulare County). “In almost two years our circulation has gone from 26,000 to 8,000 copies.” Baez says his publication also cut a position, reduced its format and limited its distribution areas.

The largest Latino weekly in the area, Vida en el Valle, in Fresno, has also had to make adjustments. “We went from being totally bilingual to being 80 percent English,” said editor John Esparza. “In this way, we saved considerably in translation and paper costs.” The weekly, which publishes five sections and also covers the Sacramento Valley, decided to reduce its spending on travel. Even so, late last year they hired a reporter, an unusual move in the current economic climate.

Source: New America Media


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