From sports to security: Growing demand fuels expansion of Spanish-language newswire coverage in 2006

With 2006 rapidly approaching, one thing worth considering is what new Spanish-language products will be launched or enhanced by the major newswires/services. Portada® recently caught up with sources from Agencia Efe, the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI) to pose that question.

With the highly-anticipated 2006 Soccer World Cup close at hand, Florida based Agencia Efe is focused on enhancing sports coverage in the coming year.
In addition to its basic coverage of the 2006 Soccer World Cup, Agencia Efe is launching a special World Cup package which will include graphics, text, photo and audio components, as well as interactive online features. Content is delivered in two basic  formats: raw, unedited material for the customer to assemble as needed, and ready-to-go, pre-edited material.
Agencia Efe’s Sales and Marketing Director Rafael Carranza notes that “Because of Efe’s strong presence in Latin America, coverage of the region’s various teams will be emphasized, which of course is relevant and helpful to our customers and the readers.”
Efe is enthusiastic about their partnering with graphic design firm ILC Ink., which produces roughly 360 graphics for Efe each month.

Efe’s Media Specialist Michael Malone puts the types of graphics they use into two categories: “We have those that serve to complement a story, and then we have ‘stand-alone’ graphics that tell the story in and of themselves.” The Associated Press (AP) is aggressively developing its Spanish-language content in 2006 to try and keep pace with demand. It is currently in the process of revamping its continuously updated, realtime newswire, AP Spanish. This service covers top-stories from the US, Latin America and around the world. The content delivered is not merely translated, but is instead covered by Spanish-speaking reporters with the Latino audience in mind.

During Hurricane Katrina, for example, AP had one of its Mexico-based reporters stationed in New Orleans, with special coverage of culturally-relevant material such as the arrival of aid from Latin America. Similarly, AP Spanish’s coverage of sports will not only report a given team’s performance, but will highlight what Latino players did in a particular game.

Tailoring the content
This approach of tailoring the content to suit the audience has had a beneficial effect on the newswire’s bottom line. According to Sue Cross, Director of Media Relations, the amount of Hispanic newspaper business that AP has done in the last year-and-a-half has nearly tripled, “This is due in large part to web-based delivery of our content, which has made it much more affordable than it used to be,” notes Cross.

Broadband makes it
Whereas prior technological constraints required costly investment in specialized satellites/communications equipment, these days one needs little more than a broadband internet connection to capitalize on the newswire’s coverage. According to Adriana Avakian, Marketing Director at United Press International, her news service plans to expand coverage related to political/ economic/security policy on both local and international levels. Due to the general skepticism among Latin America’s citizens regarding the honesty and integrity of their elected officials, political coverage is in high demand.

Given the rampant criminal violence that prevails in certain Latin American countries, security is another major concern demanding of media-attention. Speaking to some of the challenges of ramping-up this type of coverage, Ms. Avakian states, “These are areas that are extremely difficult to cover due to the risks involved. For example, there is no beat for the Colombian FARC, because anyone aggressively probing them would be killed.”
Nonetheless, Ms. Avakian affirms her organization’s commitment to delivering material that is sought after by the general public.
Alex Andrews