As many papers are cutting their Washington staff or closing their Washington bureaus altogether, Portada speaks with La Opinion Executive Editor Pedro Rojas on how the paper plans to cover Washington in ’09:
How do you plan to cover news out of Washington? Do you have a Washington bureau or will you rely mostly on newswire services, etc?
Rojas: We have a bureau of one reporter, Maribel Hastings, who been there for 15 years. She covers most of the material from there and then we will supplement that coverage with graphics and other things as necessary.
What kind of access are you granted in Washington as a major Hispanic newspaper?
Rojas: Right now we are applying for credentials to cover the White house as part of the official press pool. We had a staff of 6 covering the campaign, and we are hoping that our request will be granted. But overall, we are satisfied with the level of access we have.
Do you foresee this administration being easier or harder to cover than the last and why?
Rojas: It’s really too early to say, but Maribel is well-versed in Washington reporting and she has never had a problem getting the story.
Are you noticing an increase in demand for coverage out of Washington DC from readers? What do they want to know about?
Rojas: Definitely. La Opinion readers are actively seeking out that coverage through the paper and online. I think if we were covering Washington with just wire news, the reader response would be completely different.
For example when [New Mexico Governor] Bill Richardson had to bow out from being in the cabinet, it sparked a lot of letters and emails both positive and negative. Online readers are not yet able to comment on the articles, but we are working on implementing that for ‘09.
What else is in the works for La Opinion in ’09? Any new product launches or new-hires?
Rojas: We are planning to develop our online presence with more videos, podcasts and other interactive features. And we just announced the partnership with Televisa in Mexico to offer access to Televisa content on mobile phones through Impre.com.
In addition we have one reporter from El Diario and one from La Opinion appearing on ESPN en Español on a show called Juego Cruzado.