Hispanophone Caribbean News Sources (WE1S Area of Focus Report)

Report by Samina Gul Ali


Ali, Samina Gul. “Hispanophone Caribbean News Sources.” WhatEvery1Says Project, http://we1s.ucsb.edu. July 3, 2018. http://we1s.ucsb.edu/hispanophone-car…ean-news-sources/.

1. Overview

What is your area(s) of focus?

My area of focus is Hispanophone Caribbean newspapers. As we began discussing regional coverage on representations of the humanities for WE1S, it seemed important to identify the Caribbean as a distinct region with a unique perspective on humanities research. This is especially important when considering the growing field of Caribbean Studies in the U.S. academy. Due to issues of access, I decided to limit my initial search to newspapers (excluding broadcast, websites, and other forms of news media). Since the Caribbean is a multilingual region, it also made sense to separate reports based on language. There is a separate report on English-language newspapers in the Caribbean, but we still need Dutch and French newspaper coverage.

This specific list is a compilation of Spanish-language newspapers. The newspapers in this corpus are geared towards a “general audience;” as I continue my research, I will likely build a sub-corpus that covers publications by special interest groups in the Caribbean.

Why is this area of focus important to the WE1S corpus?

Including Caribbean newspapers opens up our scope to a “Hemispheric American” approach. Most Caribbean newspapers discuss U.S.-related news, as well as global coverage. It is also important because the Caribbean diaspora is a major part of the U.S. population, so many of these newspapers are also read within the United States.

2. Source Scoping Process

How have you been selecting sources for the WE1S corpus? (e.g. collecting from particular databases, using “impact” lists, etc.)

Although I tried to cover all major Spanish-language newspapers on each island, issues of access often came up as a roadblock. I began with a basic Google search, which led me to Wikipedia newspaper listings for individual islands. I also asked the Caribbean Studies librarians and colleagues who work within Caribbean Studies for resources on newspaper lists. Currently, many of these newspapers are not available on academic databases (some are available on Press Reader, Nexis Uni, World News Collection, and NewsBank).

If you are using external lists to guide your selection of sources, include links here and indicate who produced them, for what purpose the list was produced, and any potential bias issues involved.

Outside of Wikipedia and academic conversations, I used the following lists:



3. Corpus Representativeness

How representative is the corpus that you are creating for your area of focus? (“Representativeness” can be interpreted and addressed in a number of ways, so tailor it to be most productive for your area.)

I included Cuba and the Dominican Republic (Puerto Rico has been included within a US-based list). This list focuses on “major” publications that are primarily focused on national and international news. I have also included more than one publication per island, so there is somewhat of a broad inclusion of political ideas.

What challenges in achieving representativeness have you encountered?

I have only included Cuba and the Dominican Republic in this list—we may have to create a sub-corpus for the Caribbean basin. Because of the language barrier, it is difficult to determine the nuances of political leanings within each publication. Another issue is the question of circulation—so far, I have not found any data on circulation numbers for most of the publications within my list. Because of the language barrier, I have had trouble reading the research around certain publications. Google Translate can sometimes help with cultural class and political affiliation if the newspaper’s website is up and running; with Cuban newspapers everything published is labelled as “communist” (I have not found any anti-communist publications from Cuba).

Provide a tally breakdown of the various facets of sources in your area of focus that WE1S is considering as possible measures of overall corpus “representativeness” (for example, by source or media type, nationality, region, political orientation, identification with specific racial, ethnic, and gender audiences, etc.).

Print: 32

Broadcast: 0

Online: 30 (this number reflects print publications that are also available online)

Cuba: 21

Dominican Republic: 11

4. Reflections

What challenges or difficulties have you encountered in the source selection or collection process?

I have not found a directory for online-only news publications in the Caribbean. Additionally, most of these newspapers are not available in academic library databases. I have also made a separate list for English-language newspapers, but we are lacking coverage of French and Dutch language newspapers in the Caribbean. As we collect broadcast and radio Caribbean sources, I anticipate difficulty in finding these in academic library databases as well.

5. Research Scan

Conduct some preliminary research on the questions or challenges that you provided in sections three and four.

Due to the language barrier, I have intentionally left this section blank. I will return to this at a later date when my Spanish reading skills have improved.

Have other scholars reflected on these issues? Are there publications that address these problems? Has research been conducted on how to overcome these challenges or at least acknowledge them productively?

Due to the language barrier, I have intentionally left this section blank. I will return to this at a later date when my Spanish reading skills have improved.

6. Additional Comments/Reflections

 Include any other issues or questions that you have encountered that may not fit into any of the above categories.

Cultural class at this stage is largely guesswork. Determining the cultural class might be possible with quite a bit of knowledge of Cuba and the Dominican Republic, as well as a deeper analysis of each publication collected.  But, since we are only seeing digital versions of these newspapers, it is not possible to be sure about the print version format. I have tried googling images of the newspapers, but that is also an unreliable option. This collection might benefit from having a fluent Spanish speaker review and revise this report.