U.S. Spanish Language News Sources (WE1S Area of Focus Report)

Report by Tarika Sankar

Final Version Created June 2018


Sankar, Tarika. “U.S. Spanish Language News Sources.” WhatEvery1Says Project, http://we1s.ucsb.edu. July 3, 2018. http://we1s.ucsb.edu/u-s-spanish-language-news-sources/.

1. Overview

What is your area(s) of focus?

U.S. Spanish-Language News Media

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

This area of focus is important because the WE1S project is interested in considering how different ethnic minority groups might talk about the humanities differently. In the future, we may develop a sub-corpus of Spanish-language news for analysis.

2. Source Scoping Process

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

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.

My main source is the ProQuest database called U.S. Hispanic Newsstream. The advantage of this source is that the University of Miami has access to the full-text of most of the newspapers indexed here. This database contains both daily and weekly newspapers from a range of states and regions around the U.S. It also includes some bilingual newspapers. One limitation of this source is that it does not include newspapers from Puerto Rico.

I have also used this Wikipedia list of Spanish-language newspapers in the U.S., which appears to be in no particular order: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Spanish-language_newspapers_published_in_the_United_States

This list of Spanish-language newspapers from Wikipedia is organized by state/territory, and was my main source for finding Puerto Rican newspapers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Spanish-language_newspapers_published_in_the_United_States

This list of the top 10 U.S. Spanish-language newspapers by circulation was produced by Cision, a public relations, media and communications software and consulting company. This kind of list is created to help companies understand the leading newspapers targeting Spanish-speaking demographics for the purpose of advertising and marketing. The list claims to present audited circulation numbers from 2010. Clearly, this kind of list privileges “big” newspapers with a wide reach and audience rather than representativeness of all Spanish-language media. https://www.cision.com/us/2010/10/top-10-spanish-language-newspapers/

These fact sheets from the Pew Research Center are incredibly helpful because they contain reliable circulation data from 2013 and 2014 for four major daily Spanish-language newspapers and 30 weekly newspapers, as well as viewership numbers for major Spanish-language TV news like Univision and Telemundo. Information from the Pew Research Center can generally be considered unbiased and trustworthy.



3. Corpus Representativeness

How representative do you think your corpus is? (Representativeness can be interpreted and addressed in a number of ways, so tailor it to be most productive for your area.)

I believe my corpus is generally representative of Spanish-language print newspapers, which were the easiest types of Spanish-language media to find and collect data on. The corpus contains daily and weekly newspapers, major newspapers that cater to a national audience, and smaller local papers. According to a report by the Instituto Cervantes at Harvard University, 82% of U.S. Spanish-language publications operate as both print and digital, and this is reflected in my corpus (Covarrubias 6). My corpus is also geographically representative, containing newspapers from many states, including Puerto Rico; all major regions of the United States are represented (Northeast, Norwest, West, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest.) I would not assert that the corpus is a comprehensive list of Spanish-language newspapers in the U.S., but I think it contains a fairly representative distribution of such publications.

The corpus is not very representative of other news genres beyond newspapers, such as magazines, television, and radio.

What challenges in achieving representativeness have you encountered?

Challenges included locating low brow and high brow sources and determining political orientation of smaller local papers. As stated earlier, the types of Spanish-language media that are most readily available for documentation and data collection are daily or weekly newspapers, which tend to cater to middle-brow audiences and at least purport to political neutrality. Unless a newspaper is a major national publication with a known reputation for a particular political bent (and there are only a few U.S. Spanish-language newspapers with this kind of profile) it is difficult to determine its political orientation. It was also difficult to locate other genres of news media besides print newspapers, such as tabloids, magazines, radio shows and television stations, genres which might show a greater representation of low brow or high brow audiences or different political orientations.

Another aspect of representativeness which could use further research and investigation is how Spanish-language publications cater to different ethnic or immigrant groups, or to Spanish-speaking Americans who are not immigrants at all, as in the case of some older newspapers established in Texas and border states. Going forward, a more representative corpus mighy provide a breakdown of Spanish-language newspapers based on the ethnic or national groups they target and/or how the demographics of their readership have changed over time (for example, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture notes that the paper Diario Las Americas was the preferred paper of the conservative Cuban community in Miami, but El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language counterpart to The Miami Herald, caters to the more recent influx of Nicaraguan and Colombian immigrants) (144).

Circulation numbers can be found for the top handful of most widely circulated Spanish-language newspapers, but reliable data for smaller papers is very difficult to find, especially since self-reported numbers tend to exaggerate or use conflicting or confusing definitions such as number of households reached or serves a Spanish-speaking community of x thousands. Also, 75% of Spanish-language newspapers in the U.S. are distributed for free, so we cannot estimate circulation numbers based on paid subscriptions (Covarrubias 7). This presents a challenge in terms of evaluating the representatives of the sub-corpus based on circulation.

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.).

Geographic area

  • Local: 27
  • Regional: 4
  • National: 3

Distribution Method

  • Print: 31
  •  Broadcast: 2

What challenges or difficulties have you encountered in the source selection or collection process? Do you anticipate any challenges emerging from your work going forward?

If the corpus is expanded to include more non-print sources like radio and television, I anticipate it will be more difficult to access text transcripts of these sources than it is to find the text of print newspapers.

5. Research Scan

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

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?

Working Bibliography

Albarran, Alan B. The Handbook of Spanish Language Media. 2009.

Albarran, Alan B. and Moellinger, Terry. Who Owns Spanish News Media in the United
States? The International Journal of Hispanic Media, vol. 8, 2015, pp. 15-23. http://www.internationalhispanicmedia.org/who-owns-spanish-media-in-the-united-states/

Covarrubias, Jorge Ignacio. Spanish-language Journalism in the United States. Informes
del Observatorio / Observatorio Reports, Instituto Cervantes at FAS, Harvard University, 2016. ) DOI: 10.15427/OR019-03/2016EN

Gutiérrez, Felix F. More Than 200 Years of Latino Media in the United States. American
Latinos and the Making of the United States: A Theme Study, U.S. National Park Service, pp. 99-121. www.nps.gov/heritageinitiatives/latino/latinothemestudy/pdfs/Media_web_final.pdf

Fulhage, Michael and Lucila Vargas. Newspapers, Spanish-Language. The New
Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, vol.18, edited by Allison Graham and Sharon Monteith, University of North Carolina Press, 2011, pp. 142-146.

Hughes, Sallie. The Latino/a Audience Unbound: Intra-Ethnic Social Hierarchies and
Spanish-Language Television News. Latino Studies, 2018, pp. 1–22. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41276-017-0107-6

Roth, Daniel Shoer. Miami’s Latin Media Crisis? Layoffs and uncertainty abound at
Univision and Telemundo. The Miami Herald. 9 March 2018. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article204428774.html.