On Friday, El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper, published their front page completely in English. This caught people’s eyes because we could never remember an occasion where they did this, especially for the purpose of fact checking the President of the United States.
— El Nuevo Día (@ElNuevoDia) August 30, 2019
El Nuevo Día publishes daily in Spanish, and even though it has some content in English on its website, their audience is primarily Spanish speaking, so in theory, they have no need to publish in English. A quick look at the English section of their website shows that a very low percentage of their daily stories gets translated. They don’t seem to follow a pattern as to which stories get translated and which don’t, although currently most of the translated stories deal with politics and Donald Trump.
In The State of Latino News Media report they found that most foreign-born Latinos in mainland U.S. prefer to get their news in Spanish, but they only make up one-third of Latinos in the U.S. The other two-thirds are U.S. born and bilingual but prefer to get their news in English. They also found that a big share of Latino news media (77%) is published exclusively in Spanish, followed by bilingual publications at 15%.
But, should we care about what language Latino news media uses? Not, necessarily. The issue here comes when Latinx voices are erased in English publications. Studies show the vast majority of reporters are white, non-hispanics. This means Latinx voices are harder to come by in English language publications. Although theoretically who you are shouldn’t matter because as a journalist you strive to tell a story free from bias, the truth is that stories that might matter to some communities might get ignored simply because we don’t know there’s a story there.
So, back to the English front page. It was jarring to see a publication use a different language to make a point, and maybe other publications should take note and do something as bold once in a while.