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Looking For a Few Good Spanish-Language Reporters

KCET’s Adolfo Guzman-Lopez recently spent some time with the Asociacion de Periodistas Latinos de California in Highland Park–a group of veteran Spanish-language newspaper reporters and editors Guzman-Lopez describes as mostly “laid-off or fired La Opinion.” We’ve heard plenty of reports arguing that Spanish-language media is fairing much better than its English counterparts in America, but Guzman-Lopez’s piece shows that old-time reporters in the Spanish-language world are having just as much trouble adjusting to the new media rules.

Spanish-language reporters need a place to gather, said the association’s current president, Cruz Alberto Mendez, as he opened the meeting at a small law office. The group needs a new president, someone who can breathe new life into the organization. Mendez has worked in newspapers for more than 50 years. He began as a 14-year-old at El Sol de Guadalajara carrying used lead slugs to be melted again into new words for the next day’s news. He first came to La Opinión in 1975 and found what he called a “periodico de rancho,” or a small town newspaper, in which sports results appeared two days later. He gave the front page a six-column redesign and had the audacity to tell the publisher what he really thought of the newspaper…

He’d like to see the association offer a legal defense fund and life insurance for Spanish language reporters. He’d also like to sow the seeds for Spanish language newspapers in cities with Latino mayors — he says there are about 30 in California. These newspapers would hold officials accountable.

Sounds good. Especially the part about creating papers in cities with Latino mayors and holding them accountable. We can think of a few cities in southeast LA County that could use that kind of scrutiny..ahem…Maywood…ahem…Cudahy…ahem…Bell Gardens…

So far, unfortunately, Mendez hasn’t had any takers.

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