Spanish-Language Media Stays Strong as English-Language Media Struggles

Gillibrand's evolution: "On the Immigrant Side" read El Diario's cover on October 18, 2010

El Diario's cover on October 18, 2010

In the fading light of traditional journalism, Spanish-language media is striking a match.

Over the past year, Hispanic media performed better than its English-language counterparts in the U.S., according to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Spanish-language print circulation declined overall, but not nearly as much as English-language print publications. In fact, Spanish-language daily newspaper circulation actually grew by 1.9 percent last year, while the circulation of English-language dailies dropped five percent in only six months of 2010.

Spanish-language TV programming saw significant growth, largely due to the growing Univision audience.  In some time-slots Univision even outpaced its powerful English-language rivals, ABC, CBS and NBC. In April, Univsion announced it will launch two 24-hour cable channels in the next year, one focused on telenovelas and the other one on sports, and may also launch a 24 hour news channel.  There was growth in Spanish-language radio and magazines too.

The authors of the study point out an interesting development–Spanish-language media continues to expand even as the Hispanic population becomes more bilingual. Almost a quarter of Latinos who mostly speak English at home still watch between one and three hours of Spanish-language TV a day, and for those who speak mostly Spanish at home, forty percent watch one to three hours a day. It seems that Spanish-language media is providing more content of interest to Latino consumers, regardless of their language preference.

Access to digital media in the Latino community lags behind other ethnic groups, but is steadily growing. But taking into account differences in education and income, the study says Latinos have the same digital access as Whites and Blacks.

Latino Access to the Internet, Home Broadband and Cellphone Usage

AboutSarah Kate Kramer
Sarah Kate Kramer first got hooked on collecting stories as a StoryCorps facilitator, then traveled the world with a microphone for a few years before settling down in her hometown of New York City. From 2010-2012 she was the editor of Feet in 2 Worlds and a freelance reporter for WNYC Radio, where she created “Niche Market,” a weekly segment that profiled specialty stores in New York. Sarah is now a producer at Radio Diaries, a non-profit that produces documentaries for NPR and other public radio outlets.