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South Florida Sun-Sentinel
New Weekly, el Sentinel, Is Independent, Targeted Product
By EARL MAUCKER
August 25, 2002
Q: In my opinion it is wrong to produce the Sun-Sentinel in Spanish. This only discourages the Hispanic community from learning our language, American English. I am an American patriot and welcome all who want to come to America to better their lives, thereby bettering all of our lives. I say to all Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, Germans, Haitians, Portuguese or whatever: By all means, keep your own sense of identity, but if you want to conduct business or further your education, learn our language.
-- Letter received via e-mail
A: There have been some misunderstandings about our plans to launch a Spanish-language publication and this letter provided me an opportunity to clarify some things.
First of all, we are not going to publish the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Spanish.
The Sun-Sentinel is a comprehensive, broadly focused publication produced and distributed every day throughout South Florida.
The Spanish-language newspaper, el Sentinel, will be published once a week and geared to serve a targeted market in Broward County.
We are in the news and information business. We already publish and distribute more than 20 free, weekly, specialty newspapers for a variety of audiences in South Florida.
Starting el Sentinel makes sense. With Broward's Hispanic population more than tripling since 1990, we felt there was an appetite and a need for this publication.
Our plans are to distribute this newspaper to non-Sun-Sentinel subscribers -- but subscribers who would like to order el Sentinel may do so at no charge.
A number of readers wrote to us and said they felt it was unfair that the Sun-Sentinel would subsidize a Spanish-language newspaper when they had to pay for the Sun-Sentinel.
That is not the way it will work.
The new publication will be self-supporting through its own advertising revenues.
Most of the content for this publication will come from original sources, not the Sun-Sentinel. It will have its own editor, reporters and a Spanish-language wire service.
Coverage will emphasize news of interest to the county's Hispanic population. In addition to local news, the mix of content will come from international sources in South and Central America, and the Caribbean.
It will include special coverage from our bureaus in Puerto Rico and Cuba.
The argument expressed by some readers that a Spanish-language publication will allow immigrants to live in South Florida without learning English has no merit and, frankly, shows a lack of understanding of what is happening here.
We believe that this publication can assist Spanish-language readers in learning how our governmental systems work, provide useful information about our schools, immigration, local businesses, entertainment and sports, and help them understand their new home. What better way is there to encourage assimilation?
The editor of our new publication, Deborah Ramirez, is an experienced journalist who has a thorough understanding of our diverse population in South Florida and knows the sensitivities that come with diversity.
She is committed to providing balance of stories representing the many cultures and nationalities in our region and is sensitive to the issues that divide our communities.
We've always felt that a newspaper is the best source to promote a marketplace of ideas.
An informed citizen is able to make intelligent choices about those things that impact their lives.
Whether it is through an English- or a Spanish-language publication, our purpose is to serve the community.