|February 11, 2005
Copyright © 2005 PUERTO RICO HERALD. All Rights Reserved.
Do You Read the Herald in English or Español?
As with any bilingual publication, the Puerto Rico Herald strives to know the language preference of its readers. This week Herald editors ask readers to respond to the question: "English or Spanish?"
As frequent readers of the Herald know, each week the entire main page and many news and feature articles are available in both languages. This article, for example, is available in both English and Spanish. At the top of each page (see above) there is an advisory in small type that reads "Oprima aquí para Español (Click here for Spanish)" or conversely "Click here for English." In those cases where no Spanish translation is available, the advisory reads, "Esta página no está disponible en Español (This page is not available in Spanish)."
Even though the bilingual options on the Herald have been available since the beginning of its publication, readers occasionally comment, "I didnt know that Spanish was available on your page," or words to that effect.
This two-language policy makes the Herald unique. Most publications directed at a bilingual Spanish and English audience write exclusively in one of the two languages, but not both. For example, Vista, a magazine that is inserted in the Sunday editions of big city newspapers across the country, has -- for twenty years -- published exclusively in English, even though its editorial content is Latino-oriented. An extensive pre-publication survey had shown Vista that the majority of their potential readers preferred English, even those that spoke Spanish in the home or with friends.
English is also the language of such mainland-based magazines as Hispanic and Hispanic Business but there are scores of Spanish-only weekly and monthly magazines available on U.S. newsstands.
In Puerto Rico, most daily newspapers publish in Spanish but the San Juan Star is a well established English-language daily, and the same is true for the San Juan based Caribbean Business, with its regional readership in both English and Spanish-speaking countries. The islands leading newspaper, El Nuevo Dia, publishes in Spanish only and has extended its reach to the mainland by establishing a daily newspaper in Orlando, obviously directed towards the growing Puerto Rican population in Central Florida.
Two mainland newspapers, the Miami-based Diario las Américas and the Los Angeles-situated La Opinión have published in Spanish for many years. Their scope is national and international, but most Spanish-language newspapers are regional and operate out of big cities with large Latino populations. Most are owned by local English-language dailies or national chains such as the Tribune Company, Belo Corporation and Knight Ridder. According to the Latino Print Network, mainstream newspapers own 46 Hispanic publications--nearly all of them weeklies.
Newsday, a Long Island daily, jumped on the Spanish-language market trend last year by launching the tabloid Hoy, directed at Spanish readers in New Yorks five boroughs.
Last year, The Washington Post acquired a local weekly "shopper" titled El Tiempo Latino in its effort to reach the large and growing immigrant population concentrated in its market area of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Colombia. In the same way, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, with its large circulation in Georgia and surrounding Southern states, acquired Mundo Hispanico, a weekly publication with the same market reach. The policy of both parent companies has been to allow their Spanish- language acquisitions to operate independently, maintaining its management and editorial staff.
Herald editors assume that its readers are bombarded daily with information conveyed in both languages and that most can navigate intelligently through articles written in either Spanish or English. But ability is one thing and preference is another. That is why we invite you to share with us your reading habits. Is it English or Spanish; inglés o español?
How do you read the Herald?