Success and Struggles as Spanish-Language News Agencies Evolve for the Online Audience

alejandro tabatha

Alejandro Manrique and Tabatha Siu

As part of our Hispanic Heritage Month coverage, we spoke with two leading Spanish-language news agencies to better understand the challenges they face. 

Spanish-language news agencies find themselves in a unique space within the Hispanic community – one that presents both opportunities and obstacles. The latest findings on Latinos’ news consumption habits released last summer by the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project offers some insight into why.

According to the report, 80 percent of Latinos who consume news media in Spanish only and 76 percent who consume news media in both languages say that Spanish language news media does an “excellent” or “good” job covering news specifically relevant to Latinos in the US. Only 54 percent of Latinos who get news in English alone reported the same.

While the Spanish-language news media has kept its audience satisfied, editors, journalists, and publishers at these organizations recognize there is a lot of work they must do to keep up with their changing industry and audience.

In addition to the growing number of Hispanics turning to English-language media, other challenges to Spanish-language media include the ways that technology and social media have changed how their audiences access the news.

“We do shorter versions of stories during the day and we send them faster throughout the day,” says Alejandro Manrique (@Alejo_Manrique), deputy regional editor of the Associated Press’ Latin America and Caribbean news coverage. Manrique is based in Mexico City.

A disappearing news cycle, citizen journalism, and bloggers all have impacted the speed with which his staff of 30 editors, reporters, and translators must produce more stories – shorter and faster than they used to — while also repurposing them for multiple platforms throughout the day.

Although news agencies traditionally have catered to media companies, Manrique says they now see themselves providing news directly to the public via social media.

“The change has been slow,” he adds. “It has involved a greater commitment of resources, but with the same overall pool of editorial resources as we had in the past.”

Agencia EFE, the first Spanish-language news agency, faces the same challenges.  It celebrated its 75th anniversary ( this year, and it continues to adapt to the changing news needs of its audience and its industry.

EFE business director Tabatha Siu (@TabathaSiu) has witnessed those changes firsthand over the nearly 10 years she’s worked there.

“The future of the wire industry is to develop new business models and offer content for any device,” Siu says. “ We have adapted our technology to the new digital media and now to social media.”

Siu reveals that EFE is establishing strategies to keep it current and competitive.

“We recently launched an iPhone app and we’re working on expanding to other mobile platforms,” she said.

For Siu, the goal is to offer clients solutions that will meet the new technological developments that the industry demands.

You can follow AP’s Spanish-language divisions on Twitter at @AP_Noticias, @AP_Deportes, @AP_Espectaculos and @AP_ManualEstilo. Follow EFE at @EFEnoticias, @EFE_tec, @EFEeconomia and @EFE_estilo.

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Jessica Alas is Media Relations Director, Multicultural Markets and Hispanic PR Wire at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter at @alasjessica.

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