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The Trust

Restoring the Trust
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Immigrants Have a Different
Definition of What’s News

Alejandro Manrique, Managing Editor, Rumbo de San Antonio

‘It is very difficult to address how to restore trust in ethnic media when your readers have never had trust in media’ —Alejandro Manrique

The question of how to restore the trust between or among ethnic media, as you call it, gives me a lot of trouble. A little bit of context. . . we’ve launched four newspapers in Texas last year, one in San Antonio, one in Houston, one in Austin and one in the Rio Grande Valley. These newspapers are entirely devoted to the immigrant community, first, second and third generation immigrants. They are entirely in Spanish.

...It is very difficult to address how to restore trust in ethnic media when your readers have never had trust in media. The immigrants who come from Mexico or Central America or Latin America, they don’t even trust the media. They don’t trust the government there. So the question must be addressed in the following way: How do we gain the trust of readers who face many challenges here in this country?

... There is no independent media in Latin American countries. I lived there, I was an investigative journalist there, and I can tell you that. We have examples of independent journalism, of good journalism, but that is not the mainstream. The mainstream is that you have the government tied to the media.

So, before we can talk about how to regain trust between our Hispanic readers, we have to ask, how do we teach them to trust? [We have to teach them] the standards, the way independent journalism is done. That is the first issue.

The other point is that our Rumbo readers are not used to reading. Most of them are immigrants who, some of them, are illiterate, some who can read but they don’t trust, they have a lack of education. And they come here and face other types of struggles. They are here for survival.

....despite all those...difficulties, if they come to this country—and we have done a lot of studies, a lot of research—it is very likely that the immigrants will begin to trust, if the media that they read do the right thing.

But when I talk about “do the right thing,” that involves a lot of questions. A lot of issues. We have to redefine, for example, what is the concept of our news. . . news is a changing concept, depending on cultures and on the times. ...Everything is news for them. They are in a new country, they don’t understand most of the things that happen here, so the traditional concept of news, meaning an interruption in the normal events of life, is not that simple when it comes to [this] readership.

. . . Not only what is news, but how we can present the news. Also, we face a lot of issues involving intimacy and truth-telling. Here, the boundaries between what is intimate and what is public information is pretty much defined. But when it comes to a community of readers like Hispanics, things are really different. Because Hispanic people . . . weigh intimacy a lot more because of our Hispanic tradition. . . If what is news for them trespasses their right to privacy and intimacy [it becomes offensive]. . . also means for us a way to educate our readers on how to survive in this country. . . and, as my bosses say, how to put brown faces in the newspaper, to give some recognition to our people, to put them in stories and on the front pages. . .that’s the way I can respond to the question, how to restore trust.

<< previous | next >>
Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
Final report home page