Fox and CNN head-to-head in Español election coverage
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There are several reasons that this year's presidential election will make history and chief among them is the fact that both Fox and CNN have launched Spanish language networks. CNN en Español and the newly inaugurated Mundo Fox will compete toe-to-toe for the Spanish-speaking audience during the election.
And they have good reason to come after the Spanish-speaking audience. According to data from Nielsen Media Research studies, the number of Hispanic households with televisions grew three times more than other households and even those that primarily speak English at home watch up to three hours of Spanish-language TV.
LatinZine spoke to two representatives from major Latino non-profit organizations to see what they think about the future of Spanish-language television and the importance of bilingual election coverage.
Competition for the Hispanic market is good news for us, according to Rick Hernandez from the Hispanic Institute in Washington D.C. Latinos are a diverse population and we deserve diverse options for news coverage.
"We are not just one man. We're Cubanos, Chicanos, Californians, and New York Puerto Ricans. We have a wide spectrum of diversity and divergent opinions. We don't want just one source, but many sources of information. We want competition because we are not concerned only about a border fence in Texas or Arizona, we are also concerned about healthcare, social security, and education," says Hernandez.
Hernandez was a campaign manager for President Jimmy Carter in the 1980s and recalls a Time magazine cover declaring the 'decade of the Hispanics.' But what became of that decade?
"Nada. We had that cover story and then nothing happened. Now major media outlets on TV are interested In us and we have become much more visible and important to the media and the community at large. We are not just listening to one singular voice in Miami or Los Angelos or San Antonio," says Hernandez.
We also spoke with Angelo Falcón, President of the National Institute for Latino Policy, about what the moves of CNN en Español and Fox Mundo will mean for existing Spanish-language stations Univisión and Telemundo.
LatinZine:CNN domestic (English) has been struggling to keep its T.V. ratings up since Fox came along. What do you think will happen between CNN En Español and Mundo Fox through the presidential elections´s coverage this year in terms of gaining or losing viewership?
AF: It really depends on the nature of the coverage. CNN has already lost a lot of ground in general and Mundo Fox is totally new, so it is difficult to predict. I will assume that Fox will follow what it did with its Fox News Latino website and not follow the conservative Fox News political views in its Mundo Fox, but we will have to wait and see.
The main problem for both is whether they can make inroads in the Univision-Telemundo audiences and pull them away from the telenovelas. I assume they will push Univision and Telemundo into putting more resources into their news and public affairs programming. Remember, Univision and Telemundo are not going to sit idly by as Fox and CNN try to compete for their audiences.
LZ:What can Latinos expect in election coverage from both networks in terms of style and also in terms of how CNN is perceived by some as the liberal network and Fox as the conservative network?
AF: I imagine Fox will not bring its politically conservative Fox News views into Mundo Fox, but will go more mainstream as it does with its broadcast channel. Currently, Fox is the fourth most watched television network by Hispanics, which they can build on. But Univision and Telemundo are way ahead of them in this regard.
LZ:Is there room for both CNN En Español and Mundo Fox election coverage? How does the launch of Mundo Fox change the landscape of election coverages en espanol?
AF: This question assumes that the coverage will be ideologically different between the two and it is probable that it will not be. Remember, the bottom line for these media corporations is profits, not to make political points. The question is whether the Spanish-language market will respond to these additional news outlets. It is possible that it will be oversaturated with information it already receives from other established outlets and the Internet. This development is so new that it is difficult to predict what will happen, until after the fact that is.
Viviana is a multiplatform freelance journalist for various media outlets around the world. For over fifteen years, Viviana was a leading producer, anchor and reporter for CNN En Español. In the year 2008, Viviana was awarded with an Honorable Mention from the CNN Heroes Initiative for her efforts to better the life of people with Down Syndrome in Nepal. Her ten year old son is her inspiration to continue trying to make a difference for children with disabilities. Viviana practices yoga, loves hiking, animals and reading anything she can devour.