An illustration of a janitor with the face of a New York Times newspaper sweeping away a journalist representing Latinx nations. Captioned "Una nota por nuetras lectores"
illustration/Jayme Sileo With the ending of the New York Times’ Spanish section it feels like Latinx journalism is starting to be swept away.

The New York Times made the saddening decision to cut their Spanish-Language content as of September 17. Not only does this decision affect those who use to work on staff, but it ultimately affects the Latinx community.  

Paulina Chavira, a former writer of the section, took to Twitter and announced the news in Spanish to the community. 

“Con mucha tristeza y pesar les informamos que hoy cierra operaciones @nytimeses. Para NY es una decisión «corporativa», pero para nosotros (@albinsonl,@borismunoz,@ebudasoff,@marina_ef,@MJVega,@patynietog,@Nat_Guti,@eldacantu) fue un proyecto al que le pusimos todo el corazón. ”

Translated 

[ With a lot of sadness and sorrow we inform you that today operations will close at the @nytimeses. For NY it is a “corporate” decision, but for us (@albinsonl,@borismunoz,@ebudasoff,@marina ef,@MJVega,-patynietog,@Nat Guti,@eldacantu) it was a project that we put our whole heart into]

The section had produced over 900 articles for news and opinion entirely in Spanish since the start of the operation in January 2016. That’s an average of 10 articles per day. 

Despite work that was spearheaded by eight professionals to bridge a gap in cultural and linguistic translations, one of the most revered news organizations has just decided to disservice the 1.9 million Spanish speaking community members in New York and the 41 million US residents that speak Spanish. 

The NYT issued a statement saying despite the high caliber work produced and how proud they were of the efforts, the entire operation was not financially successful.

Although the NYT has to worry about monetary aspects there is a need to prioritize their audience. 

It’s the first thing we learn in journalism school. We are taught to understand our audiences and cater objective, good quality work for them. Clearly the NYT has forgotten that principle in journalism.  

If the news is not able to reach an audience that has grown rapidly and will continue to grow there is a clear understanding that the NYT is not prioritizing a push for language equality in news.   

According to the Pew Research Center, the Latinx population grew by 1.2 million people in 2018. Additionally, a report by GlobalWebIndex stated nearly 60 percent of Hispanics are speaking Spanish first or bilingual at home. The study further showed two-thirds of Hispanics are accessing media in Spanish first.  

Already, there is a lack of Spanish media outlets in all formats in the country. The NYT has fed into that reality and set a bad example for news outlets in the nation. 

When there is a huge disconnect from an audience the only thing that can happen is a lack of understanding from either side, creating a gap in the understanding of issues and concerns one or both of the communities have. There is no cultural enrichment.

The NYT has lost an asset that would have fed into expanding what it means to be a news organization and swept out an opportunity to encourage and lead media outlets in expanding their coverage. 

Andrew Mendez can be reached at andrewmendez@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @AMendez2000