How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The promise of the English-speaking Latino audience

Photo by Jerry Bunkers/Flickr (Creative Commons)

English-language content directed at Latinos is on the rise, especially as media companies go digital.

The official announcement yesterday that the Disney-owned ABC News has teamed with Univision to launch a 24-hour cable news channel for English-speaking Latinos next year is just the latest in a series of similar announcements from media companies.

In the past two years, we've seen English-language ventures aimed at a Latino audience that include Fox News LatinoHuffPost Latino Voices and Patch Latino.

There has also been the more recent launch of Voxxi, a English-language website for “acculturated Latinos” headed by a former editor from Spain’s EFE news agency, and a new bilingual YouTube content network, MiTu. And while we're on ventures with creative names, let's not forget mun2, the Telemundo-affiliated cable network for young Latinos with content in English and Spanish.

Not long ago, most content directed at Latinos, on air and in print, was in Spanish. Why the language shift, especially as media companies focus more on digital content? Back in February, when news of the Disney-Univision partnership first came to light, I posted a Q&A with Giovanni Rodriguez, a social-technology and marketing expert with Deloitte Consulting who studies and writes about the Latino media market. Here's a bit of what Rodriguez had to say about the power of content en inglés, and why marketers and media execs seem to be discovering it now:

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Skeptical reaction to Obama's second-term immigration reform promise

One impressive thing about President Obama's recent pledge that he'd try to get comprehensive immigration reform passed in his second term if reelected, made during a televised interview with the Spanish-language Univision network, is the seemingly bipartisan nature of the unhappy reactions that skeptics have been posting online.

During a network interview Friday, Obama said: "I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term. I want to try this year. The challenge we’ve got on immigration reform is very simple. I’ve got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it."

A good intention perhaps, but much of the online reaction since has tended to bring up where the road paved with good intentions leads to. During Obama's first term, immigration reform efforts like the Dream Act have failed while enforcement-based policies like the controversial Secure Communities fingerprint-sharing program have stuck, contributing to record deportations.

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Encore: 'The New American Reality' (Video)

I've been attending the Latinos in Social Media (#LATISM) conference in Chicago, where during a panel this morning, I saw once more the moving Univision video titled "The New American Reality." I posted the video several months ago, after first seeing it during the National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in Orlando.

It's just as good now as it was then, with simple lines and graphics that not only bring to life the census data on the growing Latino population in the U.S., but which describe the dual identity lived by children of immigrants a way that is spot-on. So here's an encore.

One of my favorite lines: "I live at the intersection of my two cultures. I take from each what I choose."

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'The New American Reality' (Video)

One of the visual highlights today at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in Orlando, Florida was a video produced by Univision, shown during a lunchtime panel on Spanish-language media and intended to drive home its importance as a way of reaching the vast and growing Latino market.

But the video's simple lines describing life lived between two cultures spoke to many in the room, who soon began tweeting about it, in a personal way.

A few of the lines that resonated:

I live at the intersection of my two cultures. I take from each what I choose.

I move easily between two worlds because I speak Spanish and I speak English. Y a veces I speak both.

My duality is my reality.


Substitute the Spanish for Korean, Vietnamese, Farsi, Armenian or any other first language retained by the American children of immigrants, and the lines apply universally.

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