Monday, February 3, 2003

Indiana papers publish in Spanish

TV, radio broadcasters also catering to a fast-growing immigrant community

By Ryan Lenz
The Associated Press

As more Hispanic families continue to settle in Indiana, news organizations increasingly are trying to make them feel part of the community by giving them news they can use - in Spanish.

Some daily newspapers are publishing Spanish-language papers for their new Hispanic residents. The publications often are monthlies left on news racks free of charge in Hispanic areas of the city where the daily circulates.

In Indianapolis, a new Spanish-language television station was to debut today.

"They're a segment of our community. We should reach out to them," said Gary Suisman, publisher of the Journal and Courier in Lafayette.

The newspaper publishes Journal and Courier en Espanol, which provides stories from the daily translated into Spanish and news from the homeland. The Journal and Courier won a first-place community service award from the Hoosier State Press Association in 2001 for the publication.

The decision to print a Spanish-language newspaper came after the paper's diversity committee met with Hispanic and Latino groups in Tippecanoe County four years ago.

"Of course, the hope is over time, as they learn English, that they'll remember that we reached out to them," Suisman said.

The Hispanic population in the United States more than doubled during the 1990s, the 2000 census found. Many new arrivals settled in areas of the South and Midwest that previously attracted few Latinos.

Census estimates released last month show that the nation's Hispanic population rose 4.7 percent to about 37 million between April 2000 and July 2001, surpassing blacks as the nation's largest minority group.

In Indiana, the number of Spanish-speaking residents has more than doubled in the last decade, to 185,000, more than half of the state's total Hispanic population of about 215,000.

In the last decade, the state has seen more newspapers printed for Hispanic readers. Among them are La Prensa (The Press), produced by the Republic in Columbus, and La Comunidad (The Community), published by the Times in Frankfort.

Frankfort is in central Indiana's Clinton County, which has the state's second-highest percentage of Hispanics who speak Spanish at home. In addition to publishing La Comunidad, the Times translates stories into Spanish on the newspaper's Web page.

"I kind of put myself in their shoes. If I had to move to Mexico and I had to adapt to their society, boy, it would be pretty difficult," said Rick Welch, publisher of the Times.

Papers published in Spanish provide a twofold benefit, said Zenaida Loveless, director of Hispanic Community Service, a United Way agency in Frankfort that helps Hispanic immigrants with visas and state governmental concerns.

"If they didn't have the Spanish newspapers, they would not be able to know what's going on," Loveless said. "And it's brought the attention to the (Anglo) community what all this is about."

In Indianapolis, at least three Spanish-language papers cater to burgeoning Hispanic populations, including the weekly La Ola Latina-Americano, or "The Latin American Wave."

For Publisher Ildefonso Carbajal, who distributes La Ola in eight Indiana cities, running a paper was his "American Dream" when he came to the United States illegally nearly 20 years ago.

There were weeks and months when he didn't get paid as the paper struggled to find advertisers. But he made changes, and his distribution at restaurants, grocery stores, and community service centers has grown to about 5,000 copies.

"Being with the paper has taken me places, big time," Carbajal said. "And I never ever thought about that, about getting so far."

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