The New York Times En Español closes its doors
What does this mean for the future of Hispanic media?
After a hectic summer, the New York Times has announced that its platform in Spanish - a branch of the legacy news company focused on the Spanish-speaking community that ran more than 10 original stories per day - will cease to function after just three years.
According to the organization’s statement, "while the Español site did attract a new audience for our journalism and consistently produced coverage we are very proud of, it did not prove financially successful."
For Paulina Chavira, the editor of the platform who communicated the news through her Twitter profile, the NYT's deed in Spanish included “more than 900 opinion pieces” and wide coverage of the reality in Latin America. Yet, the revenue strategy fell short.
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.
— Paulina Chavira (@apchavira) September 17, 2019
"I still believe that writing in Spanish is always a good business," she added. "And time will tell."
The NYT has been one of the platforms engaged in the transformation of journalism in the United States, due to its historical trajectory but also thanks to its adoption of the subscription system and innovative approach in marketing strategies that are what have allowed the survival of media organizations that once depended exclusively on the traditional print model.
Automation, in particular, has been the cause of major failures in the industry, as well as the poor adaptation to digital speed - see the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed layoffs at the beginning of the year.
And this could be the territory that the Times ventures into.
"They tell us in New York that there will occasionally be articles in Spanish on their site and, perhaps, through the newsletter (El Times)," Chavira explained. "We don't know who - or what technology - will do these translations."
Although the organization has assured that this closure "will not affect [their] coverage of Latin America," it does imply another voice "en Español" that goes out.
In a country where Hispanics have become the largest minority - with a population of around 57 million - and that has gone from being an immigrant market to becoming an “ethnic market,” as described by the Cervantes Institute, the lack of media addressed to this population is nothing less than worrying.
It’s urgent to offer our community a window to the realities in Latin America, as well as a closer perspective on the day-to-day life in the United States - a not-so-simple agenda in the Trump era