In the year of its 25th anniversary, La Comunidad News — Madison’s leading Spanish-language newspaper — iscontinuing to promote community involvement and political engagement for Spanish speaking Madisonians.
Publisher Dante Viscarra said the quarter century accomplishment is a major milestone for their team and a big step for the community.
“As an organization, we are very blessed to have survived that many years,” Viscarra said. “It feels good to move forward with the changes of the times, the demographics and the viewers and readership.”
Viscarra’s father, Rafael Viscarra, started La Comunidad in 1989 with a small typewriter, and has since become one of the most widely read publications by Latinos in Wisconsin. The paper offers articles in both Spanish and English largely focusing on local stories about community events, sports, the justice system and political issues.
Viscarra said one of the political events he was most proud of covering was the “Dia Sin Latinos,” or “Day Without Latinos” protest.
La Comunidad joined a coalition of organizations in February to organize a march of nearly 40,000 people to the Wisconsin State Capitol opposing anti-immigration legislation. “Dia Sin Latinos” was an attempt to show the role of immigrants in the community.
[Updated]: Thousands gather at Capitol for ‘Day Without Latinos’ protestThousands from all over Wisconsin gathered at the Capitol Thursday to protest two bills they believe would make life difficult Read…
Viscarra said seeing young people engage in the event and approach legislators was a validating moment for the publication as a conduit for political information.
In the 2016 presidential election, Viscarra said one candidate has singled out the Hispanic community in a “very stereotypical way” while overlooking their work in dairy, hospitality and other industries. Their coverage attempts to push past these stereotypes.
“The paper has been able to articulate clearly an opinion of who we are and what we are not,” Viscarra said. “We’re not criminals. We’re not rapists. We’re part of this community.”
New initiative showcases diversity, richness of Latino cultureThe Latino Professionals Association of the greater Madison area is showcasing their “Yo Soy” initiative this September to highlight the Read…
Hispanic people constituted 17.6 percent of the U.S. population in 2015, with approximately 55.6 million inhabitants, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This makes them the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanic people made up more than six percent of the Dane County population in 2015 and almost seven percent of the Madison population in 2010.
University of Wisconsin journalism professor Mike Wagner said it is important to have information sources available in people’s first languages because it helps them feel connected to their new community and meet those who share their interests.
“If a news source is in your own language, it becomes easier to engage politically because it’s easier to be able to interpret the information you’re getting about the issues in your community,” Wagner said.
Viscarra agreed that as the media, they are obligated to provide Madison’s Spanish-speaking community members educational information and news that directly impacts their lives.
Because Madison has a population of early arrivals from other countries for whom language can be a barrier, Viscarra said it is important to provide a medium to help them integrate into a cultural identity.
‘Cuéntame Más’ leaves more to be said, done for Dane County LatinosUnidad a través de la comunidad — unity through the community. In an effort to reduce the socioeconomic disparities in Dane County’s Read…
The paper has faced the same challenges as many other news organizations in having to learn how to best utilize online and social media over time. Viscarra said this milestone anniversary has shown how La Comunidad has adapted to new technology while also weathering the 2009 recession.
Viscarra said one of the biggest challenges for the paper has shifted from making Latinos more visible to articulating the goals and tribulations of a diverse group of people.
“We still have a lot of work to do because we have a responsibility to empower many other members of our community,” Viscarra said. “There’s a lot of issues that we need to address.”