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Hispanic Heritage Month: Spanish Language Media Gaining Ground

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The large population of Hispanics in New York and the U.S. has helped fuel the growth of new forces in the media. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.

Eleven years ago, Roberto Ramirez co-founded "The Manhattan Times," a Spanish-English weekly newspaper serving the heavily Hispanic populated neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood. Just last year, he and his staff launched another bilingual weekly, "The Bronx Free Press." It covers a borough that's now more than 50 percent Hispanic.

"We established these newspapers because we knew, that if you wrote about a community in a way that highlighted the contributions, if you spoke about people and chronicled their lives, if you did it in a way that was relevant because of the issues of the day, we could fill a gap," Ramirez said.

At a time when mainstream media is downsizing, a recent Pew Research Center study found, overall, Hispanic media in the U.S. is doing better.

The number of Spanish language newspapers in the US was about the same in 2010 as it was in 2009 -- 835 compared to 832, respectively.

Hispanic magazines saw a more than eight percent increase in revenue in 2010 compared to 2009, up from $357 million to $387 million.

The number of Spanish language Radio stations grew from 1,224 in 2008 to 1,323 in 2009, an eight percent increase.

Hispanic television is also on the rise.

Univision, the fifth largest network in primetime, is planning to launch three new channels, including a 24 hour news channel next year.

"Even though 40 percent of Latinos are speak in Spanish and 50 percents are actually born in the U.S. and they speak in English, but Spanish is still an alternative for them. Some Latinos prefer sometime to watch Spanish language news because they are all about Latino issues," said NYU Professor Juan Pinon.

Online, the Huffington Post recently launched the English language "HuffPost Latino Voices".

"When you look at where Hispanics are you see it's the English speaking, the bi-cultural and the English dominants that are really growing faster than those coming into the country. When you then realize there are few places of scale that are really addressing what that segment of the hispanic audience wants then that is another piece of the opportunity," said HuffPost Latino Voices Managing Editor Miguel Ferrer.

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