Brave New Blog

by José Simián

headshot jmsBY JOSÉ MANUEL SIMIÁN

A few things have happened since this blog was interrupted last September:

Yes, of course, Barack Obama was elected president, and the Age of Hope started in the middle of an economic landscape so bleak that the days when we cared about things such as the geographical lacunae of Sarah Palin or McCain’s computer illiteracy seem like a frivolous joke — a thing of the Bush years.

And, yes, as you know the press has entered a downward spiral, out of which it will emerge as something that no one —not even those who are thinking hard about it— can figure out. A death blow was given to two newspapers that were dear to this blog: The New York Sun and Hoy. The former, because it always gave us an excuse to start a fight; the latter, in part because it was one of two newspapers published in Spanish in New York City, but mostly because, as time went by, it became a study in the disintegration of a daily. (In yet another sign of the times, the non-existent outlet still claims to live online, under the shadow of the lazy monopoly of El Diario.)

Only two really positive things have happened for the Spanish press in the past six months. Surprisingly, Hispanic media seems to have grown in stature despite dramatic shrinking in actual output.  This phenomena might have been propelled by the economic crisis, the political savviness of Barack Obama (who is still in campaign mode when speaking to Latino outlets), or even Mayor Bloomberg’s insistence on interrupting his pressers to practice his fumbling Spanish.   (The notion of “Ethnic press” seems to have been more present in the first few months of 2009 than ever before.) Second, El Diario scored big by leading the outrage of minorities against the policies of appointed State Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand. When the legislator finally hinted at changing her position on immigration (among other things), the Spanish press suddenly seemed to regain muscle lost long ago to show business and easy pandering.

So here we are, in the middle of the most unpredictable time our generation has ever experienced; still in New York, still trying to explain the world from the perspective of Latino immigrants. Call this a Latino blog, Ethnic Press, or whatever you come up with, but we feel that the message and the need to get it across are more urgent than ever. Our Spanish is alive and well, but in order to reach the real America —multicultural, multilingual— from now on we will be writing in English.

The game certainly has changed.

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