Monday, May 16, 2022

Where news websites are sexy, trendy, and viral there is room for HispanicLA

In a world where most successful websites these days are sexy, trendy, clicky and viral, there is room for HispanicLA. Where journalism is dying, where the printed word is dying, where the truth is dying, we must make room for HispanicLA.

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HispanicLA started in 2008 as a personal project. It was an individual effort to create a space to express ideas, concerns and emotions as well as represent the arts and explore the lives of people like me in Los Angeles.

As a citizen, I was interested in politics. Being a journalist, I looked at the lives of immigrants and at the entire Latino community. As a poet, I published poetry, short stories, literary criticism, book reviews. And as a curious person I learned to navigate the internet, and terms such as SEO.

For this is what Hispanic LA was: a personal window, opening both ways, to the world. With no specific plans or definitions.

Then, some people, either friends, acquaintances from work or readers, would read it and say: “Hey Gabriel, can I write too?” Or, “Hey Gabriel, how can I contribute?”

With the careful incorporation of new writers, Hispanic LA turned into a collective. It had a very peculiar challenge: to develop a live politics and culture website in Spanish, in the English-speaking United States. This was and is our characteristic. It means basically that your audience is limited. That you acknowledge being in a minority. That you know that each of your stories will be read by far less than if the site was in English.

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In 2011 I had to stop working on HispanicLA for a few years for personal work requirements. When I came back to it in 2015 I made changes intended to turn HispanicLA into a meaningful presence in the Latino community. To convert it into an space open to various progressive points of view, with no censorship. All that was done in order to understand, and promote who we are as Latinos and to be able to be serious critics of our surroundings.

What were those changes? Number one, to turn HispanicLA into a real political voice. Number two, to turn it into a professional site. And number three, to expand our participant base.

And so, the site grew slowly but steadily.

This should be a website where visitors come back, not because I struggled to produce another bombastic story, but because they knew the name of the site. It should be a place where every story is conceived not as bait but as a contribution to society.

More than 300 writers have published in HispanicLA so far. Many of them still do. They define what the site is, with every post. They are HispanicLA.

And so HispanicLA a forum of debate of progressive Latinos who want to better our society.

For that it became necessary to incorporate a new force, someone with similar thinking. HispanicLA is now alive and exists outside the web. It expands through events, organized by my friend, and now partner and co-editor of HispanicLA, Nestor Fantini. We even endorsed for the first time a candidate for this presidential election. This is how we participate in the life of the community, honoring those who contribute their art and opinions to our society.

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For in a world where most successful websites these days are sexy, trendy, clicky and viral, there is room for HispanicLA.

And where there is almost no place for good writing, or for good journalism, and not much art or literature, or progressive political discourse and dialogue in Spanish, there is room for HispanicLA.

Where journalism is dying, where the printed word is dying, where the truth is dying, we must make room for HispanicLA.

And so I recommend going to HispanicLA.com, clicking on the stories, and reading, reading, reading. Enjoy.

This short speech was delivered at a tribute event for Actor Marcelo Tubert on 02/28/2020, at the Antaeus Theater in Glendale, California.

 

Founder and co-editor of Latino Los Angeles. Editor Emeritus of La Opinion, former Editor-in-Chief. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a journalist, columnist, blogger, poet, novelist, and short story writer. Was the editorial director of Huffington Post Voces. Editor-in-chief of the weekly Tiempo in Israel. Is the father of three grown children and lives with Celia and with Rosie, Almendra and Yinyit in Los Angeles.

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