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Rain or Shine, El Tiempo Latino is There

New America Media, Media Profile, Radina Gigova Posted: May 01, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Miguel Guilarte never thought that running the D.C. Marathon would make him the Sports Editor of the Spanish newspaper El Tiempo Latino (Latino Times.)

Looking through the window of his seventhfloor office at the papers headquarters in Arlington, Va., Guilarte remembers the first day when he opened the door of the newsroom. He was applying for a job as an accountant at the Sales Department.

Gularte came to the United States eight years ago from Caracas, Venezuela to study English. He was an accounting manager for the Transportation Authority in Caracas. When he met with the editor-in-chief at the job interview, Guilarte accidentally mentioned that he was a little tired because the previous day he had ran the marathon. The editor then asked him if he wanted to be a sports reporter.

I guess they needed more a sports reporter than an accountant, Guilarte said.

Even before he began working at the paper, Guilarte cared about the issues that concern the Hispanic community, like immigration and employment. Guilarte didnt have any journalism experience but knew that the people from the community see the pages of the paper as a forum for their sorrow and joy. He decided to accept the offer.

As a reporter Guilarte started going to basketball and baseball games, to boxing matches; he watched different soccer teams practicing and attended charity events. Often when the paper was short-staffed, he had to write the entire sports section.

Sometimes I was coming home after one oclock in the morning but I loved it, Guilarte said.

Over the years, Guilarte has won many awards for excellence in journalism, including the Jose Marti Spanish Media Award for outstanding newspaper section, given by the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP). He said the paper as a whole has been among the top three Spanish papers in the D.C. area at least for the last five years, according to NAHP ratings.

Guilarte said El Tiempo Latinos mission goes beyond delivering just useful information. We are not only making a paper, we try to help the community. And weve never stopped, for more than 15 years. No matter if its snowing or icing, we are out there.

Guilarte said people from the Hispanic community not only read the paper, but trust it as well. He said if people are in a difficult situation and dont have the resources to seek justice, they often come to the paper to share their struggles. He pointed as an example the cover story of the March 14 issue. A man from Mexico went to Capitol Hill to ask for permission for his deported wife to return to Washington. He wasnt successful.

Sometimes people dont care but we do, because he is Latino, Guilarte said.

El Tiempo Latino covers the D.C. Metropolitan area, Richmond and Baltimore. Its circulation is 55,000. The paper has news, sports, arts, real-estate and classified ads sections. One of the issues that the paper covers extensively is immigration.

El Tiempo has also a well developed website. The staff consists of 20 people from different Spanish-speaking countries: Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru, El Salvador, Spain, Colombia, Mexico and Bolivia.
The paper is a publication of The Washington Post Company. When four years ago The Post Company wanted to buy a paper appealing to the Latino community, it conducted a survey to find out which paper the Hispanic population trusted the most. It was El Tiempo.

Although the paper gets support from The Washington Post Company, El Tiempo Latino generates big portion of its revenue from advertising. But often, as part of its service to the community, the paper lets nonprofit organizations to advertise for free.

profile Design Director Carlos Alburqueque, originally from Peru, said the paper was constantly working to improve its content and design to be more appealing to the Hispanic audience.

We are always trying to work with the public and with the clients. We try to work with fresh hands. We are always updating our content, design and the technology that we use, Alburqueque said.

You can find everything you need in this newspaper, said Francesca Ferro from the Dominican Republic, who works as a hair stylist in Virginia. It explains to the Hispanic people whats going on in the world, especially to those who dont speak English and dont understand what is good and bad for them.

* The mission of the paper is stated in the lyrics of this song (download MP3). You can hear it on the website at eltiempolatino.com.

Latino Times
Music and Lyrics by Verny Varela

(English Translation)
I am the power, the resistance and the happiness
That the people experience.
Those who are searching will find this message of hope;
"Yes you can, don't give up!"

I am the city - a mix of colors, cultures, flavors and a thousand slangs.
I am the one who talks to you and informs you in what you are interested.
Listen, I am your friend, I am "El Tiempo Latino."

El Tiempo Latino Cancion
Letra y Musica de Verny Varela

(Spanish Version)
Yo soy la fuerza y la persistencia, y la alegria,
La que la gente presenta.
El que busca y encuentra, este mensaje de esperanza:
"Qhe si, se peuede, qhe no rendirse".

Yo soy el pueblo, mezcla de colores, culturas, sabores, de mil menciones.
El que te dice y te informa en lo que te interesa.
Oye, yo soy tu amigo, soy "El Tiempo Latino."

NAM contributor Radina Gigova attends American University in Washington, D.C.

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