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La Opinión: King of the Hill

NCM Profile

NCM, Martin Espinosa Posted: Oct 21, 2003

Inside La Opinión’s offices in downtown Los Angeles, a group of young, eager Latinos carries pens and notebooks, headed for a meeting where they will discuss the operations of the country’s largest Spanish-language daily. La Opinión has a daily paid circulation of about 128,495. Once purchased, the paper reaches an estimated 498,055 readers, according to a 2002 Scarborough Research study.

La Opinión is by no means the only Spanish-language publication in the Los Angeles area, which is home to roughly 18 percent of the U.S. Latino population. However, no printed news source binds together all of L.A. Latinos like La Opinión. Ignacio Lozano—the grandfather of president and COO Monica Lozano—a Mexican immigrant who fled the Mexican Revolution, founded La Opinión in 1926.

La Opinión was started in Los Angeles on September 16, Mexico’s official “Independence Day,” under the slogan: “Diaria Popular Independiente” (a people’s independent daily). “He really believed that in order to report honestly on the issues of Mexico you had to be on this side of the border to do that freely,” Monica Lozano explains.

La Opinión is no longer simply a paper for the Mexican community. It is also a staunch defender of the larger Latino community, which includes immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and parts of South America.

“They’re people who have established roots,” says Lozano. “They really have become a part of the social fabric of the area. La Opinión has responded in terms of the content that we provide our readership.”

In the mid-1980s, La Opinión became an active participant in a movement to win amnesty for millions of undocumented immigrants. The newspaper’s coverage of that movement and the subsequent immigration laws was extensive, and the paper experienced dramatic growth between 1986 and 1990.

During the anti-immigration backlash of the mid-1990’s, La Opinión joined Southern California’s besieged Latinos in the political trenches. Using voter registration inserts and double-truck public service announcements, the newspaper became a critical player in the subsequent voter registration drive that is now credited with having radically transformed the political landscape of Los Angeles.

“As the change is taking place you’re listening to it, you’re watching it, you’re actually participating in it, and that’s the difference,” says Lozano, adding that some “might call that advocacy or crossing the line or getting involved—frankly we think it’s essential. We think our responsibility is to give you the tools that can help you be more informed, empowered.”

La Opinión is online at www.laopinion.com.

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