Home Opinion Editorial Spanish-language page is right fit for Roswell

Spanish-language page is right fit for Roswell

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Like so many other businesses in New Mexico and the American Southwest, the Roswell Daily Record has to be bilingual to communicate with customers.
Local residents who speak only Spanish often come to our office to conduct business, such as buying a heartfelt obituary for a family member or an affordable yard sale classified ad. For us to serve the whole community, we need a Spanish speaker in our office at all times to ensure we can communicate with customers.
Why Spanish as opposed to French or Russian? If we had a sizable French or Russian speaking population, we and other businesses would flock to hire French and Russian speakers to meet our customers’ needs.
Last week, we launched a new Spanish-language page called Las Noticias en Español, a recap of our top local news, features and sports stories from prior days. We feel it’s a good business endeavor and a nice tip of the hat to our residents of Spanish descent. With about 2,000 Roswell Daily Record newspapers distributed to local schools every school day as part of our Newspapers In Education program, the Spanish-language page is also a learning tool that can be incorporated into classrooms.
Ultimately, its success will hinge on our readers and advertisers. Time will tell, and we remain very optimistic. We serve you. It’s an idea we can embrace or reject, and we’re banking on its success.
Some readers called our office last week and expressed opposition to the Spanish-language page. We want to hear them out, not argue. We hope it can become common ground, not something divisive. Our plan is to publish one page out of 16 in Spanish every other Tuesday. The math works out to about one page in Spanish for every 208 pages in English, not counting the Vision magazine, special sections, tabloids and advertising inserts. One page out of more than 200 is nothing to be threatened about.
A sage former RDR employee said it well online recently. He said he doesn’t read the sports pages, but also doesn’t mind that we have them.
Congressman Steve Pearce met with us here at the Daily Record Tuesday when the Spanish-language page was introduced. When told about the page, Pearce said: “Good, good for you.” Our Republican representative in the U.S. House immediately embraced the concept, and his assistant agreed to distribute a bundle of 100 copies in Hobbs.
Just as we need Spanish speakers to communicate with customers, we need Spanish-language stories to serve Spanish readers. There should be no politics injected into this. Business is business, and we’re a business.
New Mexico is the only state in the union with a bilingual state Constitution. Many governmental state entities publish their legal ads in both Spanish and English. Who’s opposed to that? Certainly not us.
Se habla Español is a common storefront sign in the Southwest, so common that even many English-only speakers know what it means.
A Spanish-language page is not an effort for a multicultural Kumbaya moment in Roswell. It’s a business decision, which we hope will create a little Kumbaya as a side effect.
Let’s come together on this as a community, not be driven apart.