Hispanic Link Eyes Present and Future

By: Dave Astor

Hispanic Link News Service has been around since 1980, so many of its former interns are working at newspapers. But HL is still trying to make the demographics of journalism more closely resemble the demographics of the country.

Towards that end, HL’s foundation is bringing 100 high-school and junior-high students to a June 14 program being held in conjunction with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ (NAHJ) 20th annual convention in San Diego. One speaker welcoming the students will be Lalo Alcaraz, whose editorial cartoons are distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.

The day will include one-on-one lunches with news professionals, a session on internships and scholarships, and media-career workshops. HL and NAHJ co-founder Charlie Ericksen said the students will be exposed to the possibility of careers on both the editorial and noneditorial sides of newspapers.

About 40 to 50 papers subscribe to HL’s news service — down from more than 100 several years ago. One reason for the decrease is that HL, once virtually the only source for nationally distributed Hispanic content, now has plenty of competition from syndicates offering Hispanic features (E&P Online, April 29). Ericksen also said many papers want columnists with a “particular perspective,” whereas HL offers Hispanic voices from across the ideological spectrum.

“We go for balance,” said Ericksen. “There are 40 million Hispanics in the U.S. with 40 million perspectives. They have different opinions, and they all have validity.”

Three Columns a Week Offered

HL, which is marketed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, offers three columns a week by a rotating roster of approximately 40 writers a year. Included are Op-Ed, analysis, and cultural pieces.

About half the 40 to 50 clients running these pieces are English-language, and about half are Spanish-language. Together, more than 90% of these clients are based in the United States.

HL (http://www.hispaniclink.org) also offers a publication focusing on Hispanic issues and trends. The Hispanic Link Weekly Report recently noted that 13% of the United States population is Latino, but Latino journalists make up less than 4% of all newsroom employees at English-language dailies. Among the report’s 1,500 or so subscribers are journalists and government officials.

Ericksen, HL’s editor and publisher, co-founded the Washington-based news service 22 years ago with his wife Sebastiana Mendoza (who died in 1996) and son Hector Ericksen-Mendoza, executive director of the Hispanic Link Journalism Foundation.


Et cetera …

Jerry Scott, co-creator of “Zits” and “Baby Blues” for King Features Syndicate, won the Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year May 25 at the National Cartoonists Society meeting in Cancun, Mexico. The NCS also presented prizes in 13 other categories. Winners included “Pickles” creator Brian Crane of the Washington Post Writers Group (comic strip), “Bizarro” creator Dan Piraro of Universal Press Syndicate (comic panel), and Mike Luckovich of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Creators Syndicate (editorial cartoons). Also, Jerry Robinson received the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award for a career that includes being a cartoonist, founding the Cartoonists & Writers Syndicate, and authoring numerous books. And “The Family Circus” creator Bil Keane of King was awarded the Silver T-Square honor for service to the NCS. …

20th Century Fox acquired the rights to develop a movie based on “Garfield” by Jim Davis of Universal. If made, the live-action film would feature a computer-generated Garfield. …

Mona Charen of Creators received thousands of letters and e-mail messages after writing a column about her son Jonathan getting hit by a car. The 11-year-old was in a coma, but is now recovering. …

AccuWeather invested $1 million in new systems development and new design elements for the weather pages it provides 834 newspapers.

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