Suburban Chicago ‘Reflejos’ Folds Separate NIE-Style Bilingual Paper

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Reflejos, the mostly Spanish-language weekly targeted to Hispanics in suburban Chicago, has folded the separate fully bilingual paper it distributed to schools and community centers as an “educational journal,” the paper’s president, Jerry Campagna, confirmed Wednesday.

Content from the education edition, which was also called Reflejos, has been shifted to a fully bilingual English/Spanish section inside Reflejos. The free tabloid is published by Paddock Publications’ Daily Herald, based in Arlington Hts., Ill.

Campagna said the overall distribution of Reflejos of 100,000 will remain the same, and that the approximately 14,000 copies of the educational journal will be replaced by more widely distributed edition.

“We felt that there would be less duplication, and that we could offer more content if we could meld them, while still giving the 50/50 (English/Spanish) content that education people were looking for,” he told E&P.

Dropping the education edition is one of several content and design changes being rolled out at Reflejos.

When the paper was redesigned by Mario Garcia in the fall of 2004, its content was changed from fully bilingual, with every story published completely in Spanish and in English, to a Spanish-heavy mix in which Spanish-language stories were accompanied by very short English-language summaries.

In recent weeks, the paper has begun implementing a new format whose elements were reported earlier this year by E&P.

English-language summaries are now longer, and placed in standard positions on the page. In the four-column pages, the first three columns are reserved for Spanish, with the fourth column containing an English-language summary that runs three-quarters of the column.

In the education section all stories are published completely in both languages.

With a single edition, the paper is not preparing different content for two purposes, Campagna said.

“Someone might have been interviewed for the education journal, but when they would look for the [wide-distribution] paper, they wouldn’t see the story,” Campagna said. “At the same time, there were some great community stories that were not getting into the bilingual paper.”

As part of the transition to one edition, Reflejos is developing a teaching guide for using the newspaper in teaching a second language, Campagna said. “We were always a little different from NIE (newspaper in education), which is about getting people to use the print product. Certainly, for us it’s about using the print product but it’s also how to encourage students to learn a second language.”

Campagna, who makes the rounds of schools to talk about using Reflejos in the classroom, said teachers have told him that students await the tabloid eagerly each week — specifically to work on the paper’s bilingual crossword puzzle, in which the clues are in Spanish and the answers in English.

“When you talk about a high school kid saying, ‘Where’s the paper so I can do the crossword puzzle?'” Campagna says. “It makes my soul sing.”

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