It’s not news that there is a disconnect between English- and Spanish-language news — and how that news reaches audiences — in the Roaring Fork Valley.
But now, eight news media organizations are seeking to bridge that gap, starting by learning more. Facilitated by the Colorado News Collaborative, or COLab, and bolstered by a $25,000 grant from the Colorado Media Project (a COLab partner), a professionally developed survey is now live, until Sept. 2. The goal is to garner as many responses as possible, from as random, representative of a sample as possible in order to hear directly from the Spanish-speaking Latinx community about what news coverage is most important — and currently missing — from the media landscape and how best to deliver it.
Silvia Solis, COLab community engagement director, has spearheaded the strategic partnership, which includes the Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, Aspen Public Radio, The Aspen Times, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, KDNK Community Radio, KPVW La Tricolor 107.1 and The Sopris Sun.
“The Colorado News Collaborative, or COLab, is helping to guide this partnership and engage community organizations and residents to find out what kind of news and information is needed, where and how,” Solis said in a statement.
“As part of this work, the eight news media partners and COLab are launching an online survey to collect feedback from English and Spanish-speaking Latinx community members across the valley,” she continued. “We want to hear from Latino, Hispanic and Chicano voices residing in the Roaring Fork Valley to better understand their news and information needs and find ways to address gaps and concerns.”
In the Roaring Fork Valley — comprising Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale, to Glenwood Springs, New Castle and Silt — roughly 20% of people identify at Latino or Hispanic, and in Garfield and Eagle Counties, than number is 30%, with Latino-majority student populations in the Roaring Fork School District.
Zabdi Fuentes, whose resumé includes Bridges High School and Stepping Stones, both in Carbondale, as well as a board member for Great Expectations in Glenwood Springs, is among them. She’s joined the media collaboration, helping coordinate outreach efforts.
“Growing up in this valley with non-English speaking parents caused a lot of stress for me and my siblings trying to translate and interpret everything for them,” Fuentes said. “Many times I personally didn’t understand the information and wished someone cared enough to translate it all accurately for my parents.”
Samuel Bernal, of La Tricolor and who sits on the editorial board of Aspen Daily News and collaborates with Aspen Public Radio on its Spanish broadcasts, was optimistic about the outreach and survey endeavor.
“(This) says to me that we are lucky to have journalists that share the passion and the mission of informing our communities as best as possible,” Bernal said. Funders and newsrooms share the dream of responding to communities’ needs and desire for local news, he said, “because at the end of the day, a better-informed community is a community with more resources and prosperity.”
Fuentes echoed the sentiment.
“I believe that this survey shows that the news outlets in our valley are committed to equity and access by working towards making changes that will better serve the Latinx and Spanish-speaking community,” she said. “It is important for my community to complete this survey because it is one of the methods to make sure our voices and opinions are heard and valued.”
Survey collection begins this week, and the Colorado Media Project plans to have the data analyzed and ready to disseminate by Sept. 15.