GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — El Vocero Hispano was established nearly three decades ago and has been serving the Spanish-speaking community in West Michigan continuously ever since.
Andres Abreu, the founder and owner of the newspaper, moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic where he worked as a television and print journalist.
“The first edition was running in February 1993,” Abreu said. “In a couple years the paper (became) the media for the Hispanic community.”
The paper is the largest Spanish-speaking newspaper in the area.
Abreu said the paper has survived a shrinking industry by adapting and investing in new technology. El Vocero Hispano launched its website in 1999. It later expanded to social media, added an app for your phone, and now has a studio that produces videos and brings in guests for live interviews.
Gabriella Hill handles marketing and said she is grateful for the continued support of their readers which keeps the newspaper operating. The circulation is around 5,000 copies per week on average for the printed edition.
“The Hispanic community. It’s really big in West Michigan,” Hill said.
Edith Reyes, the executive director, who works in many roles, including as a reporter, said the paper is able to highlight stories other news organizations will miss.
“When there’s news stories that involve the Hispanic community, I feel like it’s easier for us to talk to the community,” Reyes said.
The paper covers beyond the Spanish-speaking community to keep readers informed about events happening locally and around the world.
“We don’t just focus with the Hispanic community we kind of try teaching them about other communities like the African American, the LGBTQ community so we try including a little bit of that too for them and maybe it’s something that they’re not used to or they’re not aware of,” Reyes said.
Reyes and the team of journalists at the paper say the many hours of work are worth knowing they are providing a crucial service.
“I’m part of history, I kind of feel like, just because I’m helping the community stay up-to-date and know what’s going on in the community,” Reyes said.