RiverheadLOCAL has gone bilingual.
We’ve launched a Spanish-language version of our local news website in an effort to better serve the entire community.
We recognize the growth in the Spanish-speaking population in our area and therefore a growing portion of our audience. We recognize that many people who are learning a new language learn to understand and speak the new language long before they can read it well. (I clearly remember my grandfather, a Sicilian immigrant, reading the Italian-language newspaper “Il Progresso” for that very reason.) Presenting news in the native language of a large percentage of the local population seemed logical — especially since there are no truly local news organizations to serve Spanish-speaking residents in their native language.
Publishing our content in Spanish also better serves the local businesses and organizations that advertise with us. Many of these businesses are already advertising in Spanish-language newspapers that cover all of Long Island. They need a way to reach a targeted local audience.
A goal just as important to us, though more abstract, is to help build bridges in our community. Our Spanish-speaking neighbors share the concerns of the rest of the community: concerns about our schools, our property taxes, about crime and public safety and traffic. They’re interested in news about community events and school sports — all the kinds of news only a truly local publication provides.
Bridges mean better understanding. And better understanding means better relations. It brings the unity and harmony that comes from knowing we’re all in this together, that regardless of national origin or native tongue, we are more alike than we are different.
Earlier this year, we hired reporter Maria Piedrabuena of Manorville to spearhead this endeavor. Maria, a native of Barcelona, Spain, immigrated to the U.S. in the early 2000s. She graduated summa cum laude from Suffolk County Community College and magna cum laude from Stony Brook University with degrees in Liberal Arts, Women and Gender Studies and Journalism, with concentrations in online and broadcast journalism.
Maria, who is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Catalan, oversees the translation of our content from English to Spanish by a translator we’ve hired. While there are computer-generated translation options for our audience to choose from, these programs often do a sub-par job. We wanted to make sure the translated content consistently and accurately reflects what we’ve written.
We had a “soft launch” and began posting translated content to the new site Oct. 1. We’ve gotten lots of positive feedback. All of us at RiverheadLOCAL are proud of what we’ve accomplished and we look forward to continuing to provide truly local news for the whole community.
Welcome, RiverheadLOCAL en Español.