Spanish news segments from Redwood News provide optimism for more local Spanish content

Redwood News Anchor Brenda Rodriguez, and Reporter Hector Mendoza have teamed up to provide Spanish news for Humboldt County. Spanish news segments come out Tuesday nights, and Spanish news articles come out once a week. The broadcasts are available on Redwood News’ Facebook page and the articles are on their official website. 

On top of their regular journalistic duties at Redwood News, Rodriguez and Mendoza have taken it upon themselves to provide more Spanish news to Humboldt county’s Spanish speaking population.

Screenshot from one of Brenda Rodriguez’s broadcasts posted to Facebook. |Captured by Lupita Rivera

“There’s not a lot of Spanish speaking people around here, it just seems like a lot of English content,” Mendoza said. “I already had Spanish content, [Rodriguez] was already an anchor, I’m a reporter, and we kind of just teamed up on it, and it felt like it was something that was super needed.”

Mendoza has been writing Spanish news articles since December of 2020. Even with these articles, Humboldt County has lacked Spanish resources and news. This is something that has been made evident during emergencies in Humboldt County, most prevalent during the course of the pandemic.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Latinx community makes up 12% of the Humboldt County population but as of publication date, they are approximately 40% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Rodriguez notes this as the catalyst for their Spanish coverage at Redwood News. 

“I remember seeing an email when I first started from this from a lady in the community, she was like, ‘I kind of wish that we had this in Spanish, I want to know what’s going on in terms of COVID’, especially in COVID is what she mentioned but she’s like ‘I want to know more, I want to be more informed’,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez says it’s this support from the Spanish speaking community that helps put into perspective just how cardinal local Spanish news is. 

Beyond COVID-19 coverage, Rodriguez and Mendoza recognize a necessity to provide content for the Spanish speaking community in Humboldt County. They both note how the lack of Spanish news can feed into feelings of estrangement. 

“As a member of the community I want to know, I want to understand what is happening around me, how we can help one another,” Rodriguez said. “I want to see more of that diversity in local media, I want to see my community represented in that.”

Despite its current successes, the Spanish Redwood News content is still an evolving project. For now, short news segments are available on the Redwood News Facebook page, new segments come out Tuesday nights. Spanish news articles can be found on the Redwood News web page under the “Home” drop down menu.

Rodriguez and Mendoza said this project would start slow, but Mendoza hopes it can turn into something more. 

“We wanted to start with a few minutes on Facebook, then maybe increase the time, whether it be instead of three minutes go to six or seven minutes, make it something a little longer, and then have it evolve into maybe a segment on the newscast,” Mendoza said. “And then eventually, it’ll take a little bit of time, but to have a full 30 minute newscast in Spanish to include weather, sports and that’s kind of where we want to go with it.”

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