Serving a broader audience through “KUT En Español”
Did you know our newsroom is publishing Spanish versions of KUT News and “Texas Standard” stories that heavily impact our local Latino community?
Our newsroom is reporting and professionally translating into Spanish key stories about the pandemic and its economic effect – as well as stories about education, housing, transportation, voting rights and immigration – to provide critical news and information for the roughly 400,000 Spanish speakers in Central Texas.
KUT En Español began in fall 2019, when Senior Education Reporter Claire McInerny recognized an important information gap between English-speaking parents and those who only speak Spanish while covering Austin Independent School District’s plan to shutter 12 local schools. Thanks to support from Texas Mutual Insurance Company, our newsroom began translating and distributing stories about the school board decision and upcoming closures.
Months later, the pandemic created the imperative to increase translations of vital news and information for Spanish-speakers. Since March 13, our newsroom has translated and distributed through social media and our partners in The Texas Newsroom more than 150 stories and explainers in Spanish about COVID-19 safety precautions, what the stay-home orders meant, how to apply for unemployment benefits and more.
KUT En Español also includes stories from our reporting partner, Univision Austin, thanks to a content-sharing agreement between the two stations.
In May, we received a COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant from the Facebook Journalism Project to support continuing Central Texas COVID-19 reporting and reach new audiences with fact-based news and information.
“The Facebook Journalism grant will help sustain KUT En Español, and expand our long-term goal for robust Spanish translation of a significant portion of KUT and ‘Texas Standard’ reporting, filling a hole left when the region’s primary Spanish language newspaper, ‘Ahora Si,’ folded in 2018,” explains KUT’s Executive Editor Teresa Frontado.
The grant also will help the newsroom reach Spanish speaking audiences where they already are: WhatsApp. The popular messaging app has more than 2 billion users worldwide and it’s where many Spanish-speakers and immigrants stay connected and get news and information.
We’re looking at other grants to fully fund the next phase of our Spanish language service and outreach.