Greg Burton and P. Kim Bui
In 2021, The Arizona Republic launched an initiative to reach more bilingual readers and households whose residents prefer information in Spanish. We’ve had a product for these readers, La Voz and TV Y Mas, for a long time, but we weren’t reaching enough online. We knew that many of the people we hoped to reach were not just Spanish speaking, but bilingual, digitally savvy, and passionate about their communities.
We wanted to move those stories to the forefront and have the faces of the Arizona Republic better reflect the faces of the State of Arizona. We started by moving the stories from the La Voz team to the front of azcentral.com. Today, we are one of the few new English language sites in the United States to post daily information in Spanish on its homepage.
To spearhead this project, we hired Joanna Jacobo Rivera, who had written and edited for La Opinión and Excélsior California.
Jacobo Rivera and the rest of the La Voz team have focused their efforts on the bilingual homes and areas of Phoenix. We track our progress by not only telling more stories from these areas, but also by telling more stories that matter to these communities, like Angela Codoba Perez’s report on undocumented students with a lack of resources.
Here’s what you need to know:We’re opening up access to more of our journalism on azcentral.com
We organized listening sessions and launched a survey to better understand the Latino populations of our country of origin. We have been translating stories from English into Spanish for a long time, but now we also write in both languages. La Voz stories are often more than translations, they’re stories told bilingually from the start, like Javier Arce’s about two Mexican journalists seeking refuge in Phoenix.
Our coverage goal is to encompass the experience of bilingual Arizona residents, not just the issues, but the culture, such as Nadia Cantu’s stories about a folkloric ballet dancer.
After all, inclusivity is as much about the storytelling we do as it is about the faces of those telling the stories. At The Republic, our commitment to representing our community more faithfully has led us to take a close look at the newsroom, but also at the stories we tell.
Representation is why we launched Faces of Arizona, a project that spotlights community members like Blu Erran, which was featured by journalist Raphael Romero Ruiz. Representation is why we moved La Voz to our homepage and why we focused on telling more stories about the diverse communities of Phoenix, including areas such as South Phoenix . Representation is why we worked to hire two Report for America Fellows to cover rural parts of the state. That’s why we have a team of reporters covering all 22 federally recognized tribes in Arizona, including Arlyssa Becenti and her recent coverage of a Native group trying to make it to the Hollywood Bowl and Deb Utacia Krol, whose stories about threats to sacred Indigenous spaces informed the federal government’s decision to enact new protections.
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We are all Arizonans. This is the bond that unites the journalists of La République and you, our audience, together. No matter where we come from or what we do, we live and work in the same community. This binding relationship is important, said Jacobo Rivera.
“We are part of our communities, and therefore we are part of these stories, the same stories that we work tirelessly to produce,” she said. “So when we talk about representation, it’s not just to benefit our readers, it’s also to benefit every single person in our newsroom.”
For The Republic to succeed, we must have an inclusive and diverse workplace where employees are valued and feel empowered. We need to create a newsroom that reflects the communities we serve.
As part of our commitment to achieve parity with our communities by 2025, we annually publish the composition of our editorial staff. This public review is conducted in conjunction with USA TODAY and more than 200 local USA TODAY Network publications.
As you will see in this latest report, The Republic has made significant progress.
In July, journalists of color made up 45% of the workforce, up from 20% in 2016. In the newsroom, 58% of journalists are women and 54% of managers are women.
Just three years ago, 15% of our staff was Latino. Today, 23% of The Republic’s journalists are Latino, a figure that helps meet the growing expectations of one of the most diverse regions in the country.
There are communities that we hope to cover more deeply and represent more deeply in the years to come. Many of them go beyond race and gender, to identity and family. Phoenix has a vibrant LGBTQIA+ community. The state is also home to many veterans and currently serves military families. These communities also deserve to be represented.
We are proud of our progress. We also know this is a step in a journey towards inclusiveness.
The US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey asks two separate questions, one about Hispanic origin and the other about race, allowing individuals to choose among several options for themselves. However, to compare with internal Gannett employee information that asks individuals to tick only one option, we used the following categories: Hispanic or Latino (for ACS, whatever other race is selected), White (not Hispanic or Latino), Black or African American (not Hispanic or Latino), Asian (not Hispanic or Latino), Native American or Alaska Native (not Hispanic or Latino), Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (not Hispanic or Latino), or two or more races (neither Hispanic nor Latino) Latino). All racial identity information is provided voluntarily by employees. Gannett also allows an individual not to disclose their race or ethnicity. The chart combines Maricopa, Pinal, and Yavapai counties as a community comparison.