The Washington Post’s next expansion is in another language. The company’s newsroom is launching a twice-a-week Spanish language podcast and the opinion section is beginning to publish pieces in Spanish.
“We have long studied the idea of moving into Spanish language journalism. We first needed to zero in on the value The Washington Post could bring to that audience,” Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, the Post’s managing editor, told CNN Business.
“With podcasts, we think we have the opportunity to capture a space that isn’t as crowded as others with some really talented folks,” he said.
The Post occasionally translates English stories into Spanish when the subject matter calls for it. But “we don’t believe we can best serve a Spanish language audience simply by translating stories,” Garcia-Ruiz said.
So the podcast is a new way for the newsroom to try. And on the opinion side, Eli Lopez, the paper’s Global Opinions Editor, said his team will be publishing “three to five pieces a week,” including op-eds “commissioned and written in Spanish.” Some English columns will be translated, too.
“Publishing commentary in Spanish is part of our effort to get closer to international audiences through strong and relevant content produced by journalists, experts and activists with deep knowledge of country-specific dynamics and that readers know and respect,” Lopez said. “The crisis in Venezuela, the U.S.-Mexico relationship, and the migration crisis are some of the subjects regional writers will be addressing.”
Within the Post’s competitive set, the paper has some catching up to do. The New York Times has a Spanish language home page with multiple stories translated from English each day. Before joining the Post, Lopez was the editorial director and founder of the New York Times in Español. The Los Angeles Times has a similar page full of Spanish language stories.
The Post’s global opinions section has a lot of experience with foreign language coverage. The site sometimes publishes columns in Arabic, Farsi and Turkish, and has also published in Portuguese and French in the past.
Lopez said “we are building on our broader mission to offer sharp, independent opinion journalism on the most relevant issues — in this case, doing it in Spanish will allow us to attract a new audience that is craving precisely that.”
Back on the newsroom side of the Post, the podcast is seen as a new entry point for potential Post listeners and subscribers.
“We are exploring ad revenue streams as the main monetization model,” Garcia-Ruiz said, when asked about the business plan, “but we also see great value from getting our brand in front of this audience which, while it certainly knows of The Washington Post, has never been able to experience us in their native language on a consistent basis.”