Many community and news organizations are using SMS to provide non-English speakers with essential information. Subtext gives these organizers and reporters a quick way to update their communities about new resources, changes in public health guidance and other relevant news.
Mixteco Indigenous Community Organizing Project (MICOP)
MICOP provides support to California’s indigenous migrants and they text in Spanish with over 1,500 people across the state’s central coast. Vanessa Terán, a policy and communications associate, says they use their three texting campaigns to remind their community about free resources available to them through MICOP or the state.
Vanessa says texting allows them an easy way to engage with their community, “We are able to get things in real time to thousands of people. A lot of folks have been like ‘oh I got a text’ and then the community passes the information to each other.”
San Francisco based community newspaper, El Tecolote, recently decided to use texting to engage with a new Spanish-speaking audience that had responded to a survey. Over text they share news coverage about the pandemic and Latinx community that their audience had helped shape.
Adriana Camarena says that texting also helped drive subscriptions, “We not only achieved our goal of communicating back our results, but also gained new online and print readers for our bilingual newspaper!"
Mission Local, is an independent outlet that covers San Francisco’s Mission District. Earlier this year, the outlet found that much of its Spanish-speaking audience weren’t visiting the website for COVID-19 news, so they decided to start texting it to them in Spanish.
MLesp texts share changes in public health guidance, where to get COVID-19 vaccines and other community news. To get the word out about the new service, Mission Local passed out fliers in the community. And as a result, they saw 132% growth in subscribers over one month.
Connecticut-based Record Journal Media Group recently launched their Latino Communities Reporting Lab. Publisher Liz White says they launched a texting campaign to engage with new audiences they don’t currently reach with their lab stories.
Liz says the weekly texts will also help the Record Journal, “deepen our community listening,” and “amplify the voices of our local Latino communities.”
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