Bilingual News- Q&A with Con La Phoeniquera's Joa Jacobo Rivera

At Subtext, we’re fortunate to work with amazing partners across media, sports, entertainment, events, politics, and more. We love learning from our partners to highlight the great work they're doing and to improve our own offerings. With that in mind, let’s get into our discussion with Joa Jacobo Rivera, host of “Con La Phoeniquera.”

Q: So how was La Voz looked at among the Latino community before it lost resources?

A: It wasn't as big. The print edition wasn't daily. It was more like bi-, it was published like 2 to 3 times a week. But, you know, it was your regular newspaper as big as The Arizona Republic is today, meaning the pages. So whenever I talk to community members that we were reconnecting with, they're like "Oh yes, I remember what that was. I have a framed article in my office about a story they did. So it was really a go-to source for information that represented Latinos in the community.

Q: Is there a Spanish-speaking publication that you are emulating or taking cues from?

A: I don't know that we've actually thought about that: looking at other countries and what they're doing. Because we're highly focused on the younger populations when it comes to this SMS campaign, we're really looking at other smaller newsrooms that are equally bilingual and that are doing similar work as we are. And we're kind of going over and talking to them and trying to figure out if we're on the right path or if there's something new that we can integrate into our current working structure.

But when it comes to other Latin American countries, the one we probably do look at is  Mexico. That's mainly because we have a correspondent out there and she sends us both entertainment news and immigration and security news as well. It's like you've had two very opposite ends of the spectrum.

Q: I was curious to hear if you had any surprises that might have happened while you were using your Subtext campaign. Has there been something you weren't anticipating?

A: The first one is obvious, of course, just interaction with subscribers, right? A very memorable one was when we first started. One of the initial texts was a merry Christmas or Happy Holidays text, and I sent a gif that showed Winnie the Pooh, but instead of his honey pot, he was eating tamales and he had a corona and so I think “This will resonate. The food, you know, and the message of happy holidays. Thank you for reading us you know.” And there was this older woman who responded in Spanish “Bendiciónes,” blessings to you.

A second thing that happened is just overall, we've seen a lot of support from within the newsroom, and we've had that from the very beginning right when we started planning this out. But that support really came from our executive director, her main supervisor, and the director of our team who are excellent people who have supported us.

The third thing, which is something that I'm currently working on, is I had a local producer at a radio station reaching out to us through the SMS campaign. They said, “This is great, how do we collaborate?” And that was just amazing. I'm still excited about it. We're talking currently and trying to figure out how we collaborate in a way that's beneficial for both, so that's been really great.

Q: What are your next steps with Subtext? And if you had anything to say about the platform, anything at all, feel free to share.

A: Next steps, we're just going to continue and try to grow our subscribers and I think one of the things, is we've been slow because while I am managing this project, I am not full-time managing this project. So I think that's one of the things that we probably will try to make happen. Either get someone who is fully committed to this project and let them do what they need to do or try to hire more people. But that's one of the things that we're really trying to focus on right now.

One of the great things that I love about Subtext is the report feature. I'm not a huge numbers person, but seeing those reports, kind of like makes my heart knot a little. So I really like that functionality and also being able to schedule things because if I had to do this every day, I would probably lose my mind. But every time there's a new subscriber, I get excited. Even if it's just one a week. We need that. Okay. Every little bit of growth is super important to us and me, especially. As we continue to use this service and really get it out in the community, we want to really evaluate what we've learned and how we can continue to integrate as a newsroom.

Thank you Joa and thank you Con La Phoeniquera. Check out the full interview here:


If you’re interested in incorporating text into your newsroom, schedule a demo with the Subtext team.

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