CNN Latino, the network’s effort to build an audience around news and entertainment programming for a fast-growing community, will shut its doors by the end of the month, a CNN unit announced.
The network cited business reasons for the pending demise of the year-old operation that targeted bilingual Latinos with Spanish-language programs. TV stations in big and small markets had signed on to the programming, including KBEH in Los Angeles and WTAM, a low-power station in Tampa.
Media Moves quoted CNN en Español spokeswoman Isabel Bucarám:
Unfortunately, despite the great efforts of many talented people, CNN Latino was not able to fulfill our business expectations, and we are discontinuing the programming this month.
An undisclosed number of employees will lose their jobs.
“It’s always disappointing and concerning when an enterprise closes down,” particularly when it produces content for Latinos and by Latinos, Hugo Balta, National Association of Hispanic Journalists president, told Poynter by phone.
Balta doesn’t question CNN’s commitment to diversity and Latinos, but contacted the network about the decision. In a post to members on the NAHJ website, Balta said he talked to Geraldine Moriba, vice president of diversity and inclusion for CNN Worldwide, who described the closure as due solely to CNN Latino’s “inability to meet business expectations.” Many of CNN Latino’s staff will be absorbed by CNN En Español, she said.
Word of the closure comes three months after NBC announced it would shutter the English-language NBCLatino.com as a separate operation and absorb several of the staff into its main operation. That prompted a BuzzFeed piece by Adrian Carrasquillo, a veteran of NBCLatino.com:
Having Latino journalists in the newsroom is not some bullshit exercise on a diversity checklist, but an acknowledgement that the newsroom should reflect the country, the people you are writing about, the audience. It is, moreover, an obvious practical advantage: Every journalist brings his or her roots and experience to the job, and a newsroom can’t afford to be cut off culturally from a huge piece of American life in the 21st century.
FoxNewsLatino.com, launched in 2010, continues to operate. Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes told The New Republic last year that he viewed the Latino audience as a “tremendous business opportunity.”