For years, the Spanish-speaking TV audience in Denver has only had one option when it came to newscasts in Spanish, but that's about to change.

Telemundo Denver and KUSA-Ch. 9, the NBC affiliate in Denver, announced July 29 they had partnered to broadcast two daily newscasts in Spanish this fall, one of which will be in direct competition with Noticias Univision Colorado.

"Competition is important because it makes your product much better all the time," said Andres Chaparro, Telemundo Denver's station manager. "If you have someone doing a better job than you, you have to improve too, and give the viewer, then, the best possible quality."

Noticiero Telemundo Denver will air Monday through Friday at 5:30 and 10 p.m. starting Oct. 3. The first Spanish-language newscast in Denver to broadcast in high definition will be produced in Channel 9's studios using its resources and Telemundo's staff.

"The partnership with 9NEWS gives us the opportunity to collaborate with the No. 1 news station in Colorado," said Chaparro, who came to Denver from Telemundo Chicago last year. "We'll have all their resources, which will allow us to access information much faster. Our portfolio will be a little broader."

9NEWS, as Channel 9's newscasts are known, is No. 1 in ratings and the recipient of multiple prestigious journalism awards, including the Emmys and the Edward R. Murrow Awards. The news station has about 100 journalists and produces 12 newscasts daily. Established in 1952, Channel 9 was the second station in the country to produce its newscasts in high definition.

"We believe people should have many options," said Patti Dennis, vice president and news director of 9NEWS."This is a great opportunity to meet the needs of the growing Latino population that has a preference for the Spanish language."

It is still not known who will anchor the newscasts because the nationwide search has just begun. What is known is that the candidates will have to be bilingual as there are plans for Noticiero Telemundo Denver's reporters to appear as guests on 9NEWS and vice versa, if the subject warrants it, according to Chaparro.

While Noticiero Telemundo Denver will benefit from the abundant resources and winning journalistic experience of 9NEWS, this partnership will also bring some benefits to the English-speaking station.

 

"We get to participate in a diverse community we couldn't reach before because of the language barrier," said Dennis.

Reaching the powerful and growing Latino community in Denver, whose buying power exceeds $11 billion a year, is not a bad idea. Denver is No. 15 in the Hispanic TV market. Thirty-two percent of its population is Hispanic, and it's growing three times faster than the population as a whole, according to Nielsen Claritas, a market research firm. Currently, Noticias Univision Colorado, the only local newscast in Spanish, dominates in ratings, falling behind only to 9NEWS, which it has surpassed on occasion.

"The key would be that Telemundo can really count on the support of 9NEWS," said Rodolfo Jose Cardenas, the renowned Denver journalist and former news anchor for Univision Colorado.

This is not the first time that Telemundo has had a Spanish-language newscast in Denver. In fact, the first newscast for Spanish-speaking people in the city was established by Telemundo in 1989. Its existence was brief.

"I am excited for Telemundo to return to its roots," Cardenas said. "This is very positive for the community, and it is the audience who ultimately wins."

Cardenas, a journalist with more than 27 years of experience locally, began his television career as a newscaster during Telemundo's first newscast in Spanish 23 years ago. Five years later, Cardenas moved to the competition when Univision decided to air its first Spanish-language newscast in Denver in 1995.

 

"Today, the audience is more demanding, it knows what's good and what's not so good," Cardenas said, referring to how much the Latino community has diversified in recent years and how it now has people from throughout Latin America who are more prepared professionally. "If [Telemundo's] newscast is to succeed, they have to hire journalists with the preparation, passion and devotion that is a must in order to do something of quality."

Apparently, that's exactly the plan Chaparro has for Telemundo's new newscast.
"We want to bring a product that is innovative, serious, and can provide the best newscast to viewers in Colorado."

- Roxana A. Soto: 303-954-3387, rsoto@vivacolorado.com