How Al Día, Philadelphia’s Spanish-language newspaper, is adapting to a bilingual world

The influx of Latinos — many of them recent immigrants — to the city highlights Philadelphia’s changing demographics. That’s a key story for the city’s news outlets to cover, but one that can be difficult for traditional English-language news organizations to report.

Al Día is far from the only outlet trying to reach young Latino audiences. That’s the same demographic that ABC and Univision wanted to reach when they launched Fusion in 2013. Other news organizations, such as The New York Times, have taken stabs at translating their stories to reach new and diverse readers. Sixty-two percent of adult American Hispanics are bilingual or primarily speak English, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey. By 2020, 34 percent of Hispanics will speak only English at home, an increase from 26 percent in 2013, according to projections by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Al Día hopes to take advantage of all of these of these trends. About 80 percent of sessions on the site are on the English version. The paper averaged 92,000 unique visitors per month in 2015, said Gabriela Guaracao, Al Día’s director of strategy. (She couldn’t give me data from before the paper redesigned its website because “the outdated platform produced data that was inaccurate.”)

“The numbers indicate that Latinos are dual-language citizens,” said Sabrina Vourvoulias, Al Día’s managing editor. “The younger they are, the more likely they are to want to read certain aspects of what they look for online in English. Very often, other aspects in Spanish. It became very clear, just from a numbers standpoint, that it’s something that needed to be upped.”

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