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2021 Murrow Award Entry, Excellence In Innovation: ¿Qué Hay De Nuevo, New Hampshire?

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In March 2020, life changed dramatically in New Hampshire. School closures, business shutdowns, new public health guidance: It all seemed to happen so suddenly. In the pandemic's early days, our governor held press conferences three times a week, with information and data changing by the hour. But we at NHPR quickly realized that a lot of information vital to navigate into an uncertain world was not available in Spanish.

As it became clear that New Hampshire's Latino population was suffering the impact of the pandemic at a disproportionate rate, it was also clear that the information gap and the public health gap were connected. 

We reached out to community leaders to ask about the best ways to get information to Spanish-speakers: We agreed that rather than trying to direct an audience that didn’t know us -- and that we hadn’t taken time to build a relationship with before the pandemic -- to our platforms, we should meet them where they were. 

That’s why we decided to create ¿Qué Hay de Nuevo, New Hampshire?, a daily, Spanish newscast between five and seven minutes in length that we send through WhatsApp, a messaging platform popular among Spanish-speakers. A newscast, with a message summarizing the day’s headlines, would make local news accessible and reliable in a state with no other local Spanish media outlets. 

At the beginning of May, our small team focused on providing public health news, but we quickly expanded. We provided election information, creating voter guides in Spanish, and landing pages for questions about COVID and currently on vaccines. We also incorporated Spanish-first interviews about school-reopening, rental assistance, staying safe during COVID and about a local radio program highlighting first-generation immigrant experiences. We started with a relatively narrow focus, but have grown into a more robust and well-rounded news service. 

Foundational to this service are our twice monthly meetings with community leaders. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to get the word out about this service. We also recognize how much work NHPR needs to do to gain Latino residents' trust, understand what’s happening in the community and learn what questions we need to answer. We’ve worked with members of the Granite State News Collaborative, occasionally translating their stories into Spanish, and encouraging them to share our reporting on their websites to reach a wider audience.

We’re excited to build on this new effort in the coming year through the addition of a bilingual reporter, supported by Report For America, starting this summer. And we're proud to submit it for the 2020 Murrow Award for Excellence in Innovation.

 
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