Spanish speakers still learning English hungry for local news

Spanish speakers still learning English hungry for local news »Play Video
Evelyn Hernandez

EUGENE, Ore. - When a bomb threat forced her son's school to evacuate, Evelyn Hernandez had even less information than other parents.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to understand English because they speak too fast, and sometimes, I can’t understand,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez is one of an estimated 27,000 people in Eugene-Springfield for whom English is a second language, according to Downtown Languages in Springfield. The organization helps non-English speakers learn the language.

English language learners who speak Spanish have been without a news outlet since 2009, when Churchill Media pulled the plug on the only Spanish-language radio station in the market.

The radio station had local advertisements for events and local news impacting the Latino community in Lane County, but now there is only one free monthly magazine offering local information in Spanish.

For people learning English and working to fit into the community, the lack of accessible media can be a barrier to integration.