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Nov. 13, 2019, 11:41 a.m.
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Predominantly English-language news companies continue to struggle to figure out how to reach Spanish-language audiences. The latest: In Chicago, Tribune Publishing announced Tuesday it will shut down Hoy, its Spanish-language weekly newspaper and website on December 13.

A company spokesman told the Chicago Tribune it anticipates “providing all affected employees the opportunity to take open positions inside the company,” but did not give a specific reason for the decision. Tribune Publishing would also “expand Spanish-language content through the syndicated Tribune Content Agency and is ‘aggressively exploring other options’ to serve Hispanic readers.” Notably, though, positions in the Tribune Content Agency aren’t union jobs.

“We ask the executives of TribPub and the editors in our newsroom to reconsider their decision to eliminate a publication in Spanish after announcing its commitment to increasing diversity in the company,” the Chicago Tribune Guild said on Twitter in Spanish.

Hoy was launched as a daily newspaper in 2003 to serve Chicago’s Hispanic communities, which make up about a third of the city’s total population today. After ownership changes and cutbacks, Hoy was reduced to a weekly in 2017. Its editorial team has six people. While circulation data for Hoy does not appear to be available (it’s not measured by the Alliance for Audited Media), Pew data says weekly and semi-weekly Spanish-language newspaper circulation has been mostly stagnant since 2016.

Hoy Chicago is the latest Spanish-language outlet owned by an English-language company to close.

The New York Times shut down NYT en Español in September after three years. The Austin American-Statesman shuttered Ahora Sí last year, a few months after the company was purchased by GateHouse Media. HuffPost and BuzzFeed have both pulled back this year from Mexico sites that had readership among U.S. Spanish speakers.

On the flip side, The Washington Post announced an expansion of Spanish-language content in May, including an opinion section in Spanish and a twice-weekly podcast.

Notably, the Hoy story on its own closure is just a translation of the English-language Tribune story, not its own original article.

Journalists both in and outside of Chicago expressed their disappointment in the decision.

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