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Voice of the Barrio

At a time when many mainstream newspapers are suffering steep declines in circulation and advertising revenue, native-language newspapers in cities across the United States are booming. The Wall Street JOURNAL notes that native-language papers have a unique stance on local stories calling immigrant journalists " the crusading ethnic journalist." As immigrant communities grow across the nation, the demand for native-language newspapers becomes increasingly apparent. A dramatic example is ¡ÉXITO! in Chicago, whose revenues increased by 25% last year while the revenues of its owner, The Chicago TRIBUNE, have plunged 25%.

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¡ÉXITO! effects change in the Latino community of Chicago.

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¡ÉXITO!'s investigative reporter Jorge Luis Mota, a Cuban refugee who survived a failed escape attempt by raft and two years' detention at Guantanamo Naval Base, has become the voice of Chicago's Latino immigrant community. ¡ÉXITO! serves as a source of news from Latin American countries, but it is also an arena in which the issues, problems, and struggles of the local Latino population are brought to light and often times caught by the other larger newspapers in the area. Mota's crusade is a noble one. He is a reporter with a responsibility that goes far beyond breaking news stories for his readers.

In this segment, we follow Mota as he investigates a scandalous story of homelessness among Latinos in Chicago, where a recent study demonstrated that the average age of homeless people is nine years old. The crusading reporter has uncovered inequities in Chicago's public housing system that favor African-Americans over Latinos. We see Mota in a typical work-week, arguing with his editor, talking to his sources, appearing as a guest on a weekly cable news show, and fielding 20 calls a day from readers who provide him with story ideas and leads.

Making Themselves At Home:

Explore 25 of the native-language newspapers printed across the United States.
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Do you think that your daily newspaper covers ethnic issues well?

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A Chicago family faces eviction.