New Haven: Hypocritical Editorial Policies

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Jul 19 14:52:20 UTC 2007

 <> Hypocritical Editorial Policies


*By Henry Fernandez*

*July 18, 2007*

*This article was originally published in The New Haven
The New Haven Register* has two editorial policies, one for consumption in
its English-language version and one for consumption in *Registro*, its
Spanish-language version. *The Register* consistently editorializes against
undocumented immigrants, while *Registro* consistently editorializes for the
rights of undocumented immigrants. Frankly, I have simply had enough of this
hypocrisy. These two papers are published by the same company, Journal
Register Co., in the same building, often using the same reporters, and
always using the same printing press. So, why the different editorial

Apparently, just to sell newspapers and advertising. *Registro* is free and
makes its money selling advertising; *The Register*, like other traditional
newspapers, pays its bills through advertising, subscriptions and sales.
Recently, the entire front page of *Registro* was dedicated to Gov. M. Jodi
Rell's veto of the in-state tuition bill for illegal immigrants, with cover
art that made her look heartless. *Registro*'s editorial described how Rell
had dashed the dreams of hundreds of young people who graduated this year
from Connecticut high schools in neighborhoods where they have lived most of
their lives.

In Spanish, the editorial also stated that Connecticut's future economy
relies on the success of these young people. Not so *The Register*, which
heralded Rell's veto. "The legislation would encourage more illegal
immigrants to break the law by living here," intoned its editorial. Aside
from being cold-hearted and inaccurate, *The Register*'s editorial reflects
the two-faced approach that the company has to the Latino community. Two
years ago, *The Register* started the excellently written* Registro*, which
exists today only because of the growing undocumented population in our
communities. The Spanish-language paper  is only available in parts of
Connecticut with a large undocumented population.

Spanish-speaking Connecticut citizens of Puerto Rican descent have been here
as a relatively consistent percentage of the population for a couple of
decades now and as a large community for almost a century. Despite this long
history of Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens by birth, the Register only
chose to publish a Spanish-language paper when Connecticut's
Spanish-speaking population grew dramatically over the last 10 years as a
result of immigration from Mexico, Ecuador and other countries in Central
America. A significant portion of this immigration is of undocumented
workers and their families. There is no doubt why *Registro* has very little
coverage about politics in Puerto Rico, but regularly does a good job
covering the politics in Venezuela, Mexico and Ecuador. There is little to
no coverage of soccer beyond local high schools in *The Register*, but *
Registro* regularly covers its entire back page with the world's best soccer
players. The other place you would be hard-pressed to find soccer is among
the U.S. citizen population of Puerto Rico, where baseball is the passion.

The newspaper knows who its readers are and provides them with the coverage
that will keep them coming back. Apparently, this has been successful. While
cutting back on reporters and other costs at *The Register*, at
*Registro*the reporter pool is expanding alongside new editions of the
*Registro* is now published twice a week rather than weekly, and boasts a
Hartford edition in a city where no one even reads *The Register*, and a
Danbury-Waterbury edition in coordination with the Torrington-based *
Register-Citizen*, which is owned by the  parent company of the New Haven
Register and *Registro*. While *The Register* piles on against undocumented
immigrants in English, it makes money off that same population it says it
wants to evict from our communities. It's one thing for the owners of *The
Register* and *Registro* to market their two newspapers to two different
audiences by reporting stories that are of interest to their customers; it
is quite another to shape editorial policy to appeal to nativist instincts
and xenophobia while building a business based on the progressive acceptance
of immigrants.

*Henry Fernandez is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress
focused on state and municipal policy.


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