Malas Noticias

We mentioned it last month, and the Los Angeles Times repeats it once more today: If you get your local news from Telemundo, well, chances are it ain't really local. Nope--it'll come straight outta Fort Worth. That's because NBC Universal, Telemundo's parent company, is cutting $750 million from its budget, and a big hunk of that restructuring will impact its Spanish-language network. So viewers in Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose and Houston and even Dallas aren't going to get local broadcasts anymore. Those markets will instead get what the L.A. Times calls "live regionalized newscasts using feeds from reporters and camera operators in the field."

But what's bad news for Telemundo across the country is good news for the Fort Worth bureau: About 110 folks are losing their jobs elsewhere, but the Cowtown bureau will get 30 new folks at its production facility, which will now be known as the Telemundo Production Center. "That means the net job loss will be about 90 positions — or about 5% — of Telemundo's total workforce," reports the paper. And that isn't sitting well with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, which issued a statement in October claiming that NBC broke its 5-year-old promise to increase the quality of its Spanish-language news broadcasts. After all, says the NAHJ in its statement:

NBC is not doing away with local newscasts at any of its English-language stations -- only with its Telemundo properties. This leads us to question the company's commitment to the Latino community... Not providing local news is a disservice; it goes against the very promise made by NBC back in 2001 to "serve the public interest" with the merger... This is not just about the loss of jobs. It's about access to information.

The Latino community deserves better.

The Times reports that the NAHJ is "considering challenging upcoming Telemundo station license renewals." The paper also says the the Telemundo Production Center will produce three newscasts daily: one for Texas, one for Arizona and another for the West Coast.

Meanwhile, there's no news about what NBC plans to do with its local English-language owned-and-operated stations, including KXAS-Channel 5--assuming that is English Mike Snyder and Jane McGarry are speaking over there. We're not quite sure. --Robert Wilonsky