I have in front of me a copy of the first edition of El Tiempo Latino —March 21st, 1991. In that issue, our founder, Armando Chapelli, wrote about the vision and mission of our publication. It was a message about Hispanic contributions to this nation: “To this country we will serve as the bridge. We will forever have with us the cultural treasure of our past traditions, but we will be united by the magnanimous task of building this nation’s future.” Fast forward 13 years —May 17th, 2004. The Washington Post buys El Tiempo Latino. I have on my desk El Tiempo’s issue where we run a front page story about the purchase. I treasure my photo with Donald E. Graham, Chairman of the Post Company; with Boisfeuillet Jones, Jr. Publisher and CEO of The Post; and with the Maestro, Armando Chapelli.
We had arrived to that historical moment after long and comprehensive talks and meetings.
There were three El Tiempo Latino managers involved in the discussions: Kristen Holmes, Zulema Tijero, and myself. When the purchase was complete, we started to operate under the supervision of the late Chris Ma, VP of Business Development for The Washington Post. With the great Mr. Ma’s help, El Tiempo Latino went through growing pains and over market obstacles.
El Tiempo Latino became a publication of the Post —the only Hispanic product of the company— while remaining an independent organization. We were able to generate some synergies with the Post at an editorial level and established some successful advertisement partnerships, but most importantly we became an example of the meaningful stature of the Hispanic community in the Washington, DC area. This has been a rewarding trip. I am proud of El Tiempo Latino’s small, efficient, and award-winning staff —past and present. I have the privilege to be part of an organization that has helped our community enormously. As a result of some of our published stories, immigrants have been released from detention centers, mothers have been reunited with their sons and daughters, Hispanic students have had the encouragement to graduate from college, human beings have received the respect they deserve. Also, El Tiempo has been the jumping board for many Hispanic professionals. Today, former El Tiempo employees work at other media companies, including The Washington Post. Some have written their own books and one became world champion of kickboxing. Yes, with El Tiempo Latino it is possible!
Throughout the past 10 years, we have witnessed the brutal changes suffered by the industry. That is why when in 2013, the founder of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos, bought The Washington Post —including El Tiempo in the purchase— many experts saw a technology path ahead as part of the future of newspapering. El Tiempo Latino’s issue dated August 9th, 2013 told the news of Bezos’ purchase with this headline: “A New Journalistic Path Ahead.”
We are ready for the journey.
Avendaño is Executive Editor of El Tiempo Latino