Among networks, Spanish-language Univision is now a top contender
Many Americans click past Univision's melodramatic Mexican soap operas and sportscasters yelling "GOOOOOOAL!" But after a couple of recent rating coups, the Spanish-language TV network is carving out a Latino face on the Mount Rushmore of broadcast television alongside NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX.
For the first time, Univision bested the major English-language networks for an entire week among young adults. And Univision's historic bilingual presidential debate last week attracted the most 25- to 54-year-old viewers of any televised debate thus far.
The rising prominence of Spanish-language media is prompting concerns – including from California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – about a slowing of the acculturation of immigrants. While the Hispanic media offer a different lens on American culture, many experts argue they often help educate recent immigrants about the US while preserving Spanish among their English-speaking children.
"The difference with Spanish-language broadcast is it's really community-oriented news and it's news you can use," says Veronica Villafañe, former head of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. "They actually encourage assimilation: This is where you go to get services; these are your rights. It's really an education channel."