By Andrew Heyward, Knight senior Researcher, and also Alicia Barrón, Digital Producer in TV News innovation at ASU Cronkite school of Journalism | Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019

When Univision announced broadened local news apps for seven of that top markets this week, one of the platforms for “integrated society media sharing capabilities” to be a channel friend won’t typically see in comparable English-language-station releases. It’s WhatsApp, the world’s most renowned messaging app, but one that’s little-used by U.S. Newsrooms.

You are watching: Univision 41 a tu lado telefono

If you desire to understand Univision’s adopt of WhatsApp, simply ask Esteban Creste, VP of News because that Univision’s new York station, Univision 41 Nueva York (WXTV). Creste’s station has a 12-year customer franchise called 41 A Tú Lado (41 On your Side) that’s now using WhatsApp together a new method to connect directly through viewers. Once A Tú Lado correspondent Berenice Gartner said establishing a WhatsApp number for her franchise, “a light pear went off,” states Creste. “Why didn’t us think of that before?”

Berenice Gartner

Gartner humbly refuses to take complete credit for the idea, speak it came up as soon as she and also her cameraman were talking about brand-new ways to with the audience. Gartner trust the WhatsApp messenger is a an effective and an useful tool journalists prefer her deserve to use to connect with their viewers. “We know all of our viewers have actually smartphones,” she says, “and they are on castle constantly.”

In fact, Pew Research found that 74 percent that Latinos obtain their news via social media or smartphone application on a typical weekday. In ~ first, the A Tú Lado team got plenty the news tips, Gartner says, but additionally a fair variety of simple greetings: “You know, human being who just want to say hello.” She occasionally responds with an emoji so they recognize the blog post was received.

What viewers watch on A Tú Lado’s Whatsapp.

WhatsApp is a social phenomenon in the U.S. Spanish-speaking community. It’s particularly popular with Latinos due to the fact that it offers a free way to communicate with their loved ones in various other countries. It’s also considered secure and private.

WhatsApp is perfectly suitable to the method Creste’s viewers communicate with A Tú Lado, one ambitious feature that runs 3 times a week, consisting of a Friday segment in i beg your pardon reporter Gartner answer viewers’ questions. Univision has actually a distinct relationship v its viewers, plenty of of whom rely on both the national network and the local stations to be your advocates and also allies quite than just purveyors that news. For the reason, the concerns viewers re-superstructure on WhatsApp variety from “not having actually heat to…my husband was deported and also I don’t recognize what to do,” claims Creste. “They reach out to us when they have a consumer complaint, but additionally when they need help of any kind. Periodically they contact us prior to they speak to the police.”


It’s producer Sheyla Navarro’s task to wade right into the steady stream of voicemails and also WhatsApp questions, concerns, and tips — about 100 a day. She diverts the newsier worries to the assignment desk, counter some right into fodder because that A Tú Lado, and does her finest to respond come the rest — questions about DACA and also immigration, healthcare, education, and other pressing concerns for Univision 41’s audience. “Our goal is to educate, inform, and also make sure the neighborhood understands that is rights,” she says.

The terminal promotes the WhatsApp number top top the air transparent the day, follow me with much more traditional networks like email and also a toll-free phone call number. WhatsApp allows the station’s producers to respond much quicker to newsworthy stories. “The success the this is really surprising. I didn’t understand we’d acquire this plenty of messages,” says Creste, who is currently considering adding a second WhatsApp number for basic news.


So, what room the lessons for “Anglo” newsrooms? many obviously, in sectors with large (and significantly bilingual) Latino populations, WhatsApp may be worth experimenting as secondary outreach to viewers. But for any kind of market, Univision 41’s story illustrates the power of knowledge your viewers, connecting through them ~ above the channels they use and trust, and most of all, listening.

Creste likes to save his ear to the ground. He encourages his journalists come walk brand-new York’s neighborhoods and also talk to human being on their days off. The station coordinates with the city come organize constant phone banks to prize viewer concerns. And the A Tú Lado team tries to hold meetings every month or so in the community to hear directly from viewers.


“I’m much more and more interested in having distinct content,” says Creste. “In order to be pertinent to people’s lives, you have to produce venues to have direct contact with the viewers…find what castle need, and also fill the void.”

Esteban Creste calls this “super-serving” his viewers. Tell united state what you doing come super-serve yours. You deserve to email us at, together we don’t have a WhatsApp number.



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