The weekly Spanish-language newspaper La Noticia is in its 14th year of providing local and national news to the Charlotte area's Latino community. Now the paper is stretching its legs: An Asheville edition is set to launch Dec. 9, with distribution in Buncombe and Henderson counties as well as other parts of Western North Carolina.
Publisher Hilda Gurdian says the move was triggered both by the paper's desire to expand its coverage in the Carolinas and by increased demand for local news in expanding Latino communities.
"It's a need several leaders told me [the area] needs to help the Latino community adapt," Gurdian told Xpress. "To be successful, they need to know what is happening around them."
The paper will provide some national and international news but will specialize in local reporting on issues affecting the Latino community, including education, health services and police issues. La Noticia will also focus on local politics in an effort to energize a growing U.S.-born Latino electorate.
"We are at the point now where a generation of North Carolina Latinos is 18 or older," notes Asheville activist Edna Campos, who'll be contributing a regular political column. "We should really be trying to get that generation more involved."
Recognizing that many readers grew up bilingual, Campos' column will be presented in both Spanish and English. That format will also support another one of Gurdian's goals for the paper: linking Latinos with the community at large by enabling non-Spanish speakers to read for themselves the issues affecting the Latino population.
"Part of our mission is to be a bridge of communication," she explains. "This is our new country: We are here."
The new paper is the second Spanish-language publication to distribute in Western North Carolina, joining La Voz Independiente.
La Noticia's mountain edition is currently staffed by a reporter and a sales manager, both working from their homes, plus several columnists like Campos. A grand opening of the Asheville office is planned for January, but in the meantime, the paper stands ready with 200 distribution points across the region.