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Local College Paper Debuts Bilingual Edition

  • February 6, 2012

By Lauren Lola

The Pioneer, the student-run newspaper of CSU East Bay in Hayward, made local history by being the first college newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area to have a bilingual edition. 

The weekly publication’s Jan. 26 issue — which is circulated in nearby cities including Newark, Union City, Fremont, Hayward and Castro Valley — was the first special bilingual edition.

In it was four pages of articles completely translated into Spanish.

The college publication plans to continue publishing bilingual editions every three issues.

While Dr. Gale Young, head of the Communication Department of CSUEB, has stated that a Spanish edition has been considered before, it was The Pioneer Editor-in-Chief Natalia Aldana who decided to go forth and pursue it once and for all.

Its purpose is to serve as a way to reach out to the populated Latino community in the Bay Area, especially in Hayward and San Leandro.

Aldana managed to pull together a small staff to write articles in both English and Spanish. The team consistes of Aldana, Editorial Editor Rishi Khalsa and members of the Spanish program from the broadcasting department.

Even though all the members of the staff can speak and read in Spanish, the challenge was to ensure the grammar was correct.

"I knew that we needed someone academic to do the editing and so that was a little harder to get a hold of. So the only thing I was concerned about was the grammar and how the language was going to be perceived in the community and if we made a lot of mistakes, it may make people not take us seriously,” Aldana said. “Luckily there weren’t a lot of mistakes.”

Aldana remained determined to get it done and in the end, she really liked how the final product had turned out.

The Pioneer Adviser Cristi Hegranes described how impressed she was when she first heard of the idea to do a Spanish edition.

"[Aldana's] best asset was her ability to think in an innovative way both humanistically and journalistically and I think she saw a real need in the population where The Pioneer is primarily distributed and then used her own skills, resources and background to make it happen.  So I was really excited about it,” she said.

The response to the bilingual edition was immediate and both Hegranes and Aldana receieved positive feedback from numerous people.

“It made the news more available to people who speak Spanish as a primary language and that seems to be a lot of people in Hayward and on campus,” commented Pioneer reader Jonathan Lee.  “So getting the news out to more people is never a bad thing.”

Young saw the addition of a Spanish edition as a great enhancement of The Pioneer.  When she first became the head of the Communication Department three years ago, she described The Pioneer as a smaller, less diverse staff. 

When she had Communication professor Dr. Robert Terrell take over the publication during the Spring 2010 quarter, he arranged a more diverse group of journalists with different points of view who’d meet and work together in production. 

Hegranes became The Pioneer’s adviser during the Summer 2011 quarter, and Young said as the Hegranes took The Pioneer up to the next level.

 “I’m really proud of it; I’m really excited about it and that’s what being students in the university can do; you get to experiment and try,” she explained.  “You get to look around at the editors you have and the talent you have and say, ‘How can we maximize it?’  I’m really excited and I look forward to more editions.”               

Aldana hopes to expand the Spanish edition in future issues and that maybe when she’s gone, someone will take over for her and reach out to other demographics  as well.

Hegranes said she hopes to just keep going forward in enhancing and making The Pioneer better than before.

“That’s always the challenge.  When you raise the bar, you just have to just keep on getting better each week,” she said.  “I think that we have a really dedicated team; people who are really passionate about the craft of journalism and really working to produce a quality product.  So from that, I think innovation will grow.”

To read articles from The Pioneer, check them out at


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