Compiled by Jodi La Marco
La Voz magazine brings high-quality news to a Spanish-speaking audience of roughly 30,000 people. It is also the only Spanish-language print publication in the Mid-Hudson Valley. On Radio Kingston, co-founder of the magazine, Mariel Fiori, hosts a radio show of the same name. We spoke with Fiori to find out what inspired her to create these much-needed resources for Spanish-speaking residents.
How did La Voz get its start?
I came to this country in 2003. I’m a journalist by training and by trade. I worked for six years in my home country of Argentina, and two years in Spain as a journalist. When I came here, I was writing for a local publication in Spanish. The paper was in English, but they asked me to write a column in Spanish. A student at Bard named Emily Schmall read it, and she wanted to do a newsletter entirely in Spanish. We started this project together. The magazine was started in 2004. In 2019, we’re turning 15 years old, so stay tuned because we are going to have a quinceañera celebration.
Why did you want to start a Spanish-language publication?
One of the most important things for me in doing La Voz is to print a publication that is written in standard Spanish. According to the census—which always has very conservative figures—in the five counties that La Voz covers, about 144,000 people are Hispanics. Over 110,000 of them speak Spanish at home according to the Pew Research Center.
When I came to this country and I saw print media in Spanish—from New York City or nearby areas—anything that was printed in Spanish was horrible. It looked like someone who had a third-grade education wrote it. You can see mistakes even in the New York Times, but this was not just a few errors. I saw this type of thing, and I thought to myself, this is due to a lack of respect. For us Latinos, respect is one of the most important things.
When something is well-written, it has credibility. From day one, people started emailing us and sending letters saying wow, we really needed this.
Can you tell us about the radio version of La Voz?
Radio has been my passion since I started in journalism. Here in the United States, whenever I found an opportunity to do some sort of radio, I did it. Last year, in the summer of 2017, I was contacted by the new board that bought Radio Kingston from Townsquare Media and made Radio Kingston into a community radio station again. I was contacted to become a board member, which I did because I live in Kingston. I already had a weekly radio show elsewhere, but I wanted to make the show every day and get paid for doing it. On January 22, 2018 we started a daily show in Spanish for radio Kingston called La Voz, which goes from 10am until noon. I co-host the show with Antonio Flores-Lobos. We cover a different topic every day, and every day we have three or four guests. Monday is business and wellbeing; Tuesday is politics and health; Wednesday is education & family; Thursday is entertainment and environment; Friday is immigration and culture.
How does La Voz fit into the larger movement to revitalize the Hudson Valley?
Twenty percent of the population is Latino but you don’t see twenty percent of the news talking about that. The news it’s very negative about the border and the caravan and gangs. I think that by us occupying this space with inspirational and useful information we are empowering our readers to become happier members of the Hudson Valley and to connect better with the rest of the population.
What measures do you and your business take to support the local economy?
Mondays on the radio show are devoted to businesses. Every Monday we bring two or three business owners on the show to talk about what they do and how they do it. It promotes what they’re doing and also educates and inspires people. We also bring on organizations that help small businesses succeed.
Why did you decide to start using and accepting Currents?
I believe in the proposal that Chris Hewitt gave me. I think it’s a great idea to keep money local, and this is a good way of tying money to the local community. We have three new writers this year, and we are paying them in Currents.