In our opinion: Viva El Observador!

Published: Saturday, Jan. 30 2010 12:38 a.m. MST

Patricia Quijano Dark is the editor of the Spanish-language newspaper El Observador, which will begin publication Feb. 9.

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Next month, Deseret Management Corp. (which includes the Deseret News) will roll out a new Spanish-language newspaper. El Observador will be published three times a week, with the weekend edition emphasizing features, family and entertainment.

Patricia Quijano Dark — a savvy and experienced journalist — will be working the point for the new paper.

Some, of course, may greet this news with trepidation. They have seen the influx of Spanish speakers in the state and feel a shift in the status quo. Some worry that they themselves may be marginalized unless they learn Spanish along with a new array of customs and cultures.

They fear the state they know and love is being undermined.

These are all groundless fears.

The publication of El Observador is not a threat to Utah culture but an expansion of it. Utah has a long and storied history of making room for people. The recent growth of the Latino population is not a "problem"; it is an opportunity — for them and for longtime Utahns.

It is an opportunity to learn how people are different, but more important, how we are so much alike in our needs and desires.

The new publication will be an opportunity for advertisers and public service workers to expand their reach and bring some people out of the shadows.

It will help more Utahns find common ground.

Many residents of Utah currently have no forum. El Observador will give the Spanish speakers among those a chance to chime in on political, religious and personal issues.

It will keep Spanish speakers abreast of news not only in their home countries, but in their home counties.

It will give them — and others — a "public square" to share ideas, learn ways to help their families and become a productive part of the regional fabric.

The little newspaper will bring people closer together, not drive them farther apart.

We look forward to El Observador and the quality reporting, advertising and opinions it will contain.

Everyone is welcome in Utah. Everyone deserves a voice and deserves to receive understandable information.

El Observador will supply those needs, and many, many more.

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