Immigration, health, where to access health care and women's issues.
Q: Tell us about yourself and how you started Mundo Hispano.
I was born in Peru, Lima, in South America, and then we moved to Venezuela, and that's where I went to high school and a little bit of university. Part of the life of an immigrant is to try to adapt to a new environment, and it's sometimes hurtful because you want to study something, and you're in a different country. I moved from Salt Lake City, Utah, and moved over to this area and my business was printing envelopes and things. When I was knocking on doors to start my business, I noticed that there were quite a few Hispanics in the places I was going, and there was no information that they could reach. It was in front of them, but in English, so it was invisible to them.
[The paper] started in September 1999 with 1,500 copies, black and white on legal size paper, folded in half, and it started growing. Since then we've been going steadily up, and now we print 30,000 copies a month. I started the paper initially in Spanish, and when I received the nice response of the people, then the second issue turned bilingual...giving them the idea that if we're in America, we need to learn the language. It started in Knoxville, and now it's in half of the state; we go to Nashville, all the way to the east. As we started growing, we tried to find where the Hispanics are, and we found out that they were in small chunks here and another chunk there, and they were not aware of each other. So my mission statement became to link to them so they know what's happening in Knoxville and other little communities.
Q: Are you able to be self-sufficient off the paper's revenue alone?
The first three years, it was just red numbers, but there were a lot of moments of change in those three years to try to keep this business and this newspaper alive. After our third year, the red numbers just disappeared, and now we are making money. It's just a baby of a business, but being the only bilingual in the area, the heart of this and the beauty of it is that we're benefiting so many people that are immigrants to this area. The growth is something that I cannot stop.
Q: What topics do you tend to cover?
Immigration, health, where to access health care and women's issues. We've also got information about what's happening at the Capitol with legislation, and what's happening with jobs, and we try to get the info on how to be more successful at getting a job.
For more information, or to access an online edition of Mundo Hispano , go to www.mundohispanotn.com .