Fernando Diaz has a prodigious news appetite, and it is focused on identifying stories around which he can anchor Chicago-based stories that appeal to Hoy’s local, national and international audiences. “Hispanics have access to satellite television and Spanish news from all over; what they don’t have is enough news from Chicago,” Diaz says. “Our goal is to be the Chicago gateway to news of all kinds for Hispanic readers—especially young, bilingual Hispanics comfortable in an English-dominant world.”
Diaz’s quest begins at 6:00 a.m. when he wakes up and picks up his iPhone. Before breakfast he has reviewed email posts from a dozen or so different newspapers, recent twitter posts and a set of news aggregators, such as FlipBoard, Google Currents, or AOL Editions that have been especially formatted for easy reading on iPhones and iPads.
After his iPhone, Diaz picks up his laptop and uses it to access a wide variety of news outlets ranging from the Chicago Tribune to the New York Times, Reuters, and Huffington Post, as well as leading Spanish-language news outlets around the world.
Estimating that he obtains only 30 to 40 percent of his Chicago-specific news online, Diaz says that a wide variety of print publications are a necessity in order to stay abreast of the competition and spot potential news stories of interest to larger audiences. Regular print reads include Lawndale News, Extra, La Raza and El Dia, Redeye, Chicago Journal and the Reader. Online, Gapers Block, Beachwood Reporter and the Chicago Reporter are also important go-to sources. At night he watches local television, which he has recorded during the day. He only listens to radio in the car and then only WBBM-AM.
Email also plays a critical role in Diaz’s news diet. Locally, he follows Progress Illinois, Beachwood Reporter and Gapers Block. Other favorite newsletters include: CQ Behind the Lines, Gorkana, mediabistro, muckraker.com and Personal Democracy Forum.
All this doesn’t leave much time for social media during work hours. “I super-size in the morning and then update at lunch and during the evening.”
Does Diaz feel well informed about Chicago issues? “No, there is just so damn much going on. Everyday I drink from the fire hose, and every day the hose gets bigger and bigger.”
Guilty pleasures? When he has time Diaz pursues his interest in how print design works and looks, by taking screen grabs and mocking up stories for apps that he hopes to build sometime in the future. “Content is not enough; you need a platform where people want to get that content.”
By Valerie Denney