Hispanic Nets Gear Up for Election Day

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As the presidential campaign enters its final, crucial days, another heated competition is taking place in the Hispanic media, with cable, broadcasters and digital properties vying to offer the most comprehensive election coverage to the U.S.’s Latino population.

A record 12 million of the more than 22 million Latino registered voters are expected to vote in this year’s election. What’s more, the Hispanic vote is expected to be crucial in such battleground states as Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

In the past few days, both Telemundo and Univision have made headlines, landing exclusive interviews and special events with both President Obama, the Democratic incumbent, and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.

This week, Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart sat down for a one-on-one conversation with Romney, an interview that first aired Sept. 17 on Noticiero Telemundo. A week earlier, Díaz-Balart had landed the first Spanish-language interview granted by President Obama since the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Telemundo’s Obama interview was conducted Sept. 12 in Las Vegas and aired Sept. 13 on several Telemundo shows, as well as on NBCUniversal sibling MSNBC. An extended version aired the following Sunday on the network’s Sunday public-affairs show, Enfoque con Jose Diaz-Balart.

“We are extremely proud to provide our viewers with exclusive access to both President Obama and Governor Romney,” Sylvia Rosabal, senior VP of news at Telemundo, said. “We believe Hispanics will play a major role in the upcoming election and want to hear from both candidates on the issues that impact their daily lives.”

Not to be outdone, Univision this week will host Meet the Candidate, a two-part series in partnership with Facebook that will feature conversations with Romney on Sept. 19 and Obama on Sept. 20. At press time, Univision anchors Maria Elena Salinas and Jorge Ramos were rehearsing the first interview, which was to take place in front of a live audience in Miami.

“Hispanics will play a key role in electing the next president of the United States, and these events will help address key issues so that the more than 20 million Hispanics expected to vote this year can make an informed decision,” Cesar Conde, president of Univision Networks, said in a statement announcing this week’s events.

Also preparing for Election Day on Nov. 6 is CNN en Español. The network is devoting extra resources and personnel to covering this year’s election, which the network will be coordinating for the first time in CNN’s Atlanta Studio 7.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties, which displayed an unprecedented number of Hispanic speakers during their recent National Conventions, are expected to campaign heavily in swing states where the Latino vote can make the difference.

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