Never before have America’s Hispanic voters had the clout in the voting booth they had in the 2016 presidential race. And there, at the nexus of the issues and the ballot, was FoxNewsLatino.com, the most visited English language web platform for news of interest to Latinos.
“The Hispanic voting block is an important one, which candidates looking to seek higher office cannot ignore,” observed Francisco Cortes, the man behind FoxNewsLatino.com. His reporters at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions were assigned to provide a unique, fair and balanced look into what each camp’s outreach toward Hispanic communities looked like.
“Each camp had different messaging on immigration and a path to citizenship as well as other issues affecting our communities and it was important for us to shine a light on those issues,” Cortes said.
Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, where he learned the importance of hard work and family values, Cortes is credited with innovative ideas and skillful use of technology that have led to groundbreaking news coverage and reporting. Cortes has contributed to award-winning programming for both broadcast and online audiences. The first journalist chosen to participate in the Roger Ailes Apprenticeship Program at Fox News, Cortes rose through the ranks to become the first Latino Vice President in the media giant’s history. He spent his early years in the Bronx, and today joins other commuters traveling to Manhattan each day from his home in New Jersey.
When asked about the challenges and opportunities he faced when launching FoxNewsLatino.com in 2010, he noted it was a first-of-its kind platform for the news organization.
“This presented me with amazing opportunities to connect with my community on several issues not covered by mainstream media,” Cortes recalled. “Once I received approval to launch the site I was given a three-month deadline to hire an entire team of journalists. This was no easy task but we got it done and launched the same day as the famous Chilean miner rescue in October of 2010 which provided us with much visibility.”
With multiple Latino news outlets now providing the news in the English language, has competition been difficult for Fox News Latino?
“Since 2010, many other companies have tried to launch similar initiatives and have then abandoned the space,” Cortes pointed out. “We continue to speak and report on Latino issues because our community is vibrant and important. Latino Americans contribute greatly to our society, from small business owners, communities, veterans, teachers, students. Our story is rich in culture and history and deserves to be told and shared with journalistic excellence and that is where Fox News Latino stands out from everyone else in the space.”
Cortes is proud of his years serving in the U.S. Army and believes the skills he learned there have helped him succeed in the competitive media field.
“As a U.S. Army veteran I learned teamwork, discipline, hard work and how to handle and manage crises,” he said. “All of these skills have proven to aid me as a journalist and executive who deals with constant deadlines and decision-making during news cycles.”
As the first Hispanic to hold the position of Vice President in the news division at Fox News, Cortes is aware he will be seen as a role model for other Latinos in media and business in general.
“Being born in a small town in Puerto Rico and now working in one of the largest media companies in the world is humbling,” he concluded. “I have been incredibly fortunate to be mentored by some of the best minds and professionals in the industry within Fox News. It is for that very reason that I have been able to achieve such success. I do make it a point to pay it forward and mentor younger Latinos and journalists who are looking to get into the news business. My goal and hope is for others following to do more and achieve more than what I have and continue to pay it forward.”
By Vince Baglivo