Univision, city put out word on education
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 21, 2004 12:00 AM
PHOENIX - Those tuning in to Univision Thursday night for their daily dose of
Spanish-language news or the latest installment of their favorite telenovela
(soap opera) also will get a taste of higher education thanks to 33 a Su Lado, a
public-service partnership between the network and the city.
Starting about 4:30 p.m., the station, which airs on Channel 33 or cable Channel
19, will run 30-second public-service announcements listing a bilingual phone
number (602) 534-2758 for information on scholarships, registration and college
requirements. News segments also will highlight the city's efforts to provide
bilingual assistance to those interested in attending college.
Launched in 2002, the project is the brainchild of Gerardo Higginson, senior
assistant to Mayor Phil Gordon and a former Telemundo news anchor. Its goal is
to disseminate information on city services and resources among the city's
burgeoning Latino community. Previous 33 a Su Lado campaigns included police
services, drowning prevention, domestic-violence resources and neighborhood code
"We needed to do something like this because the city has many great programs,
that many people don't know about because language can be a barrier when trying
to get that information out," he said. "The response has been fantastic, between
1,000 to 1,600 calls each time."
Initially, the education campaign focused on dropout prevention to help
counteract the high Latino dropout rate, which is double that of White students
in Arizona. But as more callers phoned seeking higher-education advice, the need
to expand the campaign became obvious, said Deborah Dillon, the city's education
"When ASU heard we were getting a lot of higher-ed questions, they offered to
work with us," she said. "This is our second higher-ed event with ASU."
About 15 bilingual Arizona State University counselors will be on hand with
bilingual employees of the city's Youth and Education Program to help man the
24-line phone bank. A 24-hour voice mail ensures that no calls are missed.
"We'll get calls months after the events, which speaks of the power of
television," said Marcos Najera, Creative Director of know99 Television, the
city's education channel. "The Latino community really supports this."
Still, Latinos aren't the only ones who benefit from the public-service
campaign, said Marco A. Flores, news director for Univision Arizona.
"When we did the code violations campaign, we received about 200 calls from
non-Latinos who don't typically tune in to Univision," Flores said. "That
surprised me a bit because our target audience is Spanish speakers.
"But it's great because it's about helping as many people in the community
as you can."