In the mid-1990s, one of my lifetime dreams came true: I was hired as a reporter for La Opinion newspaper.
By this time, La Opinion was Los Angeles' sole, Spanish-language daily (during the 1980s there were three Spanish dailies in the city). It already was much more than a paper: it was a legend, a mythopoeic publication that stood tall among Latino immigrant readers in Southern California with a well-deserved respect across the nation.
For its readers, the paper was a beacon of ethics and truth in the midst of a darkness that kept mostly immigrant Spanish readers out of mainstream America (during the 1930s the paper did seminal coverage of the repatriation and deportation of Mexicans). It was a source of pride that a Spanish-language newspaper covered stories not only in their language, but with an angle that mattered to them.
For most Latino journalists, it was the culmination of a dream to be part of its ranks.
La Opinion had bureaus in Sacramento, Washington D.C. and Mexico City. It was a landmark. It rivaled and sometimes bested the Los Angeles Times on many stories, especially when it came to Latino coverage.
The woman in charge of all of this was Menica Lozano.
The heir of a long, respected newspaper dynasty that went back to the Mexican Civil War--something veritably unique in the country and the world-Lozano led her team in covering Los Angeles in ways that had never been done before and, in the current, sad state of Latino publications, perhaps never again will.
The L.A. Riots, several presidential elections, the...