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De hecho, no hay periodicos en Bend, Oregon

A Mexican-born woman confirmed, when I asked her, that there really are no Spanish-language newspapers in Bend Oregon in mid-2011 — even though there is a large hispanic population here now.

Newspapers are great for learning language. Journalism tends to convey information efficiently (accurately or not,) so it's the real deal, without much literary artifice. It's not as real as the spoken word; but unlike street language it's legible, so I can study it with a dictionary and a pen.

Unlike a book, I can write on a newspaper. Also, newspapers often discuss events that I can read about elsewhere in English, gaining basic knowledge of the topic.

[Nota bine: The newspaper-dictionary-notebook method is great for languages that are mostly phonetic. I don't think it would work so well with English or Chinese.]

Another reason that the lack of Spanish-language newspapers bothers me is that I wonder what this implies about how comfortable Hispanic people feel here.

I know — because I read newspapers — that there's a vein of extraordinary ignorance in the American psyche that makes people of a certain mindset lockstep in agreement; and many agree that immigrants are the reason that stupid fat white people are pissed off.

I wonder if it could be that Hispanic-Americans here in Central Oregon do not feel comfortable being open about their cultural heritage, and don't feel entirely safe buying or selling Spanish-language publications.

It's a terrible thought, but unfortunately I think it deserves consideration.

Naturally, one must also remember that print journalism has been in decline recently and that news in any language is available online — on telephones, even, these days.