CCN to launch El Observador for area's Hispanic community

Wednesday, July 7, 2004
Hector Amparo

Carroll County's first Hispanic newspaper -- El Observador -- will be launched July 22 to serve the burgeoning Spanish-speaking community, Bob Moore, Carroll County Newspapers publisher announced today.

"El Observador (The Observer) will meet a need that has for too long gone unmet here," Moore said. "We have wanted to help inform the Hispanic community with its own newspaper for some time, but the pieces to the puzzle didn't fit until very recently."

Moore cited statistics from the 2000 U.S. Census which reported that Carroll County's Hispanic community had grown to more than 10 percent of the county's population, one-fifth of Berryville's population and fully one-third of Green Forest's population.

"It's a community that deserves its own newspaper, delivered in the language which is still spoken in its homes," Moore said.

The key piece to that puzzle was finding the right bi-lingual journalist with local connections who could identify with the local Hispanic community and relate to them the important untold stories in their language. That person turned out to be Hector Amparo.

After a series of meetings with Hector, Moore said, it became clear he knew the area well and was interested in becoming the lead figure in the creation of El Observador.

"I feel fortunate to have a journalist of Hector's caliber join our staff," Moore said. "His education and experience will serve the community well as we begin this exciting venture."

Amparo was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and attended the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, where he majored in journalism and minored in social science and human resources.

From 1966 to 2003, he was news anchor for the Noti-Tiempo, one of the Dominican Republic's news radio networks. Amparo travelled extensively while covering government affairs for the radio network, travelling with the nation's leaders on trips throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. Amparo also served as director of public relations for the national customs office.

Amparo, his wife, Daisy Josefina Maria, and their three children moved in 2003 to Ridgedale, Mo. They attend church in Berryville.

Amparo, along with staff addition Amber FitzSimon, who helps in translating English news stories into Spanish, have delved into the workings of the Hispanic community and have discovered a rich, vibrant culture whose members are ready and willing to offer their stories.

"Our goal is to become a favorite medium for Hispanics, not only in content, but also as a convenient way to express their complaints, worries and needs," Amparo said.

The free monthly publication will be distributed in businesses all over Carroll County and in adjacent counties in northwest Arkansas and bordering counties in Missouri.

Anyone wishing to discuss items of interest with Hector Amparo may call (870) 423-6636 on Wednesdays and Fridays, when he and FitzSimons are in the Berryville office, or (870) 480-9439 anytime.

A special event to kick off the first issue of El Observador is tentatively scheduled for July 22. Further details of the celebration will be forthcoming.

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