La Prensa: Pioneering Latino newspaper.: Becoming Minnesotan

Mario Duarte, 2011. Minnesota Historical Society, Oral History Office files.
  • Name - Mario Duarte
  • Age at interview - 72
  • Gender - Male
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 09.17.2010
  • Mario Duarte working in Minnesota, c.1980. Minnesota Historical Society.

    We Are Here

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    Essential Question

    We Are Here: What does it mean to this immigrant group to be here in America?

    Contributions: How is America better off because of this group of immigrants?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    The Latino community in Minnesota is large and diverse, with people from many different countries and with different backgrounds. A newspaper can be a great way to spread information and build community for a group like this!

    To learn more about Latino history and culture, visit our Latino Community page.

    • Chapter 1

    Download Mario Duarte 4
    2:53 Minutes | 2.77Mb


    Narrator: Mario Duarte (MD)

    MD: I saw the need of a means of communication for the Latino community, because we didn’t have anything at that time. So I quit my job with the Centro Cultural Chicano. I start from zero La Prensa. I started to do La Prensa, which is a bilingual newspaper. I was selling the advertising, collecting the advertising, working at the typesetting, putting the paper together, making distribution. [Laughter] But, little by little, the people started to recognize my efforts. Some people in the beginning did not want to believe what I was doing. They told me I was crazy. There was only about three Latinos that are still my friends, they say, “No. You’re right, Mario. Go ahead. We support you.” The rest say I was crazy. Yes, a Latino newspaper in Minnesota. But I think we did it. We did it pretty good.

    Well, La Prensa was the pioneer of the Latino newspapers in the State of Minnesota. I’m so proud because we put the Latinos on the map in Minnesota. I started to look for good stories. Why I started La Prensa is because, at that time all that you read in the big media about Latino was bad things. You know, Latinos on drugs and crimes and robbering. And I told myself, “Well, there’s good people in the Latino community.” I decided if I start a newspaper, I’m going to find good stories. That’s what we did through the years, was try to find good stories from the people that were doing good jobs, something positive for the community, not only in the Latino community, the community in general.

    I had the opportunity to work direct with people who came here for a master’s degree at different colleges like Hamline. And when they went back to their country, Chile or Colombia or Venezuela, they were my correspondent. And we were working very close to those people. So we had a different input. We were giving to the community, the Latino community, what the Latino people wanted to see, want to read from the real reporting, from real stories happening there. We got it direct from those people. That was very good. Because we had a correspondent in Chile, again, and Colombia and Panama and El Salvador and Mexico. We had it, and that was a different concept about the other papers.

    Related Glossary Terms


    Adjective: Having the ability to speak two languages.


    Noun: The exchange of information between different parties.


    Noun:  A group of people who share a common understanding of the same language, manners, tradition and law.


    Noun:  An idea; an understanding; a generalization.


    Noun: A journalist who sends reports to his newspaper or radio or television station from a distant or overseas location.


    Noun:  Information and opinions added into something. 


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 2197