Univision’s Urgent Sense of Purpose

DORAL, Fla. — Earlier this year, a rumor rippled through the large Hispanic community in northeast Miami, delivered through the WhatsApp text-messaging service: Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were hauling undocumented immigrants off to detention centers in buses. The “deportation force” President Trump promised during the campaign had finally arrived, it seemed.

Panicked callers turned to the source of information they rely upon above all others: Univision, the Spanish-language television network, which is aggressively tracking whether Mr. Trump makes good on his campaign vowto conduct the largest mass expulsion of modern times.

Journalists at Univision’s headquarters here started hitting the streets, calling contacts and analyzing a photograph of a supposed ICE bus in action.

No sweep was underway, they learned; the photo was from 2014.

Univision pumped out Facebook and Twitter posts debunking the rumor, posted a more detailed article on its website and produced a television package for its stations across the country. It repeated the exercise all over again when the same rumor emerged a few days later in Los Angeles.

Just another day covering President Trump’s America at Univision News.

By now you’ve probably heard that this is a golden age for journalism — how The New York Times and The Washington Post are warring for scoops in ways reminiscent of the Watergate era; how an information-hungry public is sending subscriptions and television news ratings soaring, reinvigorating journalists and reaffirming their mission (“Democracy Dies in Darkness” and all that).

But the story isn’t complete if it doesn’t include Univision News, one of the most striking examples I’ve seen all year of a news organization that is meeting the moment.

It is the leading news source for Hispanics in the United States, citizen and noncitizen alike — a core audience that has an almost existential stake in the Trump administration’s policies. These include moves to starve“sanctuary cities” of federal funds and to end the Obama-era attempt to protect from deportation the undocumented parents of citizen children — which, Univision was first to report, the administration did on Thursday.

Univision News has its own history with the president. Its anchor Jorge Ramos was the first journalist to be kicked out of a Trump event, after he tangled with Mr. Trump at a 2015 news briefing. Its corporate parent had already broken with Mr. Trump by then, over his campaign-opening proclamation that Mexico was exporting rapists, crime and drugs to the United States. (In response, Univision pulled out of showing Trump-owned beauty pageants; Mr. Trump retaliated with a lawsuit and a letter informing Univision that its personnel were no longer welcome at the Trump golf course here.)

Read More at The New York Times