Univision's Ramos Seeks New Audiences On Facebook — And Draws Millions Broadcasting in both English and Spanish with Facebook's new live-streaming tool, one of the nation's most recognizable anchors has found millions of viewers.
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Univision's Ramos Seeks New Audiences On Facebook — And Draws Millions

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Univision's Ramos Seeks New Audiences On Facebook — And Draws Millions

Univision's Ramos Seeks New Audiences On Facebook — And Draws Millions

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, someone else who's been going toe-to-toe with Donald Trump. He's not a candidate. Jorge Ramos is one of the most-watched TV anchors in the country. He hosts news programs on the Spanish-language network Univision and the English-language cable channel Fusion. Ramos has been out on the campaign trail this year talking to voters, and NPR's David Folkenflik reports he's also drawing millions of new viewers on Facebook.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: I caught sight of Jorge Ramos on primary day outside Merrimack High School in New Hampshire.

JORGE RAMOS: We have to walk all the way because there's a line of cars. It would've taken another hour.

FOLKENFLIK: New Hampshire has few Latinos, but many people recognize Ramos right away, including this supporter of Donald Trump talking to Ramos while he was live-streaming on a Univision Facebook page.

RAMOS: Hi. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Hi. Aren't you cold from Miami, yeah?

RAMOS: I am really cold.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yeah.

RAMOS: Yeah.

FOLKENFLIK: Ramos has challenged Trump's plan to build a huge wall along the border with Mexico and deport 11 million people who are in the U.S. without legal status. Back in August, Trump tossed Ramos out of a press conference.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: Sit down.

RAMOS: (Inaudible).

TRUMP: Go ahead.

RAMOS: I have the right to ask a question.

TRUMP: No, you don't. You haven't been called.

RAMOS: I have the right to have ask a question.

TRUMP: Go back to Univision.

FOLKENFLIK: Ramos has expanded beyond Univision and Fusion to attract new audiences on social media through a new feature called Facebook Live. Ramos's coverage there is raw, streamed live without editing. If the wireless connection drops, so does the broadcast.

RAMOS: When people see the process at night on network news, they see the refined product, the final product. And I think they're kind of tired of that. The want to see the real thing, and this is the real thing.

FOLKENFLIK: Facebook says 2.6 million people watch Ramos's videos on the night of the Iowa caucuses. His videos on New Hampshire's primary day drew more than 4 million viewers. Those figures rival or exceed cable news audiences.

RAMOS: Look; I've been doing this for 30 years, and suddenly, I'm - I just have here a cell phone and broadcasting everything on a cell phone.

FOLKENFLIK: He said they're going where the audience is. I called over Dax Tejera. He's the executive producer of "AMERICA With Jorge Ramos," which runs on Fusion.

Dax - you join us for a sec? Whose idea was this particular project?

DAX TEJERA: It was our idea.

RAMOS: It was your idea. You told me - you went to my office and said, we have to report, but let's do it only on Facebook.

TEJERA: Yeah, and look. What we've known all the time for Fusion is that if we try to compete with CNN or Fox and do their ideas for our audience, it won't work because that model has been tried, tested, and they've perfected it. So we constantly think about who our audience is and where they are, and it was increasingly clear to us that people were coming to see us through Facebook and that when Facebook Live became an option, it was a no-brainer, I think.

FOLKENFLIK: During the live streams, Ramos often toggles back and forth between Spanish and English. The question of language and identity surfaced as Ramos talked with Mike Malzone, a local contractor and Merrimack Tea Party activist. He had been standing in the cold for hours, holding a poster for Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE MALZONE: He brought heaters and coffee for everyone, and we don't really - we gave something to everyone that was here because we're not haters. We respect the process.

RAMOS: It's interesting that you say, we're not haters because some people might think that Mexicans, Muslims, women might not be welcome.

MALZONE: Oh, disagree.

FOLKENFLIK: Then Malzone turned the question back on Ramos and Univision.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MALZONE: I was disappointed with your station for quite some time because I could never SAP your station in English, and it's only been...

RAMOS: Now you can do it, right?

MALZONE: Yeah, but it's only been the last couple years.

RAMOS: Exactly.

FOLKENFLIK: SAP - that's the way to receive translation of Univision's Spanish newscasts into English in real time.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MALZONE: That's not right. I couldn't SAP that in English. That wasn't cool, Man, right? But is that racism?

RAMOS: No, it's not racism. We simply broadcast in Spanish. That's all.

MALZONE: Yeah, but...

RAMOS: But now I'm almost - also working for Fusion, so you can watch whatever we do in both English and...

MALZONE: It's about time. Thank God.

FOLKENFLIK: Ramos later told me he valued the contentious exchange with Malzone.

RAMOS: I don't have the prompter or the lights or the set. It's the nature of our business - is true reporting and seeing.

FOLKENFLIK: It was all right there for anyone to see. David Folkenflik, NPR News.

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