In Depth

Peabody Award Winners: Univision Communications, ‘Ya Es Hora’ (IT’S TIME)

With the 2008 presidential campaign shaping up a a watershed moment in U.S. politics, Univision Communications is being acknowledged for outstanding public service for the role it is playing with multipronged citizenship and get-out-the-vote efforts in hundreds of Spanish-speaking communities throughout the U.S.

The network will take home the Peabody Award for “Ya Es Hora,” translating to “It’s Time,” a national citizenship and civic engagement campaign done in collaboration with hundreds of Latino-serving organizations across the country.

Univision’s efforts, which began in January 2007, are part of an unprecedented national civic engagement campaign developed to inform, educate and motivate Latinos to participate in the American political dialogue.

The first phase of the campaign involved getting eligible permanent legal residents to apply for U.S. citizenship, and the results were staggering. In the first 12 months, more than 1 million people applied to become American citizens.

The second phase focused on getting voters registered to vote in the primaries; the ongoing third phase involves voter mobilization efforts.

“Each phase of the campaign had elements woven through television, radio and interactive,” said Cesar Conde, chief strategy officer and executive VP of Univision Communications. “The PSAs leveraged our talent, not only bringing information through the airwaves but through grass-roots efforts in the last mile, touching people through places in their daily lives. The campaign was intertwined in all daily programming, promoted by celebrities and influencers.”

Since it began last year, the public service campaign has secured more than 400 local community-based organizations as partners; generated more than 40,000 calls to the toll-free 888-Ve-Y-Vota number; driven more than 94,000 unique visits to www.ya; distributed 110,000-plus brochures; and conducted more than 200 citizenship workshops.
Major organizations joining with Univision include the National Council of la Raza, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, the Service Employees International Union and ImpreMedia.

“We’re all so excited to receive the Peabody,” said Mr. Conde. “It is a tremendous honor and a recognition of our hard work, and our commitment to support the community. To understand the impetus, Univision has always been regarded as a champion and defender of Hispanic culture and empowerment since its inception 40 years ago. The involvement in issues like education, health care and civic engagement are core to what we do in our day-to-day business.”

It may be that the most exciting phase of the campaign lies ahead in the next few months. “We know the Hispanic vote is the fastest-growing part of the U.S. electorate, and is particularly impactful in states where Hispanics have an outsize influence,” said Mr. Conde. “We are grateful to see that the candidates have made an effort to reach out, and for our part, we hosted the first-ever Spanish-language debates for Democrats and Republicans to provide candidates with the ability to speak directly to the audience. That made a huge difference. We believe the Hispanic community will have an outsized ability to help elect the next president of the United States.”