Since it was launched in January 2014, readership of ISKCON News’ Spanish language sister website ISKCON Noticias (noticias.iskcon.org) has increased rapidly, now reaching around 7,000 every week, and growing.
Readers are more far-flung, too. Although most hailed from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay when the site was first launched, today there are also readers in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Spain, as well as Spanish-speakers in the USA.
“We even have many Brazilian readers, because Spanish and Portuguese are so similar,” says managing editor Baladeva Das, who also serves as the Communications Director for ISKCON Argentina.
With ISKCON News in English being read in the USA, Canada, the UK, India, Australia, and New Zealand, and Russian Facebook page “Krishna Novosti” translating the site’s articles for the Russian-speaking audience, this means a large percentage of devotees around the world are now connected with each other and aware of ISKCON’s international activities.
Baladeva Das hard at work on ISKCON Noticias
ISKCON Noticias gives added value to its Spanish-speaking audience -- it is creative and innovative in and of itself, with only fifty per cent of its content translated from its English language equivalent.
The rest is news specifically about ISKCON’s activities in the Spanish-speaking world, written by ISKCON Noticias’ own team of talented writers.
Meanwhile the website also has unique sections not featured on ISKCON News’ English-language website, including a vegetarian recipes section contributed to by readers, a weekly jokes column, a crossword page, and a “News in photographs” section.
“We try to make sure we have something for all kinds of readers,” says Baladeva.
ISKCON Noticias is also technologically innovative, intelligently adapting to the format of the device it’s being read on, whether it’s a computer, smartphone or iPad. The site is also available in a new and attractive digital magazine format called Flipboard, allowing it to be read like a tranditional magazine by “turning” pages. What’s more, it has developed a presence on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
In the future, Baladeva and his co-workers plan to create a links system that will allow readers to click through to a relevant quote in Prabhupada’s books when reading a news article. They also plan to introduce a new section for GBC resolutions, so that Spanish-speaking devotees can not only read the latest resolutions by ISKCON’s governing body, but also consult previous years’ resolutions.
“Often devotees don’t know about these important resolutions,” says Baladeva. “We feel that it is important to preserve Srila Prabhupada’s mission in this way.”
In the meantime, of course, ISKCON Noticias plans to keep increasing readership.
“Many Spanish-speaking devotees are now more in touch with what’s happening all around the world, whether it’s how book distribution is going in Africa, or how devotees or distributing Prasad in a Chilean prison,” Baladeva says. “And by reading about all these international activities, they can become more enthusiastic in their own service to Srila Prabhupada.”[ iskcon ] [ noticias ] [ spanish ]