Democratic candidate HillaryClinton and Republican hopeful Donald Trump will square off Sept. 26 fromHofstra University, in the first of three presidential debates. Award-winning journalistJosé Díaz-Balart, with an assist from 15 correspondents and analysts fromaround the country, will head Telemundo(US)'s multiplatform coverage. Díaz-Balart discussed the -ownedSpanish-language network's plans for Monday night's "La Gran Batalla"with S&P Global Market Intelligence. An edited transcript follows.
S&P Global MarketIntelligence: It's been a long campaign. By the time all is said and done,Telemundo will devote around 275 hours to the 2016 election cycle, right?
José Díaz-Balart: That's sounds about right.The Hispanic community has been targeted and thrust into the issues from theoutset. And they keep getting pulled back into the campaign. The Latinoaudience is well informed on immigration and many other issues.
How critical is the 2016election to Latinos?
Thereare 56 million U.S. Latinos, the overwhelming majority of whom are nowU.S.-born. About 53,000 are born in the U.S. every month. Latinos represent alarge, growing constituency, an expanding economic force with more than $1.3trillion in spending power. The election is important and impactful for all ofus today and in the years ahead.
Despite the rise inpopulation, the ratio of eligible Latino Americans who vote has remained flatover the years. About 48% voted during the 2012 election, the same as in 1988.
Latinosdo not participate as much as they should. Under Telemundo's #YODECIDO publicservice initiative, we have registration drives in 15 markets. I saw thatfirsthand in Houston before our presentation of the Republican debate [on Feb.25]. We must have added 200 to 300 new registrants. We all need to do more workhere. We have not seen the number of Latino voters we should.
What's the coverage plan forthe first presidential debate?
I'msuper-excited. It's a continuation of the process that has extended for over ayear now. It's been an unusual campaign. We're going to focus our currentaffairs show on Sunday on the debate.
Wewill have a pre-debate show on Monday, followed by a simultaneous Spanishtranslation live from Hofstra at 9 p.m. Then, we'll have post-debate analysis,including possible repercussions for the Latino vote on the campaigns.
What's your expectation forTelemundo's debate audience?
Weexpect a huge multiplatform audience. Latinos over-index against digital,mobile and social media. We'll be live on Telemundo, Telemundo.com, theNoticias Telemundo mobile app and the Noticias Telemundo Facebook and YouTubepages. Telemundo has been the No. 1 [Spanish-language] network among adults 18to 49 for nine weeks now in prime time. That's not a fluke; it's a narrative.
Telemundo is integratinginteractive platform Microsoft Pulseinto the coverage?
MicrosoftPulse is a real-time communication. It will let us know what they think aboutthe debate, how they are feeling and reacting to what the candidates say. Itshould provide us with significant insights from the community.
So, viewers will be able tosee this information on TV, online and mobile?
Inthe past they had to go to online, now they can engage on mobile. Our audiencelives on mobile.
Onthe night of the Chelsea bombing in New York City, I had just finishedanchoring "Nightly News." We heard about the activity and headed overthere and broadcast several live reports from Chelsea. Over 380,000 watched onthe Noticias Telemundo Facebook page and overwhelmingly they accessed it viamobile devices.
You were the only U.S. anchorin Mexico for Trump's meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in lateAugust.
Iprovided coverage for Telemundo and multiple segments for . There has been astrong, symbiotic relationship with Telemundo, MSNBC and during this cycle. Weprovided coverage from the Hillary Clinton-Bernie Sanders town hall meetingfrom Las Vegas [on Feb. 18] on Telemundo and MSNBC. Working across the networksis also very important for Latinos who are English-dominant.
What is Telemundo's role asthe election process enters the home stretch?
Telemundohas been in hyper-drive during this election cycle. It's our job to present thenews with passion and compassion. Our job is to inform, not dictate. Latinoshave a hunger for information. The candidates know the vote is in Latinos'hands. Latinos will help inform the decisions that are made on Nov. 8.