On December 17, as the news broke of President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba, the Martís carried the breaking story live to the island. Reporters and staff in the Martí newsroom deftly reported on U.S. contractor Alan Gross’s release, while preparing for the historic simultaneous speeches by President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.
Obama’s speech was carried live with Spanish translation on Radio and TV Martí, as well as streamed online on martinoticias.com. In addition, more than 20,000 SMS messages were sent to Cuban subscribers, and a special edition of the digital newsletter El Pitirre was distributed via email to hundreds of thousands of recipients.
Alan Gross’s press conference, as well as reaction from Cuban-American lawmakers, analysts and citizens in Cuba, was covered on all the Martí platforms.
That evening, TV Martí held a special edition of its 5pm newscast “Antena Live,” and for the next several days Radio Martí hosted special programming to debate the specific details of the rapprochement, discuss the impact of these changes and clear up confusion that had developed on the island as a result of Cuban media’s coverage.
Online, martinoticias.com received more than 75,000 page views that day, by more than 27,000 visitors. The network’s social media profiles were also reaching significant audiences. One story alone on the Martinoticias Facebook page got more than 79,000 views and was shared, liked or commented on 1,763 times. And on Twitter, links to Martí stories received almost 40,000 impressions and were clicked on more than 800 times.
In the weeks following, the Cuban government provided few details on the agreement and as a result, rumors and confusion have spread widely. The Martís have responded by examining in-depth the key components of the new policy and providing perspective on how it will affect daily life.
In stark contrast to the Cuban state media’s coverage, the Martís are providing on-going, balanced information and analysis, with perspectives from US government officials, human rights experts and citizens from the U.S. and Cuba. Voices supporting the decision, as well as those in opposition of the measure, are equally represented.
A special section on martinoticias.com’s front page is devoted to the on-going coverage this historic event and its ramifications. The section will also serve as an archive of all related content developed by each of the Martí platforms.