Let's go back about a month. Federal immigration officials raided six Swift meat packing plants, including one in Worthington. There were 230 workers detained in that raid.
The day of the raids, a high school senior in St. Paul was checking his e-mail during computer class. Within hours, Juventino Meza learned the news was happening close to home.
“I don't have time to catch up on news because I get busy with my children, so I haven't known anything (about the raids).”Aida Vasquez
"I clicked on it, and it said, 'This happened in Worthington, this many people got arrested and it happened in this many states,'" Meza says.
Meza has many advantages getting the news of the day. He's bilingual and he has Internet access at school.
Now, let's fast forward three weeks. It's early January. A woman named Aida Vasquez juggles multiple jobs and a family. Listen to what she knows about the raids, nearly a month later.
"I work a lot and when I get home, I don't have time to catch up on news because I get busy with my children, so I haven't known anything," Vasquez says.
Many, like Vasquez, don't have the time to stay on top of the news even though there are a dozen Spanish-language newspapers and a handful of radio stations in the Twin Cities. For some, the obstacle is a busy life. But Alberto Monserrate, president of Latino Communications Network, says the challenge in accessing news goes beyond just a full work schedule.
"A substantial percentage of the Latino population, of the immigrant community, come from rural Mexico and have 4th, 5th grade education," says Monserrate.
Latino Communications Network (LCN) manages three publications, including La Prensa de Minnesota. All of the publications are published weekly. LCN also runs the radio station La Invasora. Monserrate says about a little over 100,000 Latinos access Spanish-language media. That's less than half of the Latino population in Minnesota. The remainder rely on a traditional and powerful source of information, Alberto Monserrate says.
"I'm from Puerto Rico, originally we call this Radio Bemba. Radio Bemba is word of mouth. That's probably the most popular way of disseminating information in our community'" he explains.
Word of mouth may be easy and fast, but it can be damaging. When there's important immigration news, Monserrate says word of mouth leads to misinformation. He says a lot of times, people will only read or listen to the headlines of a story. Then, they create their own interpretation of what happened and share with others what they think they know.
Take a woman named Guadalupe Salazar for example. She only remembers seeing the headlines and pictures of English-language newspapers the morning after the Swift raids. She also vaguely remembers what she heard on Univision, the largest Spanish-language television network in the country.
"I don't remember on which news program I heard the news about the raids. The news people said immigration had an order to arrest any Latinos on the street," Salazar says.
Misinterpretations like this worry the people who run Spanish-language media outlets in the Twin Cities, and this isn't just an isolated case. Spanish language media in states like California have the same concerns. Alberto Monserrate says a story like the Swift raids creates immediate reactions that can be tough to track.
"We got about 9 different calls on the day of the raids that weren't true. The rumor mills starts feeding itself," Monserrate says. "That's something very common in Latino culture. We have a responsibility to report accurately what's happening and as much as we want to warn people and let them know something is happening, we dismiss things that are not true."
Some Spanish media outlets didn't even use the term raid in Spanish. Manuel Robles, general manager at Radio Rey, another popular radio station in the Twin Cities, says that's because the word "raid" has different implications in Spanish.
"Maybe we interpret the word raid differently," Robles says. "For us, Mexicans, we understand that raids can happen anywhere, for any reason, and at any time or simply for being here illegally."
So Robles says using the Spanish word for raid would have given listeners inaccurate information about the Swift plant raids.
Both Robles from Radio Rey and Alberto Monserrate from Latino Communications Network, say when people panic over false immigration raids, they can overreact. Parents take their children out of school, people hide and some Latino businesses suffer because no one wants to be out. So many of the Spanish-language radio stations have tried to ease some of those fears by inviting lawyers, immigration officials, and police officers to talk as guests on their shows. They talk about what rights people have and they answer call-in questions about what both immigration and police officers can and cannot do.
Some people, especially those who speak little or no English, turn to another important source for their information: church.
On a recent evening, about 50 people cram in a small room at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Minneapolis. They sit against window sills and lean on doorways because there aren't enough seats for everyone. Church is a key place for many to learn about issues affecting their lives.
The Rev. Fredy Montero is one of the priests at Sacred Heart. Before he sends his crowd home with blessings, he makes two important announcements.
First, Montero tells parishioners about an immigration conference taking place in the Twin Cities this month. He encourages them to go and says the church will even provide transportation. Next, he tells them what do to if they're in the U.S. illegally and an officer stops them. He says they should ask for their case to go court which postpones immediate deportation. Montero says it's better than disappearing overnight.
Montero's service to the community reaches beyond his church walls. He hosts a radio show every Sunday morning to inform people about a range of issues. He's talked about what's happened in Worthington both on the show and at church.
"The first Sunday after the raids took place, I asked people at Church. 'Do you know what happened?'" Montero recalls. "And some said, 'No, what happened?' But eventually people caught up with the news, especially when they learned about food drives on the radio."
Montero says people come to church to fill in the gaps of information they often don't or can't get from Spanish-language newspapers. That's important, especially when most of the papers aren't published daily.
When members of the Latino community, particularly immigrants, go to church, pick up a newspaper, or turn on the radio, they're looking for more than just information. They see churches and Spanish language media as safe havens to express themselves, and look for comfort and help. That demand adds an a unique layer of responsibility to those charged with telling their stories.