Brenda Murphy’s company has provided Spanish-language news to the community for nearly two decades.
The job of any good journalist is to keep people informed, and that is the service Jambalaya News has provided for the Hispanic community in the New Orleans area since 2004.
Kenner resident Brenda Murphy is the owner and CEO of Jambalaya News. She also fills many roles at the publication, including reporter and photographer. After moving to the U.S. from Honduras in 1996, Murphy noticed the local Spanish-language news coverage was lacking. So, she started Jambalaya News in 2004, originally to cover sports.
After the levee failures following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, local sports were put on hold. Murphy pivoted and Jambalaya News began covering all kinds of news. And so it has continued through the years. A print issue is published on the 18th of every month. Approximately 17,000 copies are distributed to 17 parishes throughout south central Louisiana. There is a website, JambalayaNews.com, and a Facebook page with approximately 77,000 followers. The website includes a link to Jambalaya News’ radio station, with close to 20,000 listeners a month, which can also be listened to on the TuneIn app.
The mission of Jambalaya News is to keep the Hispanic community informed. This has been especially important in recent years as events like hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic have plagued the Greater New Orleans Area. An immigrant who can speak enough English to get by in simple daily interactions may not fully understand everything that is being said during a press conference. Providing Spanish-language news can literally be a lifesaving resource in an event like a hurricane.
“People see Jambalaya News as a bridge for the (Hispanic) community to connect with our local governments,” Murphy said.
Murphy said she is proud of the fact that Jambalaya News has been the only Spanish-speaking publication present at these news conferences. She pushed local government officials to provide Spanish-language information to their constituents. She noted in recent years that New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards both started using Spanish-language translators at their press conferences.
Jambalaya News is a partner with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana, with an annual collaboration agreement including airtime and print to promote the organization’s activities and events in exchange for branding and other services. Murphy cited a collaborative back-to-school event and health fair for the Hispanic community as examples.
While Jambalaya News serves the community, Murphy is quick to point out that the community has also returned the favor. When a fire devastated Jambalaya News’ offices in 2019, Murphy feared for the future of the publication, as they did not have insurance. However, the community rallied to support Jambalaya News.
“(There was) not just emotional support, but financial support,” Murphy said. “We lost everything and the community supported us. Thank you, readers. Thank you, listeners. I am so proud to be a part of this community. I love my job.”