This is the latest sign of what parent company NBCUniversal says is a “major investment” over the last year-and-a-half to beef up Spanish-language local news. Telemundo will introduce today half-hour early evening newscasts at 14 of its 17 stations. Although it faces tough competition in many markets from Univision, NBCU sees big opportunities for Telemundo to serve the fast-growing Latino population.  “Spanish-language viewers want and need more news, weather and live local programming,” says Telemundo Station Group President Manuel Martinez. “We have a responsibility to provide them the information they need to help them lead better lives.”

The company says that the new newscasts are part of a series of changes that include the addition of stations in San Antonio, Harlingen, TX, Boston, and Philadelphia to the Telemundo Station Group and the hiring of 160 employees primarily for news. Telemundo also opened news bureaus in Washington DC, Mexico City, and Miami. Many of its local stations added newscasts, and established consumer investigative units. Telemundo also invested in news bling: new sets, on-screen graphics, vehicles and cameras.