Keeping the Latino/e community informed is crucial. After all, this community accounts for nearly 20 percent of the population in the United States. Yet, Latinos/es aren’t referred to as much in the news. And, when they are mentioned, it’s usually for something negative.
If you ever felt like the news doesn’t reflect your reality as much, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent report published by the Berkeley Media Studies Group and UnidosUS found that only about 6 percent of news referred to Latinos/es.
“When Latino experiences, contributions and concerns are excluded from news coverage, policymakers and the public don’t have the facts needed to craft effective and inclusive solutions,” said Viviana Lopez Green, senior director for UnidosUS’ Racial Equity Initiative. “Too often, our community is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”
The Berkeley Media Studies Group, or BMSG, is a program of the Public Health Institute. From children’s health to affirmative action, they focus on a myriad of issues. UnidosUS is a national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization.
According to NBC News, the study analyzed peak news cycles related to racism and racial equity issues such as wealth, housing, and health in the United States. They focused on the years 2020, 2021, and 2022, which is when the relevance of these issues was more prominent.
There is no doubt that the protests around Breona Taylor and George Floyd’s unjust deaths jumpstarted this trend in the news.
What did the report review?
The report reviewed 195,536 articles about race. From those articles, only 10,963 referred to Latinos/es.
After gathering their data, they left the public with a lot to think about. The conclusion of their report is noteworthy:
Our findings highlight deficits in the public discourse about Latinos — deficits that are problematic because they may limit how Latinos and their contributions are understood not only by newspaper readers, but also by policymakers, business leaders, and others whose choices may affect the course of our nation. It is simply not possible to fully understand the issues facing our country if the experiences and perspectives of our second largest ethnic group are excluded from the news. Our findings highlight the need for and promise of more diverse and inclusive newsrooms that elevate the voices of the communities they serve — and, in turn, help paint a clearer, more complete picture of the United States.
In an attempt at a shameless plug, it is important to continue to support news portals like BELatina News now more than ever. Latino/e media has a lot of things against it, so it’s important we continue to support small Latino/e publications.