Longer latino representation in the media


Federal report reveals what some of us already knew: There aren’t enough Latinos in the media. Latinos have probably gotten used to disproportionate representation, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it.

United States Report of the Office of Government Accountability published Tuesday revealed that Latinos are grossly under-represented in the media. It’s part of a crusade for U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro, a native of San Antonio and a Democrat, who has met with media officials to advocate for greater Latin American representation.

On Tuesday, Castro told the National Press Club which Latinos are excluded from the American narrative. He is right. According to US Census Bureau data, more than 18 percent of all Americans are Hispanic and Latino – 64 percent in Texas – but Hispanics made up about 12 percent of workers in the media industry, compared to about 18 percent of the rest of the workforce.

Groups of journalists have also sounded the alarm, urging for stronger Latin American representation. Awareness is important, but what good is it if nothing ever changes – or keeps getting worse?

Analysis of census data revealed a small increase in recent years in the overall representation of Hispanics in the media industry, which remained at around 11-12% from 2014 to 2019. This despite population growth.

The media industry represented in the report is large: newspapers, periodicals, books and directory publishers; motion pictures, video and sound recordings; radio and television broadcasting; cable and other subscription programs; and other information services.

Even more damning is the shortage of Latinos in leadership positions – 4% of senior and executive managers and 7% of entry and mid-level managers.

Latinos need more equitable media representation. It is a critical time in our country – deadly disinformation is rampant and the need for quality and trustworthy news from journalists who represent their communities is imperative.

There has been a change.

On September 4, Rebecca Aguilar became the First Latina National President of the Society of Professional Journalists in its 112 years of history. Aguilar, a Dallas-based freelance journalist who has 40 years of journalism experience, said in a statement that it is important to continue to bring new and diverse voices to the SPJ. “I want everyone to know that the SPJ is for ALL journalists, professors and journalism students, and that everyone’s differences and experiences need to be shared to make us a better organization,” Aguilar said.

Excellent. But what took so long? Latinos will know times have changed when those times are no longer rare but routine.

The local image of Latin representation – and other people of color – is mixed, and our the community knows it.

On June 4, I wrote about an audit of the Association of Hispanic Journalists of San Antonio, supported by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, which found a lack of Latino presenters on local news channels. . In my column, I also wrote about the diversity efforts at the Express-News.

On June 11, Express-News editor Mark Medici announced the addition of myself and two other Latinas – Nora López, News Editor, and Jess Elizarraras, MySA Executive Producer. .com – at the header, a historic change that he said he has been working on for some time.

In July, the contract of Isis Romero, a beloved presenter of KSAT News Latina, was not renewed. In a superb social media post, Romero said his 11-year career with KSAT ended on July 12. Neither Romero nor the station said why she was fired, citing a nondisclosure agreement, but locals – including me – still lament her departure. We cannot afford to lose Latino journalists, especially those who are known and trustworthy.

Why would anyone listen to, watch or read journalism that they do not find relevant or trustworthy?

Media organizations and businesses need to start or continue to forge change by hiring and retaining Latino journalists, but they need help. Universities, colleges and high schools need to step up efforts to ensure that there are always quality Latino journalists in the pipeline.

The message that brunettes can maintain rewarding journalism careers has to be clear, but first it has to be true.

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