In my blog post on SolPersona, I introduced Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco, an Assistant Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Northwestern University and a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research.
I had an opportunity to ask Dr. DeFrancesco Soto some questions regarding the Latino influence in today’s electoral campaigns and how media is being utilized to help boost US Latinos’ involvement in current politics.
Online media is being used as a more efficient communication tool, especially social networks such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook where Latinos interact (e.g. Being Latino). Do you see these platforms helping Latinos to vote now that they know that their voices are important in today’s political elections?
Internet growth is still not at the same pace as the white community though it’s gradual. A majority of Latinos still don’t have access to the Internet or get affordable broadband, especially among the older Latinos. Politics are still traditional on the ground campaign within the community but Internet access is important to the Latino youth as they get older and develop voting habits within online media.
When we do communicate with Latinos with websites and social networks sites, the content has to be high quality that is also culturally relevant. Latinos are very diverse, they can’t be pigeonholed.
Do you feel that politicians will have a challenge trying to win Latino votes online now that their every word is being posted in different online mediums?
Social media is a powerful tool to encourage votes but individuals in our Latino community can participate in other ways, endorsements do help. However, additional media platform tools can help and harm political candidates. The Internet makes you hyper aware and it keeps to the message and the changes are minute by minute.
With political coverage such as Telemundo’s “Tu Voto, Tu Futuro” and Univision’s “Destino 2010″ do you feel that Spanish media finally realizes that they have a greater role to inform Latinos on important political information, candidates and issues?
Spanish language television has tremendous outreach and market penetration, for example Univision programming frequently has the highest Nielsen ratings. Because of the extent of their outreach and their collaboration with organizations that promote civic engagement, they have put together and executed a Latino voter outreach plan. This is especially important to newly arrived immigrants who tend to be limited to only Spanish language outlets — these stations are literally their social and political lifelines.
I would like to thank Dr. DeFrancesco Soto for her time and I encourage you to go to her website where she covers more information on her research on campaigns and elections, political marketing, race and ethnic politics, and immigration as well as past media guest spots.
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by Frankie De Soto