Today we get our news in many ways. We have mobile phones, computers, Tweets and some people like it the old fashion way by holding a newspaper. Journalism can be traced back to Europe in the 18th century but in the United States of America, the first successful English daily was The Daily Courant, published in 1702. Over the course of the years it has changed from where only people studying journalism and communication could become journalists to everyone becoming journalists; this of course being the case for bloggers.
However, what do we see when we watch the news? Journalists tell so many types of stories: lifestyle, human interest, health, technology, travel, politics, crime, etc. I pose two questions, are Latinos represented positively in the news and are there a good number of Latino journalists? It was in 1967 since social unrest resulted in riots by blacks and latinos in cities across the country. According to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, “The Kerner commission, appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the root causes of the violence, criticized the media’s coverage of the riots and found that our nation’s all-white newsrooms contributed to the “white-black schism” in the country.” Since then newsrooms have “attempted” to diversify their staff. However, due to the economic shift of this country, journalism is changing at an enormous rate. Look at the numbers, the percentage of journalists of color in the nation’s newsrooms dropped from 13.5% in 2007 to 13.4% in 2008.
Then there’s the issue of Latino coverage. Sure we can say Judge Sonia Sotomayor had great coverage, but what about everyone else? Remember CNN’s Latino in America? I don’t think people were too pleased with this series. Just by searching “Latino” on CNN’s web-site, the first few stories are about immigration and violence. This is why I appreciate NAHJ’s efforts. NAHJ is dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. And p.s. it’s not just them, there’s also NABJ, NAJA and AAJA. And I completely agree Latino newspapers are doing their part to cover positive Latino stories, but why can’t mainstream media see this. What will happen when the Census reports their numbers and Latinos make up a huge portion of this country?
by Eric Cortes
To learn more about Eric Cortes, visit hisPanic 2050.