Last week The Huffington Post’s Roque Planas reminded us yet again of the lack of diversity at major newspapers — a topic regular readers are well aware of. Planas related that “White, non-Hispanic journalists wrote a whopping 98.2 percent [of] front page articles this year in major U.S. newspapers.”
Planas zeroed in on immigration coverage, including the fact that “[o]nly a miniscule 0.2 percent of journalists writing front-page newspaper features on immigration were Latinos.” This focus is fair considering it is increasingly becoming a draw for potential voters — especially for local elections, like the one that threatens to vote Joe Arpaio out of office.
However, as we know, this problem extends beyond specific topics into the whole of mainstream media: Latinos are being left behind in representation.
If you are starting to feel that you’ve heard this news a million times before and are tired of it, I’d just like to say “Me too.” But, instead of letting the frequency with which we hear these numbers numb us to their significance, we should confront them head on and demand better. If this kind of neglect in mainstream media continues Latinos will continue being boxed into our own separate media outlets.
There is definitely a place for Latino created media platforms — I am obviously a strong believer in this or I wouldn’t be a staff writer for this fine online magazine. I see the need for a space where Latinos can take pride in their own created communities.
However, we also need to further infiltrate mainstream media. Latinos are already mainstream Americans!
We are about 16% of the U.S. population according to the 2010 Census. We are “predicted to grow to one-third of the U.S. population by 2050,” as Steve McClellan writes in an article that also quotes Being Latino’s founder Lance Rios. Our media sources should reflect this.
Anyone who argues that companies shouldn’t be courting Latino journalists, that instead more Latino journalists should work to be the best in their field, is misguided to say the least. We have plenty of talent in the journalism field, otherwise the major players I mentioned in my last article, among them being Huffington Post’s Latino Voices, wouldn’t be able to staff their Latino-focused offshoots.
The problem is that we are being relegated to our own enclaves, instead of being showcased on mainstream news. And this needs to stop, or companies will lose not only credibility but a growing sector of their potential audience.