Las cadenas de EE UU ignoran al público latino

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by heidita, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. heidita Banned

    Madrid, Spain
    Germany (German, English, Spanish)
    ¿Cómo es posible que esto ocurra en una país con una población latina del 14,5 %?

    Do you think that the important channels should at least take this 14,5% latin population into account and give more coverage to important "latin" news In the States? Do you actually have the same impression as this analisis reveals? Are "Latin news" not considered "important news"?
  2. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    What is "Latin news"? How is it being defined? How do you define "what's important" to a group as diverse as people of Hispanic origin? This is a diverse community, with people of every age and political stripe.

    Despite the fact that a definition of "Latin news" and even of "Latino" is a rabbit hole, I agree that English-language news channels do not cover the stories that are important to many Hispanic people; and/or they cover a different side of the story.

    For example, the immigration problem is covered from the point of view of anyone except the immigrant. :mad: Meanwhile, on the Spanish-language networks, the opposite is true.

    And don't forget, that the Spanish-language networks are the fastest-growing networks in the US! In my market, Univisión has more viewers than any of the English-language networks. :thumbsup:
    English-language networks also don't cover stories about Hispanics in the same way that they cover stories about other minorities. Condi Rice and Colin Powell didn't become Secretaries of State without some comment about their race and/or gender!
  3. Tsoman Banned

    New York
    English -- US
    If 14.5 percent of the population is hispanic, that means that 85.5 percent of the population is not hispanic, and probably doesn't really care that much about news from a latino perspective. And if a large portion of the hispanic demographic prefers to watch spanish language stations, the percent of hispanic viewers watching english language networks is even smaller.
  4. Daddyo Banned

    It is possible, to answer your question, because the USA is a country that thrives on specialization. What? Close to 15% of the population is hispanic? Well, then we better hurry up and create more hispanic-dedicated channels, launch products specifically targeted to hispanics, and, in general, create many opportunities to get their money through specialized outlets. All these, while reminding them that they're only 15% of the population.
  5. Tadeo Senior Member

    Español (México)
    By fenixpollo
    And don't forget, that the Spanish-language networks are the fastest-growing networks in the US! In my market, Univisión has more viewers than any of the English-language networks. :thumbsup:

    Exactly!!! Despise many US Networks do not focus their attention in "outstanding Latin issues" the Latin Networks really do so!!! Today you can watch many Latin Networks in the US. Actually, in an effort to reach all the hispanic population in th US, the biggest Latin TV Networks broadcast their original signal to the US.

    One of my friends living in North Carolina told me once:
    I don't really miss México that much, all I gotta do is turn on the TV and then I feel like home!!!
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    So the question is... and it is a sincere question... if the viewers who are most interested in this news already have a preferred outlet, what incentive does an English language news station/channel have to increase coverage of distinctly Latino issues?

    If, say, they increased coverage dramatically, what percentage of that market share would they win over? Some of the viewers are bilingual and equally comfortable in both languages; many are not. It is not just the content that attracts viewers to the Spanish channels - it is also the language in which it is delivered.

    If, for example, we say that 20% of Latino viewers of Spanish channels could be wooed from Spanish to English news because of increased coverage of latino issues (a HUGE accomplishment if it could be pulled off), we're talking about less than 3% of potential viewers that could be picked up. If such coverage caused some people to switch to another English channel, the effect could wash out. That's a lot of time, money, and risk expended for not much of a pay-off.

    News is not a public service in the U.S., nor is it treated as a public trust. It is a business that works to maximize and retain viewership. I stopped watching TV news several years ago and I have not regretted the loss of it. The content in general has very little to do with providing information and much more to do with providing a product that keeps you watching. Whatever can be invented, exaggerated, or sensationalized gets the most attention from the network because it garners the most attention from the viewers, according to their viewer surveys. I, for one, have opted out of the entire game.

    So if you look at it from strictly profit/loss perspective, there is little incentive for the English channels to change focus in an attempt to capture a market share that's already better served by another channel specializing in delivering that product. It's more likely that one of the huge media conglomerates will buy someone like Univision rather than tinker with their own "product." That way they get the greatest reward with the least amount of risk.
  7. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    It's hard to say what percentage of the Hispanic population is bilingual. However, I think one major misconception (held by networks and the population at large) is that a large majority of hispanics are bilingual or monolingual-Spanish speakers. I believe that networks would be able to attract a sizeable portion of the Spanish-language networks' bilingual viewers with more shows like George Lopez and Ugly Betty, plus better news coverage.

    What is this "washout" you're talking about? Loyal English-speaking viewers will switch networks because the coverage starts taking Hispanic perspectives into account? I give the average viewer more credit; plus, how much programming are we really talking about? Are we asking the networks to treat Hispanics as well as they treat African-Americans?
  8. Papalote Senior Member

    Quebec, Canada
    Spanish, English, French
    Hi, everyone

    Perhaps if we stopped looking at t.v. as solely a means of making money and started looking at it as a means of communication where people can learn from each other, be aware of each other`s differences and similarities. I truly believe that if non-hispanics heard more about what hispanics are doing for their USA communities, or what is happening in Latin America, there would be a lot less strife and hatred towards that 15% of American citizens. It shouldn`t be a question of selling products to a mere 15%, it should be a question of making that 85% aware of the true reality of those neighbours who, in passing, have been misrepresented in their majority since cowboy movies from the 1940`s.

    Just a thought.

  9. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    It's a lovely thought. :)
  10. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I think that's a safe bet about a Spanish network's viewership if the Spanish network's coverage is in Spanish.

    My contention is that the news coverage is pretty poor no matter what language you speak. :)

    The networks treat African-Americans well? What do you mean by that?

    What I mean by "wash-out" is that, in an a world where "basic" cable includes over 100 channels, where you can pick the particular bent of the news you'd like to watch by brand name, format and political leaning (Fox, MSNBC, CNN, TBN, etc., etc.), where (in my market) there are at least 10 channels devoted to "news" besides the (formerly) major network coverage, yes, I think people will look for a very specific type of coverage. As Daddyo said, this is an age of specialization, not broad-based coverage. NO news coverage is going to be all-inclusive in this environment, in my opinion.
  11. Noel Acevedo Senior Member

    Puerto Rico, español

    Para enteder o por lo menos ver la problemática discriminatoria desde una perspectiva distinta hacia la comunidad hispana en los Estados Unidos, le sugiero el libro de Emmanuel Todd, "After the Empire" (Columbia University Press, 2003). Si bien el tema principal es la discusión del desplome del imperio Estadounidense, cubre de manera muy interesante las actitudes raciales de la mayoría blanca de esa nación para con otros grupos étnicos o raciales como lo son los hispanos, negros, asiáticoss, etc.

    Noel Acevedo
  12. Tsoman Banned

    New York
    English -- US
    What strife and hatred?
  13. kaleidoscope Member

    UK English
    "Esa nación" será tu nación también, ¿no? :)
  14. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I'm not sure what the strife and hatred is referring to, but there's definitely some friction lately, at least in California. However, I think it's worth making a distinction between U.S. citizens and people living in the U.S. The friction is not over citizens of Hispanic origin.

    According to 2000 U.S. Census data, 17 million people of Hispanic origin were not citizens of the U.S., but living in the U.S. ( The population of the U.S. was reported as 281,421,906. That means 6% of the population reported was of Hispanic origin and a non-citizen, or over 40% of the Hispanic population. Of those 17 million non-citizens, over 7 million had been living in the U.S. ten years or more. This leads to a very different kind of dynamic than with any other group.

    There is as much a discussion to be had of cultural and national identity of this sub-group as anything (Hispanic non-citizens living in the U.S.) Perhaps the desire for coverage is a desire for news of "home". In this case, U.S. coverage will never be sufficient nor from a matching viewpoint with a Latin American citizen living abroad in the U.S., just as coverage of events in Great Britain will never be sufficient nor from a matching viewpoint with a British citizen living abroad in the U.S., nor news about China for a Chinese citizen living in the U.S.
  15. Everness Banned

    Creo que los hispanos estan muy contentos que no se le haya dado tanta publicidad al nombramiento de Alberto Gonzalez como fiscal general de los EEUU. Despues de todo, no tienen motivos para enorgullecerse de alguien que defiende a la tortura...
  16. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    From a Wikipedia article I find that immigrants comprise nearly 10% of Spain's population now. One of the largest groups in this immigrant population is the Moroccan community.

    Just out of curiosity, Heidita, what is the percentage of news coverage in Spain that deals exclusively with Moroccan themes told from a Moroccan point of view? Or is Moroccan news told from a Moroccan viewpoint considered not important?
  17. heidita Banned

    Madrid, Spain
    Germany (German, English, Spanish)
    Really, the largest group is the Latin community with a considerable 38%. the Moroccan community gets to a 15% of all immigrants in Spain.

    Until now, we never had anything as important as a Moroccan or Hispanic becoming the first mayor of any city here. (for example)

    When there are news about Morocco though, there is a wider coverage, as we supposedly have a good relationship with the country. And yes, people are interviewed in the street and give their point of view. Muslim groups give their opinion too.

    We also had a piece of news lately as "Latin Kings" and "Ñetas", two Latin gangs have become "friends" and there was a wide coverage of this event. From both the Spanish as the Latin community's point of view. Also of the fact that Barcelona has accepted the gang "Latin Kings" as a cultural institution.
  18. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    But this is true of Latin American coverage in California network news coverage! Our news covers earthquakes, floods, elections, crop failures, economics, international politics, etc., in Central and South America. People in the street are asked to give their point of view.

    Perhaps the issue is that the person who conducted this study is unaware that national news in the U.S. is by far the most generic news. It covers an area nearly the size of Europe. The regional differences are vast. People in Wisconsin might want to know much more about Canada, for example, while people in Florida might want news on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean countries. Can you imagine a news network whose job was to provide information that would be of equal interest in any European country. Wouldn't this news also by definition need to be bland and non-specific?

    We have large areas of the country where there are practically no Hispanic people, and areas of the country (like Los Angeles) where the population is nearly 50% Hispanic. (See this chart from 1990 statistics: ). National news is designed to represent the lowest common denominator of news that would be of general interest to anyone anywhere in the U.S. It's designed to attract the same amount of interest in Hawaii as it does in Nebraska, in Oklahoma as it does in Oregon. These are all very different places with very different interests.

    I would be interested in seeing a similar study of California coverage of "Latin" news, rather than national news. Although I think our news is superficial and sensational in general, I don't think its coverage of our Latin American neighbors is any less than other news, and actually more.

    Also, "major networks" is a misnomer these days. The traditionally major networks are a ghost of their former selves. Their news coverage is only a small part of their overall programming.

    In other words, you asked if we had the same impression of news coverage of "Latin" news (still to be defined) as this study indicates. I don't, at least not based on my new understanding of the coverage you're talking about.

    [edit]I'm beginning to wonder about this study you're quoting. Here is a quick search on ABC news of items related to Villaraigosa's election:

    I see a fair amount of coverage here, and this is at the national level.
  19. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Hi Heidita,
    I don't have a television, so I cannot comment other than to say that the major national TV networks produce their own news programs, and that each local broadcast station, in turn, produces its own local news broadcasts. I have no doubt that the local broadcasts give lots of attention to so-called "Latino" matters.

    I do listen to National Public Radio, and they give lots of coverage to "Latino" subjects. Here's an example: NPR : Villaraigosa to be L.A.'s First Modern Latino Mayor.

    I believe the research you cited is badly designed, and the portion quoted is highly deceptive.
  20. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    I mean that they DON'T treat African-Americans well. Networks reflect the biases of their advertisers, who in turn reflect the biases of the people who they hope will buy their product. In Papalote's world, we would like the networks to be "fair and balanced" because it's the right thing to do. Capitalist society doesn't work that way.
  21. Tsoman Banned

    New York
    English -- US
    That's subjective

    Black people make up something like 13% of the population, but on TV they make up a much greater portion. It is true that sometimes they are portrayed as thugs or gangsters, but most of the time the black characters are completely normal, many times professionals. It depends on what type of show you are watching. If it's a show about a hospital, you will see black doctors and nurses. If it's a crime show you will see some black cops and (more than some) black criminals. But should a TV show about criminals censor itself and pretend that no black people commit crimes, and that there are no black communities in some cities that have problems?

    It may not be perfect, but I don't think TV is racist, at least not on purpose.
  22. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Unlike the various flavours of totalitarian society, which are always thoroughly balanced? State run media is rarely balanced, much less fair, regardless of the economic system in place. Please tell us where to find utopia.
  23. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    The truth about news is that we all get it from the sources that fit our needs and tastes. No one I know watches the nightly network news broadcasts (who is home from work at that hour?) and that is not only an impressionistic piece of data, studies show that the average age of a network news viewer is close to 60, and that the audience is shrinking every year. In general, with the growth of cable and the Internet, the relevance of network programming in general is decreasing drastically -- and it's all about niche marketing.

    The famous statistic from the 2004 elections was that more young people get their news from the Daily Show (a satiric topical comedy program on the Comedy Channel broadcast at 11:00) than from any other televised source.

    Almost everyone I know gets their news from the Internet -- where the ability to tailor news to the stories and sources that fits your interests is nearly infinite.

    If you want to watch cable news, you can choose conservative (Fox), less so (CNN), highbrow (the BBC) or if none of those suit because you fancy yourself a quirky liberal, you can leave NPR on all the time as I do.

    As the Hispanic population continues to grow in size and influence, I'm sure we will see an enormous diversity of media geared toward them -- but I wouldn't expect it necessarily to come from the conventional networks who retain an ever smaller portion of the audience and are becoming increasingly irrelevant to shaping cultural tastes, driving advertising dollars, etc. etc. etc.
  24. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    If I knew where it was, I would be living there. :) I don't agree if you're suggesting that totalitarianism is the opposite of capitalism, but that's another thread. Anyway, as long as a capitalist society offers alternatives that are (more) independent of market forces, such as [your and my] beloved NPR, then the public benefits.
    Of course it's subjective. You can't objectively measure how well a minority group is treated. We can measure how much airtime its members get, but until I see your figures, I won't believe that they get more than 15% of the airtime. Even if they did, it's not an indication that they're being treated fairly and that issues important to them are being addressed.
    If it's racist on accident, then the end result is the same.

    If you want to know whether TV treats black people well, ask a black person. If you want to know whether network news covers "Hispanic issues" well, ask a Hispanic person -- although responses will vary widely.
  25. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Hmmmm....Are you suggesting that members of a group are going to give a more objective analysis of coverage of their own group than non-members? More sensitive, yes. More objective...????

    Network news once attempted to be a serious news medium. Those days are long gone. It is now a vehicle to sell advertising to a defined target audience. It does a lousy job of covering science. Just ask a scientist. It's not very good at reporting industrial innovation. Ask a manufacturing engineer.
  26. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    Interestingly, when I was in the coffee shop this morning, I noticed that the Daily News (the less-successful of NY's two tabloid papers) is introducing today an English-language Latin culture section, to run every week. It's a huge full-color 32 page supplement, stuffed with advertising (market tailored and also general -- based on my quick scan) called Viva New York. It states that its mission is to "cover the best of Hispanic New York --from entertainment to community issues, to where to find the best new Latin clubs and restaurants."

    This suggests to me, that as I suspected, the market is not likely to leave this huge segment lying fallow for long.

    And yes, I fully expect that their coverage of Latin issues will be fully as shallow and sensational as their coverage of other issues.

    Which is to say that there are two separate questions at work in this thread: Is the news any good? And who is it geared to?

    I think that Hispanic Americans will shortly (if they do not already) have access to the whole panoply of crap that we call news and culture in this country, and have the opportunity to be every bit as bored, annoyed, and uninformed as the rest of us.
  27. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    No, they wouldn't be able to give a more objective analysis; they'd give a more subjective one. The whole point is that the answer to heidita's question is a subjective one, and no study is going to prove that networks are or are not giving "appropriate" coverage to the agenda of a given group. Even if we can agree on what (or who) constitutes a given group, many groups can't even agree on their own agenda.

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