On Thursday afternoon, presumptive Republican Party nominee Donald Trump threw the content creators of digital media some literal red meat. He tweeted a photo of himself enjoying a taco bowl for lunch, adding a typically ham-fisted assurance that, contrary to popular belief, he “love[s] Hispanics.” This is not an article about that tweet. This is an… [Read more…]
Sports writing has a white, male problem. I mean, water is wet and fire is hot, right? But it’s true: the world of sports journalism is overwhelmingly white. This would be problem enough just for sheer lack of diversity itself, but it becomes especially problematic when you consider the fact that the athletes playing the sports that journalists are writing about are predominantly people of color.
Take, for example, Houston Chronicle Sports Columnist Brian T. Smith’s recent column about Houston Astros player Carlos Gomez. Pretend for a minute that the column is well-written or provides any sort of compelling analysis of the on-field performance problems Gomez has faced to start the season. Where it would still falter is in the way it talks about Gomez, particularly in the way it quotes him. Gomez, who is from the Dominican Republic, speaks Spanish as a first language. Smith chooses to quote him verbatim in broken English as saying, “For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed.”
Quoting Gomez in this way is incredibly offensive. It makes him sound unintelligent when, in reality, he’s experiencing a language barrier. In fact, Gomez even took to Twitter to tell Smith exactly that, suggesting, “next time you want an interview have Google translate on hand.” But this is what happens when you have a white journalist who is not attuned to the cultural issues affecting the person he is reporting on. And when you have a largely all-white staff, like the Houston Chronicle does, there’s possibly no one to catch the mistake (or, like in the case of SB Nation’s incredibly misguided piece on convicted rapist cop Daniel Holtzclaw, white editors who refused to listen to the Black woman who told them not to run the story).
While it’s absolutely outrageous that the Chronicle staff is far from being as diverse as it should be (especially considering that the state of Texas is nearly 40% Latino and that The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is located there), it’s par for the course when it comes to sports journalism in general. A 2014 report from The Institute For Diversity and Ethics in Sports found that 91.5% of sports editors were white and 85% of the reporters were white (full disclosure: I’m white, myself).
And this is not a new problem for journalists covering Major League Baseball. As the number of Spanish-speaking players has continued to grow (in 2015, Opening Day rosters boasted 198 players that hailed from Spanish-speaking countries), the demographics of the media writing about the sport has remained largely unchanged. As far back as 2003, Pedro Martínez was calling for interpreters to help non-native English speakers express themselves to the media after player Sammy Sosa was quoted verbatim in broken English. Martínez saw it as a sign of disrespect, and felt his lack of English fluency was being used to mock Sosa. The league did not require Spanish-language translators for players until this 2016 season, 13 years later.
It may be unrealistic to expect that an interpreter will be present for every single interaction a player may have with the media, so what are journalists to do in the case that they don’t have one? Why is there not yet a media policy with best practices for how to quote a player who is not a native English speaker? How can journalists be both respectful and accurate in their reporting in these cases? Perhaps paraphrasing is one solution because, often, we know what is being said or the point that is being made, even if the English is not “perfect.” The fact that there are not yet best practices for these situations reflects not only the whiteness of newsrooms, but of the Major League Baseball clubhouses as well. When the people in charge are not culturally reflective of the people they’re in charge of, the needs of those people become secondary.
Aside from a general media policy and having translators available for players that want them, the answer here — as it is with most things — is that sports journalism needs to be diversified. As sports writer Jeff Passan told SI.com, “As much as white, American writers try to understand the society in which many [Latin players] grew up, we can’t fully, and their background informs their worldview.” And this is where cultural competency and diversity in newsrooms becomes imperative.
Without it, journalists aren’t doing justice to the subjects they’re reporting on, and, at worst, they’re actively doing them harm.
By HUGO BALTA
Like many of us this spring, I went to see “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” As I was sitting in the theater watching 20 minutes of trailers, downing a soft drink and passing the overpriced bucket of popcorn around with my wife and children, all I could think was: “I hope this movie delivers on the nearly $100 outing that this is costing me.”
It didn’t disappoint, of course. How could it? The movie was filled with many incredible action sequences, special effects and Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is just cool. He brings sexy back for us 40-something guys with graying facial hair. But I digress. Middle-aged billionaires in formidable flying armor are a story for another time.
After the movie, my family and I engaged in our usual post-movie conversations. We break down every second of every scene: the acting, the plot, the fighting sequences, the new characters, and so on. Positing about superhero flicks is an especially entertaining ritual with my 9-year-old son because it usually concludes with a debate about which is the best. I favor the ingenuity of the terrestrial kind. He leans on the otherworldly costumed defender. It’s tough to argue against a Norse god.
We ended this latest movie bout in the same way we usually do: agreeing to disagree. But just before I thought we had put a period to the contest, my son told me something that not only ignited another conversation, but also inspired this article. He said, “The Avengers are one awesome family.”
A family? As a content developer, I found this fascinating.
The secret sauce
It had not occurred to me that Marvel’s secret sauce was familism. The Avengers’ social structure mirrors that of many Latino families, where the needs of the group are more important than any individual member — a framework, which resonates with the community and whose culture foundation is in helping family realize their potential and offering support in trying times.
A study by the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences measuring the effects of acculturation in the Latino community found three basic depths of familism: obligation, support and nationality.
La familia is something that all Latinos can agree on, despite tracing their roots or self-identifying from different countries. Familism is a core characteristic of all Latinos and, regardless of acculturation, family support remains. The obligation they have for one another is born from the overwhelming feeling of “We’re in this together.”
When applied to storytelling, familism was one of the factors driving Latinos to the movies this past summer and boosting sales at the box office. (“Avengers: Age of Ultron” made $191.3 million in its domestic debut.)
A 2013 study by the Motion Picture Association of America found that Latinos are more frequent moviegoers than other ethnic groups. Repeat business is important. It not only increases ticket sales revenue, but it also increases the revenue of the theater concession stands. On behalf of my wallet, you’re welcome, AMC Theaters.
I relate to Iron Man, and my son relates to Thor. I coquettishly look at my wife as Black Widow and, given all of the mood swings that my preteen daughter is demonstrating, well… she’s the Hulk. At the center of the story are men and women of different ages and backgrounds committed to one another despite their differences. They work together defying the odds, which they couldn’t possibly do alone.
An authentic setting
It’s not just a movie of an adopted family of heroes that’s reverberating with Latinos this year. The latest edition of the “Fast & Furious” franchise, “Furious 7,” made more than $143 million out of the gate. The diverse cast, portraying a family-like group of friends, is credited with genuinely connecting with Latinos.
The two or two-and-a-half hours of a movie aren’t necessary to establish familism in storytelling. Companies like Wells Fargo are applying it to their total U.S. Hispanic marketing strategies. Additionally, the commercial “First Paycheck” features a young woman celebrating her economic milestone with family in an authentic setting — the home.
In order to produce content that is relevant with Latinos, it must be familiar, focusing on the community’s core values and centered on family. The key to success is in designing messages that promote a strong work ethic, the value of education, a celebration of achievement and responsibility to one another.
In other words, make sure to keep it all in the familism.
Hugo Balta is the senior director of multicultural content, ESPN Digital & Print Media. Balta leads initiatives in raising the quality, profile and delivery of diverse newsgathering and storytelling. He is the immediate past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). Twitter: @HugoBalta.
By Cassandra Jaramillo, ONA15 Newsroom, Reprinted with permission from the Online News Association/journalists.org.
I can still remember the smell of Old English.
From the time I was little until I turned 15, my mother would bring me to the houses she cleaned and I’d help her. I learned early that Old English oil would leave wooden furniture polished perfectly, and old newspapers could leave the dirtiest mirror spotless and shining.
I’d entertain myself cleaning the dust off Mrs. Belinda’s glass figurines from Hobby Lobby at her home in Nederland, Texas.
I clearly remember the summer before first grade, when I was polishing the furniture in Mrs. Belinda’s living room. That’s when I told my mom I wanted to grow up to be a housekeeper like her.
I think I was just a little kid that adored her mom and wanted to be like her, but she took me seriously. She sat down next to me and said that she had to clean houses in the United States because she didn’t have the educational opportunities that I had.
That’s when I really understood that my parents had left Mexico when I was two years old to give their only child a better life.
After they arrived in 1996, my dad did small jobs and my mom cleaned houses. My dad spent his life savings on the small two-bedroom house he bought in Port Neches, Texas, because Southeast Texas locals told him it was the best school district.
Over the years as I grew up, I got interested in becoming a professional runner and working in the health care field. I changed my mind a lot, probably like a typical kid. But every summer, until I got my first job as a receptionist at 15, I would help my mother clean those houses. We could do often two houses in a day together.
When I started thinking about going to college in middle school, I told my mother I wanted to be a doctor to make enough money so she wouldn’t have to clean houses.
My mom told me I should do something I love and not look for money to find happiness. She always felt the only characteristic that I had to be a doctor was the chicken scratch handwriting. Why she felt that way, I’m not sure, but she was right.
I was accepted into the Health Occupation Students of America program at Port Neches-Groves High School and found out really quickly that I couldn’t even help work a blood drive. The sight of needles made me uneasy.
In 11th grade, I dropped the health occupations program after getting a hold of a video camera and taking a production class in high school. Students accepted into the class were a part of “Primetime,” a weekly broadcast that would air every Friday morning. I’d see the Primetime students and wanted to learn how to do the cool videos that they produced.
My first assignment my teacher gave me was to shoot a football game. I loved capturing live moments in action. How my 90-pound body managed to carry the heavy equipment for two hours straight still bewilders me.
I had found my calling. I never wanted to stop recording and I always wanted to ask questions. One story I did was on a high school teacher retiring still makes me smile to this day. He had taught at my high school for more than 30 years and was a self-described curmudgeon. Although he was a very stern man, I still managed to make him laugh in the interview. I just had a way of making people open up and relax.
When I was awarded a four-year scholarship to go to any public university in Texas, I knew I wanted to go to the University of Texas at Austin. Given my great experience with Primetime, I really wanted to major in journalism.
It’s true my parents got excited thinking I might one day be on television. But really, they told me they were proud to have a daughter with a high school diploma and on her way to go to college.
When dad first came to the United States, he did any job he could manage to find. Cut grass, clean up apartments–he even worked as a dishwasher at Waffle House once, he told me. Now I was getting a shot at doing what I loved.
I was the first in my family to get educated in the United States, and I was on my way to become the first to go to college. I had been by my mother’s side all the time while growing up, and it was scary to think about moving hundreds of miles away to go to college.
But then I remembered the sacrifices and fear my mother had to have face when she came to a foreign country, and I realized my fears were miniscule in comparison to hers.
We shed some tears together as she dropped me off at my freshmen dorm. Not so much out of sadness, but out of happiness. This was a small step to moving forward in my American dream.
The past few years at the University of Texas at Austin have taken me on adventures I would have never imagined I would be able to experience. It’s also brought me to some tragic events.
The Fort Hood shooting in 2014 was a “gut-check” for me as a young journalist. I was working my shift as an intern at a local Austin news station when the news broke. I asked the assignment editor if I could go with the crew and help them. She looked at me like I was crazy. I looked back at her and said I was serious.
She warned me that the crew probably would be staying the night. I didn’t retract my offer. That night we got three hours of sleep between the live coverage in the evening until we woke up for the morning show.
It was also my 20th birthday. It was a hard day to find anything worth celebrating.
Seeing first hand the hard work that goes into informing the public amid tragedies made me realize the deep commitment I have to journalism.
I’ve gotten to work alongside some talented people and have had the best mentors. I’ve gone twice to New York City to intern during the summers: once as an NBC and National Association of Hispanic Journalists news fellow at CNBC, and another time as a Dow Jones News Fund intern.
By far, the most rewarding moment in my experience was getting the chance to bring my mom to the Wall Street Journal where I worked this summer as a News Fund intern. I covered corporate breaking news and wrote earnings stories. I told my Wall Street Journal supervisor, Michelle LaRoche that my parents were coming to New York, and she was kind enough to arrange a private tour for them.
Going up the elevator in the News Corporation building, my mom looked up, smiled and said to herself, “My daughter works here. She’s a journalist.”
I went from spending my summers cleaning with rags alongside my mom to writing for the Wall Street Journal. I can’t wait to see where life brings me next. Next summer, I’ll be a college graduate, and I owe it all to my parents’ sacrifices and their encouragement to let me follow my dreams.
In March, All Digitocracy contributor Julie Schweitert Collazo wrote about the Latino Experts Program, launched by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and designed to increase the visibility of Latino experts in local news coverage.
The initiative, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, wanted to address the findings of a Media Matters report, its report, “Single Issue Syndrome: How Sunday Shows Undermine Hispanic Inclusion,” which found that while monitoring Sunday morning talk shows between August 31 and December 28, 2014, “only 7 percent of guests on English-language Sunday shows were Hispanic, of which 46 percent spoke specifically about immigration.”
But a new Media Matters report finds the problem still persists, noting that although Latinos make up more than 17 percent of the U.S. population, only four percent of guests on English-language Sunday shows between January 4 and May 3, 2015 were Hispanic — down 42 percent from their 2014 appearances over a similar time period.
Media Matters analyzed the rundowns of seven English-language Sunday television shows for the first 18 weeks of 2015, from January 4 through May 3: ABC’s This Week, CBS’ Face the Nation, Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s State of the Union, and MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki and Melissa Harris-Perry; as well as two Spanish-language Sunday shows: Telemundo’sEnfoque and Univision’s Al Punto.
These shows strongly influence the national political agenda and policy conversation and gain even more importance during presidential election seasons. MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry hosted 10 Hispanic guests, as did Fox News Sunday. Media Matters found that MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry had the most discussions with Latino guests – four – about the economy and education: two appeared on each topic.
CNN’s “State Of The Union” hosted eight, although host Jake Tapper got into some hot water on Twitter earlier this month over remarks about the whiteness of his show guests.
NBC’s Meet The Press And CBS’ Face The Nation Were Least Inclusive Of Hispanic Guests. Between January 4 and May 3, 2015, NBC’s Meet The Press and CBS’ Face The Nation invited two and three Hispanic guests on their shows, respectively.
But in a February report, Media Matters did note that Todd’s guest line-up showed more overall diversity since taking over the show. He told Media Matters the show is striving to reflect the reality of 21st century politics while also crediting his young staff for urging the program to not only rely on a “white male perspective.”
A total of seven Hispanic guests appeared on MSNBC’s Up, while six Hispanic guests appeared on ABC’s This Week. That compares to the period between August 31 and December 28, 2014, when Meet The Press hosted four Hispanic guests and Face The Nation hosted five.
And even when Hispanic guests were included on shows, it didn’t add up to more diversity. According to Media Matters’ analysis, Fox News host Juan Williams accounted for 90 percent of the Hispanic guest appearances on Fox News Sunday between January 4 and May 3, 2015.
He is a regular contributor to the Fox News Sunday‘s roundtable discussions, and previously accounted for 60 percent of the show’s Hispanic guest inclusion during the period analyzed in 2014. CNN contributor Ana Navarro made up four of the six Hispanic guest appearances in 2015 on ABC’s This Week. Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) made up two of the three Hispanic guest appearances on CBS’ Face the Nation.
By DENISE CLAY
When I was a kid and we first got cable, I would sometimes catch telenovelas on the Spanish-language network Univision as I flipped through the channels.
For those who don’t know what a telenovela is, it’s literally a book on television. Some of the acting is a bit over the top, and that leads to them looking like soap operas on steroids. But it’s kind of cool to see a book, literally, acted out. Some of the folks you see on television and in the movies here in the States, folks like Oscar-nominated actress Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara of the hit series “Modern Family” got their start there doing telenovelas.
Usually, watching a telenovela without a working command of the Spanish language is a pretty unsatisfying experience. You get lost pretty easily and find yourself saying “Huh?!” a lot…
Fortunately, thanks to a dispute between Univision and Donald Trump, a man whose entire existence screams over the top, America is getting a chance to see what an English-language telenovela might look like.
The Trump/Univision story is a story of what happens when a content provider with a history of putting folks in uncomfortable positions, a content distributor whose audience is made up of an ethnic group that is one of the fastest growing in the country, and the parent company that oversees them both find themselves at odds.
And if someone’s not careful, this dispute could lead to someone winding up on the outside looking in.
On June 25, Univision announced that it was ending its partnership with the Miss Universe organization due to some remarks that Trump made about Mexican immigrants during his June 16 news conference announcing his intention to get into the Republican presidential nomination minivan for 2016.
The part of Trump’s stream of consciousness that crossed a line with Univision went a little something like this…
“When Mexican sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume are good people.”
(Nice to know that some are good people, Donald. I was starting to get a little worried.)
It was the so-called “good people” that Univision cited in its statement telling Trump “You’re Fired!”
“At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country,” according to the company’s statement.
Now because he’s Donald Trump, and he’s not a guy that’s used to people standing up to him, he’s reacted to Univision’s decision with all of the maturity of a 12-year-old whose Xbox was confiscated for bad grades.
After announcing that Univision had dumped him on Twitter, he went on Fox News and promptly doubled down on his remarks, saying that it was “common sense” that Mexico was sending its rapists and murderers to America.
Secondly, he announced that he was suing Univision for breach of contract for severing their relationship, claiming that the network was mad at him for “exposing” just how bad America’s trade deals with Mexico have been for the country.
Trump then sent Univision President and CEO Randy Falco a letter saying that the Trump National Doral resort in Miami–which just happens to be located next to Univision’s headquarters–is now off limits.
Finally, when Univision anchor Jorge Ramos wrote Trump asking for an interview to get his side of the story, The Donald responded to his request by putting the letter—and Ramos’s cell phone number—on his Instagram account.
Now what makes this interesting is that both Trump and Univision have something in common: Comcast/NBC. The company owns Univision and is the home of Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” or as I like to call it, “The Shenanigans of Donald Trump and His Cadre of Z-Listers.”
The company issued a statement to the Hollywood Reporter distancing itsef from Trump’s comments…and everything else.
“Donald Trump’s opinions do not represent those of NBC,” the network said. “And we do not agree with his positions on a number of issues, including his recent comments on immigration.”
NBC has also said that in light of Trump’s decision to get into the GOP Presidential Mini-Van, it’s re-evaluating The Donald’s relationship with the network.
That’s what everyone needs to keep an eye on.
While NBC CEO Brian Roberts is probably somewhat used to The Donald making the lives of the company’s executives unnecessarily hard by saying something totally ignorant, Trump may have gone a little too far here.
You see, insulting Black folks, which Trump did the last time he ran for president, is one thing. But insulting an entire nation, specifically a nation that’s the native land of some of the people that make up one of the fastest-growing minority groups in this country, well, that can make life difficult for a media corporation that’s trying to stay financially solvent and keep its stockholders happy.
And the Latino community knows this. Actors Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian DeLa Fuente, the Spanish-language co-hosts of the Miss USA Pageant have both announced their intentions to bail on The Donald. There’s also a Change.org petition asking NBC to cancel the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants and “Celebrity Apprentice” that’s got close to 200,000 signatures on it.
Once NBC gets that petition, the company will listen to those voices. Count on it.
And Trump may wind up learning that while you can say anything you want to under the First Amendment, no one has to continue to bankroll your fruit stand in the Marketplace of Ideas if you keep selling rotten apples…
…which, depending on the story, might be getting thrown at him if this were an actual telenovela…
UPDATE: The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has issued a statement:
Our mission at NAHJ embodies grace and dignity. We work toward equal representation in newsrooms so the American people are not blind to the stories of 54 million American Latinos. We work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in the media who deserve the respect and dignity entitled to all Americans.
So when a candidate for President of the United States unfairly and incorrectly characterizes Mexicans and by close association, Mexican-Americans, it’s not only wrong, it’s un-American. NAHJ commends Univision’s decision to cut ties with Donald Trump’s Miss America and Miss Universe pageants and entities connected to Mr. Trump because of his remarks. See the complete statement here.
UPDATE: NBC Universal has just issued a statement announcing that it too has severed ties with The Trump Organization.
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump. To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC. In addition, as Mr. Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. Celebrity Apprentice is licensed from Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue.”
TV Network’s history of racism and colorism may not bode well for website formerly owned by The Washington Post Company
By Jillian Báez
Two weeks ago Spanish-language television giant Univision announced its acquisition of TheRoot.com, one of the top African American news websites. Coverage of the merger was quite celebratory and echoed co-founder Henry Louis Gates’ statement that “This bold new partnership between Univision and TheRoot underscores the ties that have long bound people of color together throughout the Western Hemisphere and is a sign of even greater levels of communication, collaboration and exchange between these culturally vital groups of people.”
But while Gates is obviously optimistic about the venture, I’m a little skeptical. Univision has some issues that no one has talked about that might impact things. For one thing, it’s digital presence, Fusion, is struggling to get traffic to its own website. Secondly, the parent company’s history as a serial consolidator and nasty habit of broadcasting racist content makes me cautious about this venture.
Univision is the largest Spanish-language television network in the U.S. and the fifth largest network overall. A look into Univision’s history helps to make sense of the network’s acquisition of The Root. Univision emerged from a consolidation of Mexican tycoon Emilio Azcárraga’s Spanish International Network (SIN) and the Spanish International Broadcasting Corporation in 1987. Hallmark purchased Univision in 1988 and sold the network to entrepreneur Jerrold Perenchio, owner of Mexico’s Televisa, and Venezuela’s Venevisión. In 2006, Broadcasting Media Partners acquired Univision. Currently, Univision owns the television networks UniMás and Galavision as well as Univision Radio. In 2012, Univision acquired Bounce TV, the second-most watched network among African Americans with 90 million homes, as its first foray into African American content. While the channel, which was co-founded by Martin Luther King III, son of the Civil Rights icon, has historically offered reruns of sitcoms from the 80s and 90s sitcoms that can also be found on cable networks like BET and TVOne, BounceTV has introduced two new original sitcoms and will debut its first hour long drama series in 2016.
In 2013, in partnership with Disney and ABC News, Univision launched Fusion, a cable network geared toward millenials. But success among this demographic has proved elusive for the network.
“The reality, since Fusion began in October 2013, has been more complex,” Ravi Somaiya and Brooks Barnes for The New York Times. “Many inside and outside the company are hard pressed to define what exactly Fusion does. Traffic to its website has been anemic at times, and it has yet to deliver the kind of attention-getting stories that digital media rivals like Buzzfeed and Vice have produced.”
Perhaps that has more to do with Univision’s history of consolidation and conglomeration rather than innovation.
For example, in response to critiques that the network had a lack of content for bilingual Latinos born in the U.S., Univision created The Flama, a bilingual website for second and third generation Latinos in 2013. On television, however, Univision still heavily relies on imported programming from Mexican network Televisa. It is also still struggling to attract non-immigrant Latino audiences, even with the advent of Fusion.
TheRoot has a very different mandate as a news website than Univision has as a transnational media conglomerate. It’s not only that The Root and Univision target different audiences, they also operate within different scopes. Whereas large media companies are primarily driven by profits, smaller outlets like TheRoot are usually more concerned with covering issues not visible in the mainstream media. At least that was the case for TheRoot when The Washington Post owned it.
While the management of The Root maintains that it will still have editorial control, it is possible that Univision will exert some influence over the tone and tenor of the site. It is also doubtful that The Root and Univision will create content that will foster conversations between the African American and Latino communities. As of now, for example, Univision’s acquisition of Bounce TV has not influenced programming on either network. Instead of creating coalitions between African American and Latino communities, the acquisition has proven to be more of a move towards aggregating growing and lucrative niche markets for increased profits. More of the same is probably what we can expect with the purchase of TheRoot.
The merger between Univision and TheRoot should not be divorced from recent criticism the network received in response to a host commenting that Michelle Obama looked like “something from the cast of the Planet of the Apes.” While Univision fired the host shortly after the incident, it received mainstream media attention and spotlighted the network’s long track record of racist content. At best, indigenous-looking and black Latinos are relegated to buffoon or servant roles in telenovelas and at worst they are invisible on Univision’s other programming. In 2010, Univision issued an apology after airing a Despierta America segment about South Africa winning the 2014 World Cup that featured the cast of the morning show dancing in Afro wigs while holding spears. During the network’s World Cup 2014 coverage, Univision commentators were criticized for making racist remarks about black players during the games. While the network didn’t make a formal apology, it did agree to look further into the issue and its on-air practices. It is also problematic that many of the network’s on-air talent are white-skinned Latinos and that dark-skinned Hispanics are rarely seen on-camera.
It is also worth noting that Univision’s CEO, Randy Falco, is a white Anglo man who does not speak Spanish. Univision’s purchase of TheRoot might be part of the network’s efforts to be more racially inclusive, but we shouldn’t forget that ownership is key. In a media system where only a very few own access to producing and distributing media content, I am hesitant to celebrate yet another merger.
By CONSTANZA GALLARDO
MIAMI – Hispanics in the U.S. tend to be bilingual. In the American market, 14 million hispanic consumers who are 18 years old and over are strictly bilingual, according to a study by Latinum Network. Hugo Balta, senior director of multicultural content at ESPN, talks about the bilingual approach that marketers need to understand and apply in reaching U.S. Hispanic communities at Hispanicize 2015 in Miami.
“There certainly is a distinct way to speak to Latinos in English that the media needs to apply,” Balta said. “I think the bilingual approach is one that covers the whole market because it is reflective of the majority of households in the United States.”
By ANDREW PORTER
Blacks and Hispanics discuss and view local crime news at rates nearly two times that of whites, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center.
Pew analyzed local news segments in Denver, Macon, Ga., and Sioux City, Iowa and found that in each city at least three-in-ten people follow crime very closely and more than half of residents often discuss crime with others. But blacks and Hispanics discuss and view crime at rates nearly two times that of whites.
“The other explanation for why blacks and Hispanics may be paying more attention to crime news is because they are more likely to be the victim of a crime than whites,” said University of Georgia Journalism professor Barry Hollander. “When you’re engaged with actual events in your life, you are going to pay more attention to the news about those kind of events.”
The study also shows that the higher the socioeconomic status of the person who viewed the news, the less likely that person is to pay attention to crime news.
“The finding on upper socioeconomic status is driven largely because there is less crime in those neighborhoods, Hollander said. “They see less crime, they’re the victims of less crime, and where crime occurs, it’s not where they live.”
By CONSTANZA GALLARDO
Tania Luviano had been a TV news anchor for 10 years until she was laid off during the 2008 economic crisis. She sent resumes to several media companies but nobody was hiring.
Luviano found herself vlogging about her life as a mother and founded Latina Mom TV.
“You have to stick to what you know, find your niche and think outside the box,” says Luviano, who was among several journalist entrepreneurs at Hispanicize this week sharing success stories.
Journalists attending the annual media event that brings together marketers, journalists, filmmakers and more were encouraged to embrace the one-man show work routine in order to succeed in the evolving media world.
More Hispanic journalists are hanging out their own shingles, becoming their own boss. The second Annual State of Hispanic Journalists survey by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists was released at Hispanicize. The survey showed that 40 percent of hispanic correspondents today are freelancers, an increase from last year’s 33 percent. And 42 percent of correspondents have their own blog or business.
Luviano said her experience as a journalist helped run her new business. And as an entrepreneur, she thinks it’s important to know how much your business costs and what’s the best amount to charge for that work.
“I overcharge, but I always get the money,” says Flor de Maria Rivero, founder of Flor de Maria Fashion.
Rivero created a media kit that helps sell her brand and provides media companies an estimate of what her work is worth.
Lorraine Ladish has been a freelance writer her entire career, and is now the founder of Viva Fifty, a bilingual community that celebrates being 50 years old and over. She said entrepreneurs have to determine the minimum pay that they are willing to work for, and also be able to walk away from certain opportunities because they disagree with the amount being offered.
Having a network of people that want to help you can also factor into determining how much to charge.
“And guess what?” says Ladish. “Nobody has told me, ‘you are too expensive.’ ”
Bill Gato, CEO for Hispanicize Wire, said he thinks entrepreneurs should look for partners instead of trying to go it alone.
No one can be an expert at everything, Gato said. In his own experience, Gato said that he needed to partner with someone who better understood the business aspects of making and managing money. “It’s hard to do everything on your own,” he said.
Luviano, Rivero and Ladish disagreed. They said journalists can wear multiple hats in running their businesses, from single-handedly posting on social media, taking their own photographs and doing their own writing.
Regardless as to whether journalists have partners or go solo, media entrepreneurs say the best way to start is to connect with people and recognize the importance of leadership and self-value.
“Keep learning,” says Rivero. “Reinvent yourself and think of ways to present new things to people.”