A study commissioned by a Hispanic journalists’ association has found that the three dominant newsweekly magazines ran very few stories about Hispanics last year despite the growing economic and political importance of the Latino population.
The five-month study, released this week, found that only 18, or 1.2 percent, of the combined 1,547 stories that appeared last year in Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report were specifically about Hispanics.
Joseph Torres, deputy director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, which commissioned the study, says the coverage of Hispanics tended to focus on immigration, despite the fact that most of the Hispanics in the country are U.S.-born. Of the 18 Hispanic-focused stories, 12 focused on immigration, the study found.
In those stories, Hispanics were often portrayed as a “disruptive force” to U.S. society, Torres says. “That falls into a stereotypical pattern and creates a false impression of the contributions Hispanics are making to society,” he says.
Torres noted that the study, which was conducted by researchers at Arizona State University, noted that both Time and Newsweek devoted cover stories to Hispanics last year. Time listed the 25 most influential Hispanics in America while Newsweek chronicled a “Latin Power Surge” following the election of Antonio Villaraigosa as mayor of Los Angeles.
“We praised them for that” in the study, Torres says of the cover stories. “Often there are too few of those stories. … Outside of immigration, the coverage was much better.”
Steve Koepp, deputy managing editor of Time, issued a statement in response to the study, saying, “This report raises important issues. We welcome the feedback and are glad to see our cover story on the 25 most influential Hispanics commended for its broad representation of Hispanics in America. With that story and our recent cover on America’s Secret Work Force, our goal is to look past the cultural stereotypes.”
Donna Dees, a spokeswoman for U.S. News & World Report, said in a statement that the magazine’s mission was “to help readers of all backgrounds make sense of the week’s news events.” She also noted that the report found that nearly 80 percent of the magazine’s stories mentioning Hispanics were not predominantly about Hispanics.
“Interviewees for articles are selected to represent the diversity of this country’s ethnic makeup,” she said in the statement
The editor of Newsweek, Mark Whitaker, was traveling and couldn’t be reached for comment, according to a Newsweek spokeswoman.
The Hispanic journalists’ association has long produced a separate report on coverage of Hispanics on national network TV news, which has similarly found that only about 1 percent of those stories focus on Hispanics.
Torres says his organization plans to do a similar study of newsmagazine coverage in following years and hopes this year’s findings serve as a baseline for future studies.
— Associated Press
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