Less Latino journalists in the newsroom, more misinformed latinos?

By Danna Miramontes and Erica Roa Feb.13,2024

 NBC News has reported that there has been a sudden influx of journalists being laid off earlier this year, with many of the journalists being from the Latino community. The most impacted newsroom being the LA times with 38% affected. 

 It is a step in the wrong direction, as Juan Rosa, the national director of civic engagement with NALEO Educational Fund, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works to facilitate Latino civic engagement, explained, to have so many Latino journalists laid off, especially as the community continues to grow in population numbers. 

 “So, at a time, where Latino Americans keep growing as a share of the population and the electorate, it is really detrimental to see Latino journalists being laid off in significant numbers,” said Rosa. 

 There is much to be said about this occuring during the election season. Latinos are projected to have the highest voter eligibility in November of 2024 making up 14% of eligible voters. This number has increased by 4 million voters since 2020, according to Pew Research Center. yet Latinos still come in second when it comes to voting. With the high projected numbers of Latinos participating in the election, someone has to be there to reach them.  

“Being a Latino in the newsroom, I carry a lot of weight in knowing that the communities I   reach, mean I have to provide hard hitting information catered to them,” said Raul Roa  Photojournalist for the Los Angeles Times who specializes in the new Hispanic section called De Los Times .  

“But without Hispanics such as myself in the newsroom, we aren’t able to cater information to our audience” Roa said. 

The abundant presence of Latinos on apps, such as Whatsapp, Facebook, and other forms of social media, are said to be responsible for the spread of misinformation and news. Over 50% of Latinos use apps such as Whatsapp or Facebook, making it easy to fall victim to misinformation, especially during election season. Moreover, a Nielsen report found that Latinos are easily susceptible to fake news and misinformation. 

 “Every Latino family has older family members, specifically tías who are always on Facebook seeing information or news that isn’t true and spreading it to their friends.” Nelly Mora, a criminology student at Cal Poly Pomona explained 

 “This is why it is important for Hispanics in the newsroom to help recognize that because we experience it in our own households” said Mora. 

 With that in mind, it is important to note misinformation has and will, most likely, play a part in the election season. Alex Madva an associate professor of philosophy at CPP, defines misinformation as a matter of people echoing misinformed opinions back to each other. 

 “In the United States, there was a stretch of time where people had a shared set of facts, and now everybody is siloed in their echo chambers where people just watch the news source that tells them what they want to know,” Madva said. 

 The spread of misinformation impacts everyone, Mavda added. But the Latino community has been shown to be more susceptible to misinformation.  

 Rosa explained Latinos ‘susceptibility to misinformation is primarily due to their reliance on encrypted networks and their consistent usage of those networks. 

 “Latinos rely a lot on encrypted networks for communication with families and coworkers,” said Rosa. “And social media companies are not able to monitor what goes on there.” 

Another reason, according to Rosa, as to why Latinos are susceptible to misinformation is that they are utilizing the internet consistently for their news. With Latinos accessing these unregulated networks, there is a high probability of them stumbling onto sources that are not credible. Misinformation is bound to spread easier in networks that are not completely monitored by their respected social media companies. 

 “There’s data that shows that while a lot of Latino community members do live in sort of like broadband deserts, they’re also actually very much online,” Rosa said. “They’re online on their phones. They’re getting news from YouTube.” 

 Keep in mind the election season has started, as the mail-in voting has already started, while the California primaries are soon to start March 5th. Madva said now, more than ever, it is important to hear all voices in the newsrooms.  

 “The general election is in November, but we have the California primaries happening right now,” Madva said. “It seems like a really important moment for Latino/Latina/Latinx folks in California to make their voices heard about local and national issues.” 

 Moreover, Madva explained that elections are not won by a landslide, but instead are always a tight race. It could easily be tipped to one side. So, the news plays an important part in not only informing people but in the election. 

“Even if the effect is not really large, it could be just large enough to tip a close election one way rather than another, and then it could have a really huge impact,” Madva said. 

Representation is needed to properly report on aspects of the news. Rosa explained that for Latinos to not feel alienated, there needs to be people in the newsroom who understand the community or, as Rosa referred to it, people who are culturally competent. 

“We do as a community have such a diversity of experiences and how we approach life in the United States, and that’s missing when you don’t have people again in those newsrooms, in those papers and those TV stations that understand those nuances,” said Rosa. 


Feature Image Courtesy of Cottonbro Studio/Pexel

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