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2002 NAHJ Network Brownout Report

2002 NAHJ Network Brownout Report

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Published by nahjorg
The Network Brownout Report examines the ways in which Latinos and Latino-related issues are portrayed on the evening news programs of the nation’s major English-language television networks — ABC, CBS and NBC.
The Network Brownout Report examines the ways in which Latinos and Latino-related issues are portrayed on the evening news programs of the nation’s major English-language television networks — ABC, CBS and NBC.

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Published by: nahjorg on Feb 22, 2010
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ANH
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Network Brownout 2002:
The Portrayal of Latinosin Network Television News, 2001
 A Report Prepared by Serafín Méndez-Méndez and Diane Alverio
NOVEMBER 2002
 J
 Report prepared for the
 
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3Background and Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Story Topics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Geographical Peg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7Use of Reporters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8Trends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10Critical Reading of Television News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Methodological Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13Limitations of Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14Board Listing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Back CoverACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThe authors would like to thank the National Association of Hispanic Journalistsfor providing funding to support this research.
Report edited by:Joseph Torres, communications director, NAHJMichelle Brown, editorial assistant
FOR MORE INFORMATION, DIRECT PUBLICATION INQUIRIES OR REQUESTS TO:NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HISPANIC JOURNALISTS529 14th STREET, NW, SUITE 1000WASHINGTON, DC 20045-2001202-662-7145www.nahj.org
2NETWORK BROWNOUT 2002
Table of Contents
About the Authors
Serafín Méndez-Méndez
is an associate professor andchair of the Department of Communication at CentralConnecticut State University in New Britain, Conn.Dr. Méndez’s areas of expertise are media literacy andmedia and rhetorical criticism. His research interestsinclude Puerto Rican and Caribbean popular culture.He is the co-author of 
Puerto Rico Past and Present: AnEncyclopedia
. He has authored many articles and scientif-ic reports dealing with the media’s construction of issues.
Diane Alverio
, a communication consultant, is co-ownerof 
Baldwin/Alverio Media Marketing
, a media research,marketing and public relations firm. She wrote an essayabout the Beijing Women’s Conference for UNITY ’94and for the Ford Foundation publication entitled,
TheBeijing Women’s Conference: A Report by Journalistsof Color 
. Alverio is a former president of the NationalAssociation of Hispanic Journalists and served as presi-dent and financial officer of UNITY ’94. A broadcast jour-nalist for 18 years, Alverio has a B.A. from the Universityof Hartford.
 
NETWORK BROWNOUT 20023
s
Cities with large Latino populations continued to beunderrepresented as locations where Latino-relatedstories originated. The greatest number of storiesoriginated in Washington, D.C. (22).
Qualitative Study Findings
s
News stories on Latinos frequently used the imageof the border to suggest a divide between theLatino and non-Latino populations and to defineLatinos as illegal immigrants.
s
The stereotypical use of cultural artifacts and forms,such as music and food, continued to be a keydevice used by the networks to contextualizeLatinos.
s
A disproportionate number of stories portrayedLatinos living in “ghettos.”
s
Stories portrayed Vieques Island residents asviolence prone rebels who cut fences, invadedshooting ranges, and screamed at the military,without much explanation for their reasons forprotesting.
Conclusion
s
Given that the percentage of network storieson Latinos only slightly increased in 2001 overthe previous year, we must conclude that thenation’s 35.3 million Latinos are still beingrelegated to the margins of U.S. newsconsciousness by ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN.
s
While stories about Latinos continued to beunderrepresented on the evening newscasts,this year’s report found a marked improvementin the percentage of Latino-related stories thatfeatured interviews with Latinos.
s
The NAHJ believes that the lack of newsroomdiversity is a major reason why there continuesto be a brownout of Latinos on the eveningnews.
s
NAHJ urges the network news chiefs to adoptthe same openness about their employmentrecord that the majority of local television andradio stations have been practicing for years.
The 2002 NAHJ
Network Brownout Report 
presentsthe results of a comprehensive analysis of the networkevening newscasts as summarized by the VanderbiltUniversity Television Archives.NAHJ’s seventh annual
Network Brownout Report 
examines news stories that aired on the eveningnewscasts of CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN during the2001 calendar year. The study, for the second consecu-tive year, also analyzes a random subsample of storiesexamining how Latinos are depicted on the news.
Quantitative Study Findings
s
Of the approximately 16,000 stories that aired onABC, CBS, CNN and NBC in 2001, only 99 stories,or 0.62 percent, were about Latinos. In 2000, 84stories (0.53 percent)were about Latinos.
s
The use of Latinos as interview subjects in Latino-related stories increased substantially. Last year,of the 99 Latino-related stories, 67(67.6 percent)featured interviews with Latinos.
s
The report recorded a gain in the length of Latino-related stories, from an average of oneminute and fifty seconds in 2000 to two minutesand 25 seconds in 2001.
s
ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC aired approximately 728hours of news during their prime-time broadcasts.
1
Latino-related stories accounted for just 3.98 hours(0.55 percent) of the total airtime.
s
The second quarter of 2001 (April, May and June)accounted for the greatest number of stories onLatinos (37). There was a 50 percent reduction inthe number of stories during the last quarter(October, November and December). The reductionfollowed the Sept.11 terrorist attacks.
s
The controversy over the military bombings of  Vieques Island in Puerto Rico was the most fre-quently covered topic for the second consecutiveyear, with 25 stories.
s
While the controversy about Elián González was amajor story topic in the 2000 study, stories abouthim almost vanished from media coverage in 2001.This year’s report found only six stories dealing witheither Cuban Americans or Elián. In 2000, a totalof 348 stories were devoted to Elián. NAHJ includ-ed stories about Elián in its report last year, butconsidered those stories a statistical anomaly andcounted them in a separate category.
Executive Summary 

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