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2004 NAHJ Network Brownout Report

2004 NAHJ Network Brownout Report

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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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National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Network Brownout 2004:
The Portrayal of Latinos & LatinoIssues in Network Television News, 2003
Quantitative & Qualitative Analysis of the Coverage
BYFEDERICO SUBERVI, Ph.D.COLLABORATORS:
 JOSEPH TORRES & DANIELA MONTALVO, NAHJ STAFF 
DECEMBER 2004 AUSTIN, TEXAS & WASHINGTON, DC
 Report prepared for the
 
About the author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Part 1. The Quantitative Assessments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Overall Number and Length in Time of Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5Topics Covered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6Coverage Totals by Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6Number of Minutes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7Reporters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8Number of Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Presence of Latinos on Camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Balance of Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Part 2. The Qualitative Assessments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10Critical Viewing of Selected Stories... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10Part 3. A Sample Week for Comparisons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Latino Reporters/Anchors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Number of Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Balance of Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13Part 4. Other Representations of Latinos in the News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17End Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The author and NAHJ would like to extend a special noteof gratitude to Diane Alverio, former president of NAHJ,who established the baseline for this report. This studybuilds on past NAHJ Brownout Reports Alverio conduct-ed dating back to 1996. We also extend our thanks toTom Rosentiel and Atiba Pertilla of the Project forExcellence in Journalism for providing us with a copy of their code guide of the Balance of Views and Balance of 
2NETWORK BROWNOUT 2004
Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Federico Subervi
, a native of Puerto Rico, is a mediaconsultant and scholar living in Austin, Texas. For more than20 years, he has been teaching, conducting research,and publishing on issues related to the mass media andethnic groups, especially Latinos in the United States.He is the director of the Latinos and Media Project (www.latinosandmedia.org), and chair of the board of Latinitas Inc.,a Web-based magazine (www.latinitasmagazine.org) and anorganization dedicated to helping empower Latina youth viamedia and technology. Subervi has held academic appoint-ments at the University of California-Santa Barbara, theUniversity of Texas at Austin (where he also served asgraduate advisor for the Department of Radio-TV-Film),and Pace University in New York City.
Joseph Torres,Daniela Montalvo
and
Marisella Veiga
worked on con-ducting the research and the analysis of the Brownoutreport. Torres is NAHJ’s deputy director of communica-tions and media policy. Montalvo is a graduate student atGeorge Washington University in media and public affairs. Veiga is an English professor and a freelance columnist.Sources variables we adopted for this study. The appre-ciations are further extended to Ms. Mi-Suk Shim, thestatistics research assistant, who efficiently and expedi-tiously ran statistical analysis.For more information about the report, please directpublication inquiries to: NAHJ, 529 14th Street, NW,Suite 1000, Washington, DC, 20045-2001. NAHJ’s phonenumber is 202-662-7145 and Web site: www.nahj.org.
 
NETWORK BROWNOUT 20043
s
The majority of Latino stories covered alimited number of story topics. Overall,44 percent of Latino stories were aboutimmigration (30 stories) and crime (27stories). That figure climbs to 55 percentwhen human-interest stories (15 stories) areincluded and to 73 percent when the topicsof election politics (12 stories) and celebri-ties (11 stories) are added.
s
A significant percentage of stories aboutLatinos lacked in-depth coverage. Of the131 stories about Latinos that aired lastyear, 24 percent (31 stories) were less than30 seconds long. Many of these storieswere network news round-up segments.
s
Stories about Latinos lacked diversity of viewpoint and opinion. Of the 131 storiesabout Latinos, 43 percent (56 stories) didnot cite a single source. In addition, 58percent did not feature an interview witha Latino.
s
Latinos did not often appear in non-Latinorelated stories. Out of 16,000 stories thataired in 2003, Latinos appeared as sourcesin an estimated 285 non-Latino relatedstories (1.8 percent). Interviews with. Gen.Ricardo Sánchez, California Lt. Gov. CruzBustamante and New Mexico Gov. BillRichardson accounted for 40 percent of thistotal.
Positive trends:
s
Despite the overall lack of news coverage,Latinos were more positively portrayed in2003 with many news stories highlightingthe contributions that Latinos are making tosociety. For example, the number of humaninterest stories increased from 3 in 2002 to15 in 2003. Many of these stories profiledthe service and sacrifice made by Latinosoldiers.
s
The overall number of crime stories aboutLatinos declined from 47 stories (39 per-cent) in 2002 to 27 stories (21 percent) in2003. Most of these stories portrayedLatinos as the victims of crime.NAHJ’s ninth annual
Network Brownout Report 
examined news stories about Latinos andLatino-related issues that aired in 2003 on
ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather 
,
CNN NewsNight with Aaron Brown and NBC Nightly News withTom Brokaw 
as well as the networks’ weekendnightly newscasts.As in prior studies, Latino-related stories wereidentified by searching the index of VanderbiltUniversity’s Television News Archives. Othernetwork newscasts, including those on Fox andMSNBC, were not included in the study becausethey are not archived at Vanderbilt University.This year’s report contains a quantitativereview of the number and length of stories aboutLatinos. However, distinct from previous years,NAHJ made a more exhaustive effort to identify,select and assess the “Central Involvement of Latinos” in news stories.NAHJ also conducted a qualitative analysisof a sub-sample of stories about Latinos. For thefirst-time ever, NAHJ performed a content analy-sis of news stories that aired during a five-dayperiod (Oct. 20-24, 2003) to further examine theportrayal of Latinos. The goal was to betterunderstand how Latinos appeared in storiesduring a typical news week and to examine hownon-Latino related stories were covered.
The quantitative analysis of the
Network Brownout Report 
revealed:
s
Of the more than 16,000 stories thatappeared on ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC in2003, only 131, or 0.82 percent, were aboutLatinos. While that was an increase from2002, when there were 120 Latino-relatedstories, or 0.75 percent, it still remains a dis-mal record given the growth and importanceof the nation’s Latino community. Latinosmake up close to 14 percent of the U.S.population.
s
Overall, CNN aired 47 Latino stories thatreceived almost an hour and a half of air time, the most of any network.
s
Out of 639 hours of network news storiesthat aired in 2003 (38,325 minutes), a scant0.63 percent (4 hours and 2 minutes) wasdedicated to Latino stories.
Executive Summary 

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