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2005 NAHJ Network Brownout Report

2005 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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National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Network Brownout Report 2005:
The Portrayal of Latinos & Latino Issueson Network Television News, 2004 With a Retrospect to 1995
Quantitative & Qualitative Analysis of the Coverage
BYFEDERICO SUBERVI, Ph.D.WITH
 JOSEPH TORRES & DANIELA MONTALVO, NAHJ STAFF 
JUNE 2005 AUSTIN, TEXAS & WASHINGTON, DC
 Report prepared for the
 
2NETWORK BROWNOUT 2005
About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6Part 1. Quantitative Assessments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6Overall Numbers of Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6Topics Covered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7Time Dedicated to Latino Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7Latino Reporters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8Number of Sources and Balance of Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9Presence and Voices of Latinos on Camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10Unidentifiable Latinos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11Locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11Part 2. Critical Viewing of Latino Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12Part 3. Other Representations of Latinos in the News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13Part 4. Comparisons with Two Sample Weeks of Network Coverage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14Part 5. A Ten-Year Retrospect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20End Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The author and the NAHJ would like to extend a specialnote of gratitude to Diane Alverio, former NAHJ presi-dent, who established the report’s baseline. This studybuilds on the work she conducted dating back to 1996.We extend our thanks to the Project for Excellence inJournalism for providing us with a copy of their codeguide on the balance of views and sources variablesadopted for this study. We would also like to thank
Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Dr. Federico Subervi
, a native of Puerto Rico, lives in Austin,Texas, where he is a media consultant and scholar. For morethan twenty years, he has been teaching, conductingresearch, and publishing on issues related to the mass mediaand ethnic groups, especially Latinos in the United States.He is the director of the Latinos and Media Project (www.lati-nosandmedia.org); chair of the board of Latinitas Inc., a web-based magazine (www.latinitasmagazine.org) and organiza-tion dedicated to helping empower Latina youth viamedia and technology; and, as of July 2005, full professorat the School of Journalism and Mass Communication atTexas State University in San Marcos.
Joseph Torres
and
Daniela Montalvo
are members of the NAHJ staff. Torres is NAHJ’s deputy director of com-munication and media policy and Montalvo is NAHJ’scommunication and research coordinator.Joseph Gonzalez, a graduate from William and Mary,who assisted with the coding of data.Funding for this report was made available by theNational Association of Hispanic Journalists. For moreinformation, please contact: NAHJ, 529 14th Street, NW,Washington, DC, 20045-2001. 202-662-7145,www.nahj.org
 
NETWORK BROWNOUT 20053
failed to reflect the reality of these groups. TheBrownout Report has found that the Latinocommunity continues to be covered through anarrow prism even though this group has grownexponentially. According to the Pew HispanicCenter, Latinos in the United States numbered22.3 million in 1990 but now comprise 40.4 mil-lion, a 58 percent increase. The U.S. Censusestimates that by 2050, Latinos will number102.5 million and comprise 24.4 percent of thecountry’s population.Acceptable news coverage of Latinos is anissue of fairness and accuracy. Stories on illegalimmigration or Latino gangs may not be inaccu-rate, but this becomes unfair when it comprisesan overabundance of coverage. This issue of accurate news coverage is crucial because morethan 30 million people watch the evening newsand are influenced by these programs. Whilethe media landscape is dramatically changing,the evening news still plays a prominent role indetermining issues covered across a range of media platforms.The networks’ coverage has failed to reflectthe changes in U.S. society and the Latino com-munity since NAHJ issued its first BrownoutReport in 1996.The 2005 report begins with quantitativefindings of Latino stories from 2004. Part twopresents the qualitative findings of Latino sto-ries. Part three provides an overview of Latinosas secondary or background subjects. Part fourpresents an analysis of Latino-related storiesand a content audit of two sample weeks of network news coverage. Part five offers a retro-spect of the past decade. The report closeswith conclusion and recommendation sections,followed by the study’s methodology and limita-tions.NAHJ’s 2005 Network Brownout Reportexamines the nation’s major English-languagetelevision networks’ – ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN– coverage of Latinos and Latino-related issueson their evening news programs in 2004. Thisyear marks the 10th anniversary of this study.A retrospective review is included in this install-ment.Since this report was first published in 1996,NAHJ has found that Latinos remain underrepre-sented and often stereotypically portrayed bythe news networks. In short, Latinos haveremained virtually invisible and marginalized onthe network evening news.The goals of the report are to bring greaterawareness to the portrayal of Latinos and tourge the networks to increase their coverage of issues affecting the Latino community.The problem of poor media coverage of Latinos and people of color is historic. In 1947,the Commission on Freedom of the Press,known as the Hutchins Commission, outlined theresponsibilities of the news media in a democra-tic society. Among its five major recommenda-tions, the Commission stated that the pressshould project a “representative picture of theconstituent groups in the society.” Twenty yearslater, President Lyndon Johnson appointedthe National Advisory Commission on CivilDisorders, known as the Kerner Commission, toexamine the causes of the riots that eruptedacross the country in the late 1960s. Among itsmajor findings, the Kerner Commission conclud-ed that the media’s inaccurate portrayals andmisrepresentations of the black communitycontributed to the racial divisions in our nation.Both the Hutchins and Kerner Commissionsurged the nation’s news media to improve theircoverage of minority communities.
1
Since then, coverage of people of color has
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