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Elevating Latino experiences and voices in news about racial equity: Findings and recommendations for more complete coverage

March 15, 2023

Every day, Latinos in the United States encounter — and work to dismantle — many forms of inequality. Latinos are disproportionately killed by police, face unaffordable rent and high risks of homelessness, and are more likely than non-Latino groups to experience hunger and material hardship, like difficulty paying bills. These are all racial injustices, rooted in fundamentally unequal systems and structures, but do we recognize them as such? And are connections between racial injustices and Latinos, the country's largest ethnic minority, clear?  Studying whether — and how — these issues appear in the news can give us answers. That's because news institutions play a powerful role in shaping public conversations. Journalists provide both policymakers and the public with information on events, trends, social injustices, and other developments in our communities, the nation, and beyond. Knowing how issues are discussed in the media, then, gives us a baseline for understanding how people are — or aren't — thinking about our world's challenges, who is affected by them, and what solutions seem possible.To gain a window into the current state of public discourse surrounding racial equity and to identify opportunities for improvement, BMSG researchers, in consultation with UnidosUS, explored how Latino communities have been represented in national news about both racism and racial equity (including news about issues like inequities in wealth, housing, and health). We reviewed news published in both print and online national outlets. We studied the content, tone, and perspectives included in or excluded from news coverage and used our findings to make recommendations for journalists, advocates, and philanthropists to expand and deepen their understanding of racial equity and to improve news coverage of Latinos.

Deaths of People of Color By Law Enforcement Are Severely Under-Counted

May 1, 2021

Beginning in early 2021, the Raza Database Project, a team of volunteer researchers, journalists, family members of Latinos killed by police, and activists came together to investigate a long-suspected undercount of the deaths of Latinos and other people of color by or in the custody of law enforcement. The Project's Director, Roberto "Dr. Cintli" Rodríguez, himself a survivor of police abuse, began his inquiry into thesubject in 2016 by comparing well-known Hispanic surnames with the names of individuals reported in the "White," "Other," and "Unknown" categories of national databases of police killings that were created following the shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. His initial inquiry concluded that deaths of Latino and Indigenous people at the hands of police were under-counted in widely reported national databases by a quarter to one-third. He also called attention to media narrativesthat virtually ignored the killings of Latinos by law enforcement, even in Southern California, the largest Hispanic media market in the country.