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.