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Why Some Networks Are Dropping Special Latino Programming

Monday, February 17, 2014

“Todo es posible” — anything is possible. That’s the slogan for CNN Latino, a Spanish-language news service launched just over a year ago. But already it’s coming to an end. The channel is slated to shut down this month.

This follows the quiet closing last month of the new English-language NBC Latino, which used the tagline “The Voice of American Hispanics.”

With other Latino media outlets going strong, what can we make of the closing of these two news services?

Federico Subervi, a professor and scholar of Latino media at Kent State University, joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss what’s going on.

Interview Highlights

On the inadequate promotion of CNN Latino and NBC Latino

“To have knowledge about these outlets and to have impact, I think they may have had to do more presence in the community events, in social-cultural activities… People look at media when they find it relevant to their particular needs. Latinos have particular interests and needs and they would be looking for news outlets and entertainment outlets that connect to their cultural relevance, their personal relevance. But they have to know about them — and have to have access to them… There is a middle class that’s growing and there’s all levels of interest that are growing across the spectrum of 55 million Latinos. How do you reach them when they’ve not known about you and they have other outlets to go to.”

On the extent to which major networks cover Latino-oriented stories

“For at least a good 15 years, I’ve been looking at how network news covered Latino and Latino issues on ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN. And over those years, the average — and this is at the low end average and even high end average — Latino issues and Latino stories do not surpass one percent of the total news of any one of those networks. When the population has gone, from the first time that the studies were done about the coverage of Latinos, to now the population has jumped from 10 to 17 percent and the network news about Latinos remain at about 1 percent, and that one percent is primarily about crime and immigration, I don’t think that the networks — even NBC with all of its promises — are going to incorporate that much.”

Guest

  • Federico Subervil, Latino media researcher and scholar. He’s a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University.
Copyright 2014 WBUR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbur.org.

Source: NPR

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