Why is this research relevant?
Latino communities make up to 18% of the U.S. population. Latino´s opinion and democratic participation is relevant. Many of the 59 million Latinos get their daily news on Univision and Telemundo, the two largest media corporations that broadcast in Spanish. As reported by The Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in June 2019, there are additionally over 600 Hispanic news outlets in the country which provide local news for the “vecinos” on cable, radio, paper or digital format.
What is happening to all these news sources these days when many journalists are laid off or furloughed due to Covid19?
Are minority journalists the first that face unemployment when newsrooms reduce their staff?
Where will the Latino communities get their information if media houses close, journalists stop working or have obstacles to do so?
We also understand that journalists from other minorities must be at similar situation, so Fundamedios is also establishing contact with the associations that represents them to share information and also report on similar cases of harassment or discrimination. We are particularity concerned about the increase of discrimination toward Asian American population given the rhetoric on the origin of the Coronavirus.
What are we looking for?
Under the First Amendment, American journalists have always exercised their freedom to develop investigative journalism to inform their communities under a fairly safe environment. However, the recent antimedia rhetoric that targets journalists as enemies and the anti-immigrant narrative, both of which come from official circles, have also incited sectors of population to discriminate and harass Latino journalists, as well as those from other minorities.
The investigation being proposed with this project will elaborate a diagnostic and analysis of threats and harassment that Latino journalists face due to their profession and ethnic origin. The final result of the research will be an assessment of the conditions and the local environment of freedom of expression and freedom of the press for Hispanic journalists and Hispanic media outlets in the U.S.
It will also be an evaluation of the access Latinos journalists have to public and private information. The assessment will allow us to establish a network of Latino journalists that have suffered discrimination or harassment and would be the basis toward implementing an urgent action safety plan. It would also serve the media houses to develop their own safety protocols and mutual support.
And of course, although it was not in our initial plans, we will also report on how the COVID19 pandemic affects the Latino journalists. What is happing to their jobs? What will happen to the Latino communities if they cannot go on informing about the crisis in Spanish?
And how can this affect the campaign to control the pandemic which requires that everyone is well informed?
Who is supporting us?
The initiative of research, documentation and the development of the database has been generously funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute with a fellowship for the 20-21 academic year. The project will be complemented with a journalistic piece supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
We are also grateful for the support provided by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), the School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University, the Universidad Iberoamericana of Mexico, and the Pontificia Universidad Católica from Valparaiso from Chile.