This makes for good news to read on a Monday–Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released data that suggests that Hispanic media are not only surviving in the economic downturn, but in some instances, it is doing better than mainstream (read: Caucasian, English-language) media.
A closer look at the statistics finds a mix bag of positive as well as so-so statistics with regard to various Hispanic media. Some interesting facts to note include:
- While both Hispanic daily and weekly newspapers saw a decline in circulation, the number of weekly newspapers actually grew by 18% to a total of 117 papers.
- Univision television competed and in some instances outpaced the major English-language networks.
- Univision announced plans to launch a 24-hour Spanish news network in 2012, competing with CNN en Español and other international Spanish language news networks.
Despite the good traditional news, some of Pew’s research indicates that the digital divide still exists between Hispanics and whites, with more whites accessing the Internet at home than Latinos.
Additionally, they found that language proficiency within the Hispanic community correlated to Internet use. For instance, their research indicated that Spanish-dominant Hispanics were significantly less likely to use the Internet or have a home Internet connection than English-dominant or bilingual Hispanics.
The digital divide may be part of the reason why Hispanic, and in particular Spanish-language, traditional media is able to flourish.
The Hispanic community still needs and relies on traditional media to know what’s going on domestically and abroad in Latin America. Even with the growing prevalence and affordability of Smart Phones and cell phone Internet access, there are still many free Spanish weekly news stands in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods.
Speaking from personal experience, I can attest to the quality of those newspapers and the role they serve in their communities. I cut my teeth as a news reporter working for Spanish and bilingual community weeklies in the Twin Cities back in the early 2000s.
These papers carried a real sense of purpose in the stories they covered and for the communities they informed.
While the mainstream newspapers only had so much news space to allocate to issues affecting the Hispanic community, the Spanish weekly papers have multiple pages to cover the same issues and more.
It’s fitting that the Hispanic media grows while the Hispanic community grows with it. The Census 2010 research indicates that Hispanics comprise 16% of the U.S. population, accounting for over half of the nation’s population growth over the last decade.
It’s also optimistic to read studies like these that demonstrate how print journalism is still alive and well in the Hispanic community to balance with the other “print is dead” stories.
But these are just my observations on the recent statistics. Anyone else have experience working in the Hispanic media? Any one have a favorite Spanish publication or telenovela to share?
Media relations are an important component of public relations.
It’s common for PR folks to develop close working relationships with their media contacts, often based on trust and with respect for each other’s role in shaping the communications that reach our audiences.
But one thing the PR pro in the United States has never had to consider is the safety or livelihood of their reporter contacts.
The reality for reporters working in many countries outside of the United States is that journalism can be a dangerous profession.
Proof of this fact is 2011 Impunity Index report, which The Committee to Protect Journalists released yesterday. It identified the thirteen most dangerous countries for reporters based on the number of unsolved or non-prosecuted murders of journalists in comparison with their total population.
For any journalist, whether current or former like myself, it is a jarring reminder of how important it is to advocate for the free press.
And it is a reality check for both PR folks and journalists in the United States to thank our lucky stars we have the freedoms afforded to us within our own borders.
Some of the most striking facts from the report include:
- Journalists are often targeted in conflict/war zones
While reporters are wounded or killed in the line of combat, the CPJ also found that they are often targeted in countries in active combat. Iraq topped the list of countries with the most unsolved journalist murders, along with other countries that are no strangers to conflict such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- A remedy to impunity against journalist murders is elusive
The CPJ has actively met with the leadership in many of these countries but found that pervasive corruption within the law and judicial systems prevents many of them from adequately addressing these cases. Consider that all 92 cases of murdered journalists in Iraq over the past ten years have gone unsolved or non-prosecuted. It begs the question of how much do these governments value free expression if they turn a blind eye or keep their hands tied at so many injustices against the press?
- Violence is often directed against political reporters
Thirty percent of the unsolved cases the CPJ found involved political reporters in the Impunity Index. In the United States, political reporting is such a part of our daily news, it’s incomprehensible how the same reporters in other countries live with targets on their backs. Imagine if someone took a hit out on Chris Matthews for something critical he said against a prominent senator?
- Local reporters are killed at higher rates than international reporters
Just as the news is local, so is the violence permeated against journalists in their own countries. While I credit the CPJ and other organizations like Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch with keeping a high-profile of crimes against the free press, very few of these local cases make it into the international media. Perhaps it’s because they are local to those countries or because there are so many. But these crimes have the potential to enact a chilling effect on free expression. Take for example, how El Diario, a newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (#8 on the Index) curtailed their coverage after a photographer and crime reporter were both killed just two years apart from each other.
I also understand the limitations of my observations. I am viewing it from my perspective of always being free to write and express my thoughts and opinions (so long as they do not incite danger against others). I do not mean to be naïve nor judgmental of these countries.
It would be interesting to hear what PR practitioners in some of these countries think about this report and how their colleagues in journalism are affected by violence and fear of retaliation.
What do you think? Should PR pro’s be concerned with a free press or violence directed against journalists?
Well, this certainly turned out to be an eventful week. I didn’t even hear the news at first Sunday night because we were watching a DVD. But when I got back from taking the dog out, my husband informed me that two news stories had broken–Osama bin Laden had been killed and John Cena was the new WWE Champion. You can venture to guess which of those dominated the mainstream news. In between the news coverage on perhaps the biggest story of the year, I found some interesting articles and posts to share–enjoy!
Shrinking Newsrooms and the Rise of PR (by @propublica):
It’s no surprise that, with the decline in print journalism, the itself newsroom is shrinking. I think I’ve read an article to that effect at least once a month. But ProPublica offers an interesting investigative piece on the implications of PR filling the news void while traditional journalism struggles. It’s not your typical “PR is bad” article, although it does lay on the unethical aspects a little bit.
Considering that many former journalists have made the switch to PR, it can’t be all that bad–perhaps in doing so, they also carry over their ethical journalistic standards that can enhance PR’s ethical duties as well.
Applying Journalism Writing to Content Development (by Derek Gordon via @MediaPost):
Here’s something positive–who says that a print journalism degree is going to waste? Despite the shrinking newsroom (see above) there is still considerable value a journalism degree can contribute to other professions.
For instance, bloggers and PR folks are always creating content. Why not take some advice from our journo brethren who are also working under deadlines and churning out quality content? Mr. Gordon offers a straightforward list of how content creators can learn from journalists, demonstrating how the fundamentals of news writing have applications to online and public relations content.
Alternatives to Press Releases (by @clairecelsi):
Media relations and the art of sending a press release should require a little research and effort in order to be effective. But PR folks are sometimes guilty of taking short cuts. Fear not next time you have a pitch coming up–Claire Celsi offers six alternatives to the traditional press release that can also build better media relations. Her post illustrates how it’s helpful to explore how the media prefer to receive communications and PR pitches. Who knows, you may end up with better coverage or at least a more effective media list.
Importance of Storytelling (by @3HatsComm via @Shonali):
Here is another great guest post on Shonali Burke’s Waxing Unlyrical blog that is both simple and compelling in its message.
Davina Brewer (@3HatsComm) brings up how brands and PR pros should not lose sight of storytelling, considering how social media makes it easier to convey. People will be more endeared to companies, brands, products, or services if the communications teams for those respective items create a compelling story to draw them in. Ms. Brewer’s post, just like her point on storytelling, cuts through the clutter and gets to the point in an engaging manner that resonates with her readers–spoken like a true storyteller!
Do you have any interesting stories or posts to share as well?
Another month has come to a close and we’re that much closer to summertime. The Philadelphia-area was treated to a preview of summer with temperatures in the 80′s and the humidity to match a July day. Too early for me, in my opinion. But as the weekend cools down, and hopefully the weather in your area does too, check out these links and articles of interest from this week. Enjoy!
Resource for Latin American Journalism Perspectives (via @niemanlab):
I have always been interested in journalism issues as they relate to Latin America. It was great to learn about this resource from Neiman Labs of Harvard University. They tweeted about a magazine, available online as well as in print, from their colleagues at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.
A glance at the table of contents demonstrates how this is a great resource for timely perspectives on issues affecting Latin American journalists, from censorship to death threats. For anyone interested in international, or more specifically Latin American, journalism issues it’s worth bookmarking for future reading.
What You Think You Know About Journalism (by @jayrosen_nyu):
I’m on a bit of a journalism kick here, I know.
But couldn’t resist including this thoughtful perspective piece from Jay Rosen of New York University’s journalism school. From someone who has taught on the subject for more than two decades, it’s interesting to read on how journalism has changed. Mr. Rosen makes many good points for discussion, which are worth reviewing if you’re a journo-junkie like me. It challenges us to consider where the journalism profession is headed.
How PR Agencies are Killing Facebook (by @danielstein):
Here’s an example of one of those posts that sets off a wildfire of discussion! I admit, I saw this post, but didn’t really pay it much attention. It didn’t sound like the author was making a conclusive observation and rather was adding to the “who owns social media” discussion.
Then, I see that Gini Dietrich responded to the post–and she was very animated, as were the 60+ comments her post generated. Then, @prtini pointed to another response that got my attention for using “unicorns” in the headline (SEO be damned!) by @davefleet. PR and communications folks were fired up this week and having an intelligent conversation. All this points to how great the social interweb is (in my ever-optimistic view) because not only is everyone entitled to publish their opinion, but everyone is also getting involved in the conversation.
Lamenting Broadcast News Coverage by Dan Rather (via @Jen_Bischoff):
Oh heck, what’s one more journalism post going to hurt ;)
I was a long-time CBS Evening News viewer when Rather was in the anchor seat, so I can clearly hear his soothing broadcast voice as I read his words. While he only laments this past week’s “silliness” in broadcast journalism coverage (i.e. opting for royal wedding fever over atrocities in Syria), I have been lamenting broadcast news for many years. So much so that I hardly even turn on my TV for news, save for the local fluffy AM show.
This goes back to the common discussion on my blog and in comments with others–the business of journalism wins out over content because a broadcast network will get more viewers out of a royal wedding than the reality of how much life sucks for people in other parts of the world.
Gosh, that ended way more seriously than I wanted to for this week’s edition. How about I share a clip of a serious breaking news broadcast? I was reminded of this incident of the famous Milwaukee Brewers “Sausage-gate” back a few years. I don’t know how these anchors kept a straight face–you try not to laugh!
Lois Lane, Charles Foster Kane, Ted Baxter – what do these names have in common? They’re all fictional characters portraying journalists.
Sure, they may have been inflated caricatures in their time, but they brought to the mainstream a character that often hid in the background: the journalist.
Be it broadcast, print, or online, journalists are those individuals who take on the task of investigating, recording, and telling the stories that define our world. At least, that’s my romantic vision of who a journalist is.
You could say my heroes have always been journalists.
I grew up idolizing people like Dan Rather, Mike Wallace, Helen Thomas, and of course, David Halberstam.
They were the journalists who worked the old school, traditional journalism angle back when there was no Twitter, no Google, or heck, no cell phones with which to call their sources.
Fast forward a few decades, and today, the public has all the news it wants at its fingertips, with or without the journalists’ help.
Which brings me to the question that spurred this post: what makes a journalist in today’s world?
Not to rehash the entire discussion, but this concept moves along the same lines as the earlier discussion on how to define journalism in a 2.0 world.
It appears to me, as this is simply a commentary piece that the means with which we use to communicate are changing the roles of those who work in communications.
Social media is changing everybody’s game, from public relations, to marketing, to journalism.
And if by some cosmic force, as I was noodling on this post over the past few weeks, I learned (via the social Internet) that the Northwestern University Library is featuring an exhibit dedicated to exploring the different definitions of the journalist.
Makes me wish I could jump the next flight to the Windy City and check it out…
The exhibit’s curator is Northwestern’s Medill School professor Loren Ghiglione. And while I haven’t spoken directly to Mr. Ghiglione, I found a few points he made in the exhibit announcement (dare I say press release?) enlightening with regard to the issue of journalism I’ve been pondering lately.
I especially liked how Mr. Ghiglione simply states, “There’s never been any one definition of who a journalist is. (note: my emphasis added) It tends to be a whole cast of contradictory characters in one: communicator and critic of propaganda, reporter and rumormonger, educator and entertainer.”
Perhaps, like the concurrent PR definition discussion, the lack of a definition of a journalist leaves it open to interpretation and more inclusion as communications platforms evolve.
That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whom you ask.
While I like to think of my journalism heroes, I may have to come to terms with the reality that they merely fit the definition of a journalist in their time, given the communications available to them.
With the communications available today, a journalist can be the print newspaper reporter, the broadcast editor, the blogger/citizen journalist, or the on-the-ground eyewitness with access to Twitter.
I could go on and on all day about this, and probably still not take a definite stance on what I think a journalist is. That’s just my moderate nature, I guess.
It’s kind of funny, if you consider I have an undergraduate degree in journalism, and I don’t think I ever really recall the definition as it was taught at that time.
No more belaboring on this issue on my part– what do you think? What do you think makes a journalist? Any favorite journalist characters or real-life heroes to share?