It comes as no surprise there is a renovated interest in all things Latino in the United States of America. It started back in the late 90s during the 1999 Grammys when Ricky Martin took the stage and performed his sizzling, break-through song La Copa de la Vida that enamored all non-Latino Americans to everything Latino.
Since Martin there’s been Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, and other Latinos who became popular in the country. However, superstars aside the interest of Latinos go deeper, beyond the world of entertainment.
Back in the early 2000s, the Census Bureau statistics noted that Latinos were on the rise in the country and they stood as being the highest population in America. In 2001, there was an estimated 37 million in 2001 which was 4.7% higher than the previous year. The numbers would continue to grow and show how important Latino Americans were in this country.
In the 2012 Elections the re-election of President Barack Obama was possibly due in part to the large Latino voter turn-out in three of the key battleground states like Colorado, Florida, and Nevada.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center that released an analysis of the 2012 Elections, the national voting share of Latinos, mainly Latino youth, was its highest for voting for President Obama’s re-election. The election also showed that the vote for a Democratic candidate among Latinos was higher than it was in1996 when President Clinton won with 72% of the Latino vote.
The 2012 elections put Latino Americans under the spotlight as the coveted Americans to target. From politicians to marketing companies Latinos in America were the IT factor for this country’s future as being the untouched market. Even certain aspects of the entertainment industry saw the potential of Latino Americans.
With Latinos being the growing population in the country entertainment companies began to create shows and programs whether on television or online that adhere to the growing demographic. Programs were aimed at interesting both Spanish and English speaking Latinos hoping to find some success with the group by providing entertainment aimed at them.
One company in particular that tried to jump on the trend of such programming was NBC, however it didn’t exactly work out.
Back in late 2011 and early 2012, NBC had launched NBCLatino an online news site devoted to Latinos in America. The site would allow NBC to take part in the online race to produce programs and online content for Latino.
Managing editor of the site, Chris Pena described the site as being a focus on the Latino in the U.S. and would pose as a leverage for NBC Universal’s resources including Telemundo, a Spanish-speaking network owned by the company. However, in November of 2013 it was announced the site was shutting down and this past Friday it was.
In-regards to the closing of NBCLatino, NBC stated that it’s shutting down “will allow its content to reach a much larger audience and it will further enhance NBC News’s commitment and ability to cover news and issues that matter to the Latino community. ”
But could the closing of a site geared towards Latinos allow for another site that has a great deal to cover still cover news and issues that matter to the Latino community in America? Not exactly since it just removes the spotlight of the already present neglect of the Latino community.
In a candid article posted on Buzzfeed, former NBCLatino staffer Adrian Carrasquillo describes the continued problem of sites that claim to be devoted to Latino Americans. He points out how the shutting down of NBCLatino represents an undertone of the trend to appeal to Latino Americans.
The trend is to get use out of the Latino community by trying to appease Latino Americanss by acquiring their attention to attract them to politician cause or a network’s site or some brand through showing things that are relatable. But the undertone is there is taking by the luring but no giving by representation of the Latino American.
In relation to Latino news media, Carrasquillo describes how Latino journalism or stories geared towards Latinos, “should reflect the country, the people you are writing about, the audience. It is, moreover, an obvious practical advantage: Every journalist brings his or her roots and experience to the job, and a newsroom can’t afford to be cut off culturally from a huge piece of American life in the 21st century.”
To demonstrate how a Latino presence in news media is pivotal, Carrasquillo told the story of Rodrigo Diaz, a young Latino man who was killed a year ago next week after pulling into the wrong drive-way and was wrongfully shot by a man who believed his home was about to be invaded.
“NBC Latino was probably the first major news site with the story,” described Carrasquillo, “I called his brother and asked him to tell me the story of the brother he loved, not the one being spoken about in an abstract way in local news. No one else was covering that story nationally. NBC News shared the story with its audience and there you have it, mainstream media was covering the young man’s death. At least giving his life importance and context in death, instead of being quickly forgotten like so many others.”
The importance of news media that is focused on particular groups in America may seem like it is separating the country, but in fact it can actually do the opposite if done in a way that pays attention to specific groups—their struggles and issues along with their accomplishments and success—and relate them to the country as a whole.
“LGBT coverage, black culture and issues coverage, Latino stories, and stories about any other marginalized and ignored community is not just a good idea but necessary in this media environment. And these stories will often be sharper and deeper when written by people who are part of the communities, understand them, and are passionate about their work,” said Carrasquillo.
While network companies aim to produce programs geared toward specific viewers such programs should be not just for viewers but by viewers themselves. The neglect of Latino interest in Latino Media in the country should be addressed by providing insider input from the community itself.
Latino Media should focus on the daily Latino member within their respective American community. When it comes to politics more stories on Latino political figures and how they will affect the Latino community and their observation of said individual could be beneficial. In-addition, addressing social issues such as health, education, or immigration reform with a focus on Latino perspective could benefit the community and other neglected or isolated racial groups as well.
The development of any media or news media entity that is geared towards a specific group like NBCLatino was should be seen as branch to the tree rather than a piece of property to the network company as a whole. By showing just as much attention to the branch as well as the tree you’re allowing for both to grow without an imbalance. By showing attention to that branch and merely not taking what you can from it is allowing for further provisions to be made. A form of media geared towards one group doesn’t separate, but allows an insight which connects the part to the whole.