Oct 6, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Report: Latino representation in media barely budged in past decade

 U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) stands during a news conference to discuss the Supreme Court case involving DACA at the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Representation of U.S. Hispanics in the media industry stagnated over the past decade even though the population skyrocketed, the federal Government Accountability Office found.

Why it matters: Despite promises by news outlets and movie studios to diversify, the GAO study requested by U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) showed little has changed for Latinos in 10 years.

  • Castro outlined the report's findings Wednesday at a National Press Club forum.

By the numbers: The study by Congress' watchdog found the number of Hispanic workers in the media industry increased by just one percentage point from 2010 to 2019.

  • Hispanics made up an estimated 12% of workers in media industries such as news outlets, studios and streaming services, compared to 18% of workers outside of media.
  • The GAO study used data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and interviews with industry leaders, unions and Latino media groups.

The intrigue: Financial barriers, difficulty obtaining the necessary education and obstacles to establishing professional networks contributed to the low representation.

  • Other challenges cited included access to key entities within the media industry, such as unions, and a lack of diversity among talent agents and decision makers like executives, directors and producers.

What they're saying: “Latinos make up nearly 20 percent of the country and our contributions are critical to America’s success, but our stories remain almost entirely missing from the American narrative," Castro said in a statement.

  • The release of the report "is an important examination of the factors that contribute to Latino representation and a call-to-action for government and the private sector to tackle this foundational problem for our society,” he added.

The big picture: In recent years, Latino journalists have challenged managers at The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press, Gannet, and cable news outlets over stereotypical coverage and a lack of diversity.

What's next: The GAO recommended the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission work with the Federal Communications Commission to share data regarding discrimination charges filed against broadcasters and cable operators.

  • It also suggested EEOC routinely identify local unions required to file reports on the demographics of union members.
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