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U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Latinos are severely underrepresented in the media industry and have made few gains in film, television, or newsrooms since 2014, according to a preliminary U.S. Government Accountability Office report.

The big picture: The study by Congress's watchdog followed a request from U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), who has been speaking out about the lack of Hispanic staffers in media outlets and the stereotypes that persist from that exclusion.

Driving the news: Castro, a former chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is scheduled to outline key findings from the report on Tuesday in a speech to the National Press Club.

  • Another report released this month from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found popular movies continue to marginalize Latinos. Only 7% of Hispanic actors filled leading roles in 2019.

By the numbers: Hispanics made up around 11 to 12% of the media industry workforce from 2014 to 2019, according to the GAO audit.

  • That percentage has remained unchanged even while Hispanics are now nearly 19% of the total U.S. population, and Latino journalists, writers and artists are demanding more opportunities.
  • In 2019, about 8% of staff in newspapers and publishing were Hispanic.
  • Meanwhile, Latinos represented 18% of workers in all other industries combined over the same time, the GAO said.

What they're saying: "For far too long, Latinos have been systematically excluded from the media industry and too often portrayed as negative stereotypes, which is dangerous for the American people when combined with scapegoating politicians and widespread disinformation," Castro tells Axios.

  • Castro said that narrative misrepresents the U.S.

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

  • Some Latino journalists also have spoken out when major media outlets initially failed to send Hispanic reporters to cover major events like the 2019 El Paso shooting of Mexican Americans.

Don't forget: The Los Angeles Times apologized last year for its decades-long history of failing to hire enough journalists of color and for its negative portrayals of Latinos, Black Americans and Asian Americans.

What's next: The GAO is currently conducting a broader review of Hispanic employment in the media and expects to issue a report on those results in Spring 2022.

Go deeper: Netflix faced criticism early this year after a report showed it fell short on Latino representation, the LA Times reports (subscription).

Get more news that matters about Latinos in the hemisphere, delivered right to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sign up for the Axios Latino newsletter.

Go deeper

Too big to cover alone: Newsrooms team up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

News outlets are increasingly willing to work together on big, multifaceted stories — including this week's reporting on leaked documents from a Facebook whistleblower.

Why it matters: Collaborative efforts help bring more resources to bear on complex stories, some of which require a global reporting effort. But they require high degrees of coordination, and competition can sometimes get in the way.

Biden says presidency "will be determined" by outcome of spending plans

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after addressing the House Democratic caucus on Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told the House Democratic caucus Thursday "my presidency will be determined" by the votes he wants in the next week on his $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion and $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

Driving the news: Biden made the comment, according to a source in the room, as he tried to rally support for the $1.75 trillion package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acted immediately, calling for a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill later in the day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
38 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China declines to speed emissions cuts in new UN pledge

A view of the skyscrapers in the haze in Shanghai, China, in December 2020. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chinese leaders are sticking with a prior target to bring the country's carbon emissions to a peak before 2030, according to documents filed with the United Nations Thursday under the Paris climate agreement.

Why it matters: The new documents come just days ahead of the UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow. China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, and its emissions path is key to whether the temperature-limiting goals of the Paris agreement can remain within reach.

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