Don’t Believe Everything You Read? African Americans, Hispanics Don’t Trust The Media

September 22, 2014  |  

According to a new study, most African American and Hispanic news consumers don’t completely trust the media to portray their communities accurately. In fact, a whopping three-fourths of African American news consumers and two-thirds of Hispanics don’t fully believe what they read in the mainstream media about their communities, found a survey by the Media Insight Project.

According to the report, when asked about the accuracy of media coverage in their community, 75 percent of blacks said only “moderately” or “slightly/not at all.” When Hispanics were asked the same question, 66 percent replied “moderately” or “slightly/not at all.”

African Americans and Latinos currently comprise a third of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and this figure is expected to increase drastically over the next few years. By 2043, minorities will be the majority and will reach 57 percent by 2060. All the more reason, it is important that the media gain the trust of minorities and reexamine how they report on minority communities.

People of color who are “seeking out news about their communities, they can’t find it. And what they see, they don’t think is accurate,” said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, which teamed with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research on the project. The survey was funded by the American Press Institute and the McCormick Foundation.

According to Tia C. M. Tyree, a Howard University professor and the assistant chair of the university’s department of Strategic, Legal and Management Communications, the lack of African Americans and Hispanics in the media affects the viewpoint of the product. “It matters who the owners are, it matters who the producers are, it matters who the editors are, because that’s often the agenda or the slant of the media and the news coverage,” she told the Denver Post.

Spanish-language media on television continues to grow, so Hispanics are feeling more secure in media coverage. Meanwhile, there are no longer any African-American daily newspapers, and very few cable channels targeting African Americans with news programs. Thus, the lack of trust in “other” media outlets is growing in the African-American community.

And the way African Americans and Hispanics gather news differs. “More blacks get their news from television and on cellphones than non-Hispanic whites or Hispanics: 95 percent of blacks said they got their news from television versus 87 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 86 percent of Hispanics; and 75 percent of blacks said they got news on their cellphone versus 64 percent of Hispanics and 53 percent of non-Hispanic whites,” reports the newspaper.

How much do you believe news coverage?

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