On Thursday evening, Graciela Mochkofsky, director of the Spanish-language Journalism Program and tow professor, gave the annual Robert G. Mead lecture at Homer Babbidge Library. She expressed her concern regarding the problematic representation of the Latinx population in the media along with the significance of news outlets and their impact on the Latinx community as a whole.
In her lecture, Professor Mochkofsky said recent years have been “one of the worst moments to be Latinx in this country.” She went on to describe how the impact of the Trump Era has caused an increase in the number of attacks against Latinx. In the past, the president has advocated for the border wall to be surrounded by snakes or electrified and has even suggested shooting migrants’ legs at the border, all of which have been turned down due to being very illegal. She also mentioned the El Paso shooting that happened three months ago where the majority of the victims were Latinx. The massacre has been deemed a hate crime and only proves that Latinx have become a direct target for white supremacists.
The lecture then explored how the news media industry plays a role in the increased negative stigma against Latinx. Overall, these communities have been misunderstood and ignored for a while now, especially in the media. Although Spanish versions of certain publications have been produced for years, editors and reporters receive less resources, get mistreated and are usually the first to get laid off. Because these operations cannot grow without adequate resources, they eventually get shut down. Not only are companies promoting a lack of diversity through this, but Latinx communities are also losing their trust in general authorities. Reporters from Spanish outlets are now being asked for advice from people across the border, such as “Should I cross or not? What should I do?”
Latinx news operations are still trusted by their audience as people have come to realize that Spanish publications have a larger impact than English publications. The issue of trust is crucial to the view of media and Latinx prefer to feel a connection toward journalists who they can relate to. Mochkofsky made sure to point out one of the main clichés about Latinx media: These sectors are not for journalism, they’re for advocating. She quickly debunked that statement by explaining how Latinx are trying to be understood and that their efforts in the media stand as an example for how to deal with communities, such as theirs, being attacked.
On a brighter note, Mochkofsky ended by describing the potential future held by the next generation of Latinx, who are predominantly bilingual and internet savvy. With the changes brought by social media campaigns calling out companies for lack of diversity, today’s younger generation will surely be ready to engage with a news media outlet that speaks to them through opportunities in the more inclusive future.
Esther Ju is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. They can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.