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New York News Media: Color Blind?

October 17, 2011

NEW YORK - Collaboration may be the key when it comes to getting more balanced news coverage of immigrants' issues in New York - that's the premise of last weekend's Latino Media Conference. Mario Murillo is chair of the Department of Radio, Television and Film at Hofstra University, where the conference was held.

While New York's Latino population is growing, most local news organizations have only a few Latino reporters, he says.
The result can be print, radio and TV coverage that often misses the point for local immigrants, he says, "not only because of language, but also cultural issues. Seeing their own faces on the front pages - that need is very much there."

Over the weekend, students, professors and journalists met with members of the Latino community on Long Island in an effort to form integrated relationships that Murillo says could lead to more balanced coverage of Latino issues in the future.

The growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement from one city to the next can be viewed as an effort to provide common ground for people, Murillo says, even though they have a variety of views. He says similar common ground can be found to cover immigrant issues from one town to the next in New York.

"We want to make students aware that the kind of media production where you're actually reaching out, even if your audience is a small number, is just as valid as an Anderson Cooper getting on national TV on CNN and talking. The impact, very often, could be just as powerful, as well."

Murillo hopes the Latino Media Conference will influence media coverage at all levels, from Twitter and other social media to institutions like Newsday, the largest newspaper on Long Island.

The Hofstra conference is part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY