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EDITIONS
Monday, 16 December, 2002, 11:17 GMT
US TV news 'fails Hispanics'
A group of dancers perform in front the Los Angeles Cathedral during celebrations marking Guadalupe Day 12 December
There are now 35 million Hispanics in the US
The United States news media is failing to represent the country's growing Hispanic population, a survey has suggested.

An average of one in every 160 stories on ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN in 2001 were about Hispanics - despite the fact that one in eight people in the US are Hispanic.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists said the situation had improved slightly over the past two years, but that the stories that were broadcast were mostly stereotypical and unflattering.

Stories about Latinos frequently used the image of the border to suggest a divide between the Latino and non-Latino populations

National Association of Hispanic Journalists
The association's Network Brownout report said the networks had a "dismal record" of covering the nation's fastest-growing minority group.

That failure distorts the public perception and means all US residents are not given access to equal amounts and types of information, the association said.

"Stories about Latinos frequently used the image of the border to suggest a divide between the Latino and non-Latino populations and to define Latinos as illegal immigrants," the association said.

The number of Hispanics in the US has grown from 20 million in 1990 to more than 35 million today.

The proportion of stories about Hispanics rose from 0.53% in 2000 to 0.62% in 2001, according to the study.

ABC had the most stories about Hispanics, with 31, followed by NBC with 24, while CBS and CNN had 22 each.

'Greater diversity'

"I think the report is important in that it points out the work that all media organisations need to do to create greater diversity within our ranks, in our newsrooms, among our producers and in our correspondents and anchors," ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said.

He said Hispanic reporters Barbara Pinto and Taina Hernandez were recently hired to be correspondents.

The biggest story about Hispanics was coverage of protests over US military exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

One improvement noted was that Hispanics were interviewed in 68% of stories about Hispanics, compared with 24% in 2000.

See also:

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