Pew Study: Coverage Of Hispanics "Event Driven"

Focus on events such as Sotomayor nomination, H1N1 outbreak rather than Hispanic life

Most of the news coverage of Hispanics are "event-driven" news stories in which Hispanics are one of a number of elements, rather than necessarily the focus, with only a fraction focusing directly on their "life experiences."

That is according to a just-released study from the Pew Hispanic Center and the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which concluded that newspapers had the most prominent references, while cable TV was least likely to reference Hispanics in news stories, with 1.9% of the news hole.

According to the study, conducted from February through August 2009, only 57 of almost 35,000 stories dealt with those life experiences. The event coverage was dominated by the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice with 39.4% of the Hispanic-related coverage, followed by the Mexican drug war (15.1%), the H1N1 outbreak beginning in Mexico City, and immigration with 8.4%.

Of the fraction that did deal with Hispanic life in the U.S., the effect of the recession was the biggest story, followed by the "immigration experience," population growth and demographics, and discrimination/fair treatment.

The study was of 55 U.S. news outlets: 13 newspapers, 15 cable programs, seven broadcast network evening and morning news broadcasts, 12 "prominent" news websites and nine news/talk radio shows.