While a once theorized “digital divide” that would limit access to news sources for African-Americans and Latinos has not materialized, only a relatively small percentage of Blacks and Latinos believe the way their respective communities are portrayed in the media mediacoverage3is accurate.

These findings were reported in a study entitled “The Personal News Cycle: A Focus on African American and Hispanic News Consumers,” conducted by the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, a social science research organization.

According to the study, released Sept. 16, 58 and 57 percent of African Americans and Latinos respectively said they generally find it easier to keep up with news today. However, only 25 percent of African Americans and 33 percent of Latinos think the media cover their respective communities accurately.

The study also found that only 18 percent of African Americans believe Black news sources represent their community accurately, in contrast to the 49 percent of Latinos who believed the same of Latino news sources.

In questions of accuracy and portrayal, the survey grouped all sources of news including radio, TV, and print publications under the general umbrella of “media.” However, when respondents were asked specifically how they get their news, the answers differed significantly between ethnicities.

mediacoverage2“In general, for instance, African Americans tend to rely on local news stations, whether on television or the web, for information about their communities,” the report stated. “They are more likely than Hispanic Americans to own tablets, use news alerts, and to find news about their own community through social media. Hispanic Americans, on the other hand, rely more on ethnically focused media outlets for news. They are also much less likely to read news in print.”

The report’s release comes at a time when trust in the accuracy of media reports among Americans is at an all-time low. According to a Sept. 17 Gallup report, only 40 percent of Americans trust the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” matching an all-time low.


ralejandro@afro.com