When a story is told, the perspective of the writer is not always taken into consideration by those reading or listening to the story. Although a source may be credible, the person behind the words does not always have the direct or personal vision on the topic discussed. Immigration is a popular theme in the media and yet, the people it affects the most, Latinos, are not the ones discussing it or writing the articles about it. White, non-Hispanic journalists wrote a whopping 98.2 percent front page articles this year in major U.S. newspapers, according to data compiled by Fourth Estate, a group that tracks information about media. This needs to change.
We are all aware of the importance of having a voice. Journalism is a way for individuals to go out and write about topics that occur around the country and the world. But readers are limited because the articles are written by people that fall under certain categories that do not necessarily have a connection with the theme discussed. When reading about the issue of Latino immigration, immigrants want their stories to be told by people who understand the challenges they go through as immigrants: other Latino immigrants or a Latino journalist. It is uncommon to have someone on the inside writing about the issue of immigration.
Those who are currently writing immigrants’ news stories are not necessarily failing at their job. However, it would be better to have more diversity in the world of journalism. The accuracy of the information presented may improve if the writer has some personal experience or cultural connections with the topic. Additionally, controversy over the use of certain discourse may be avoided. Critics have pointed to lack of diversity in newsrooms as part of the reason behind the mass media’s continued use of the term “illegal immigrant”– an expression that nearly half of the Hispanic population finds offensive, according to a Fox News Latino poll released this year.
The Latino voice needs to be heard. It is important to have “experts” in a topic such as immigration so that misconceptions are not made when they communicate messages that touch the delicate theme of immigration. The truth has to be told, many immigrants cannot express their sufferings themselves so by having journalists who are willing to say the story from the immigrants’ perspective is already an advance towards having a voice for those who cannot have one.