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 Mass Communicating:

          The Forum on Media Diversity

Issue 2
October 2008


Forum’s web site: www.masscommunicating.lsu.edu

Diversity talk: Latino Media Voice for Justice

Diversity-related papers presented at the AEJMC conventions: A trend analysis


Gutierrez talks on Latino Media in the U.S.
Latino Media Voice for Justice

Felix Gutierrez, professor at the University of Southern California, observed that technology and targeted marketing are the driving factors of the national growth of Latino media, which started its journey with the publication of El Misisipi from New Orleans, Louisiana in 1808.

With the boom of online media, Latino media have turned into the “media of choices” and are no longer known as the “media of chances,” Gutierrez said. Thousands of ethnic publications, broadcast and Internet news outlets have been established in the U.S.

Gutierrez made these research-based comments while addressing the first
public lecture of the year-long commemoration of the bicentennial of Latino journalism in the U.S. at the Manship School of Mass Communication on October 14, 2008.  Prof. Gutierrez kicked off the year-long commemoration of Latino journalism in Louisiana where the first Latino newspaper in the U.S. was published.

Historically, Latino media in the U.S. emerged as the “voices for justice” against social and political injustices that the Latino populations had been encountering since the colonial regime of Spanish rule, Gutierrez said. About the role of new media, he said, Internet technology has increased the level of participation by Latino populations in movements against injustice and forced repatriation. Before the online media, Spanish-speaking populations did not have many options to access the Latino media or the diversity of sources. There are about 700 Latino newspapers in the U.S.

In contrast to mainstream media, the Latino media give alternative voice or a counter voice. They play key roles in organizing protests. Referring to the role Piolin of Univision, Gutierrez said popular artists have a greater influence among Latino populations in mobilizing any protest rally against vital issues like immigration policy. As general-audience media did not sufficiently cover the issues of minorities during the turbulent years of the 1960s, many campus newspapers turned into community newspapers, Gutierrez said. 

Even today, during the present presidential coverage, general-audience media are highlighting the political battle whereas Latino media find that the immigration issue has disappeared, Gutierrez commented in reply to a question.

He said it was the earlier newspapers that set the trend for Latino media. El Misisipi was known as an “anti-Napoleon” and “anti-Royalist” paper. He said many of the early Spanish-language newspapers in California in the nineteenth century emerged as advocates of their communities by exposing institutional discriminations, defending workers’ rights and promoting the spirit of Latino culture. At the same time, those newspapers played the role of reformers for the community, Gutierrez said. Those publications also encouraged the Latino community to better educate their generation so that they could take advantage of professional opportunities.

Gutierrez teaches Journalism and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.  His work to advance more accurate understanding of the nation’s racial and social diversity has been recognized through numerous national awards, and he is an inaugural member of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism Hall of Fame.  He is the author/co-author of five books and more than 50 scholarly articles or book chapters, most on racial and technological diversity in media.

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Diversity-related papers presented at the AEJMC conventions:
A trend analysis

In the years between 2006 and 2008, 13% - 15% of the scholarly papers presented at the national conventions of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication addressed diversity issues. The trend has remained the same in the past ten years [TABLE: 1998-2000 Data]. Race, ethnicity and gender are the three dominant elements of diversity papers presented at AEJMC conventions [TABLE].

The Forum on Media Diversity has found these data by conducting a content-analysis of abstracts of the papers presented at the AEJMC conventions from 1998-2000 and 2006-2008 using the categories of diversity the Forum has developed from the 2008 Media Diversity Syllabi Survey. The categories include “Race/Ethnicity/Minority,” “Gender,” “Culture” (Multiculturalism, Cross-culture, Intercultural Communication), “Class,” and “Diversity in General” (age, content diversity, agenda diversity, localism, sexual orientation groups or GLBT, international communication and religion).  While coding the abstracts, we found abstracts that have both race and gender elements; in that case, we counted them either as a gender paper or as a race/ethnicity paper.

TABLE: Trend of diversity-related papers presented at AEJMC conventions
from 2006-08 and 1998-2000


Total papers


% of
Diversity papers





in general























































*CC/MC: Cross-cultural, Multicultural

With an increase in the number of divisions and interest groups, the number of accepted papers also increased in AEJMC conventions. On the other hand, several divisions -- Mass Communication and Society, Advertising, Critical and Cultural Studies, International Communication and Public Relations -- have increased the number of accepted papers in the past three years. In 1998, 23 divisions and interest groups (16 divisions, 6 interest groups and one commission) were available for paper submission at the AEJMC convention. In the following two years, we saw the inclusion of two groups—Media Ethics (later turned into a division) and Media and Religion. For the sake of the consistency of data, we did not count the number of accepted papers of those two new divisions. From 2006-2008, we found 28 divisions and groups (17 divisions, 10 interest groups and 1 commission) at the AEJMC conventions. Newer groups include Entertainment Studies; Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgender (GLBT), Media Ethnics, Media and Religion, and Community Journalism. Different divisions and groups of AEJMC accepted 749 papers on an average in the years between 2006 and 2008. The average number of accepted papers from 1998-2000 was about 475. Though the number of diversity-related papers has increased with the increase in total number of accepted papers at the conventions, the trend remains static in terms of percentage (14% in 1998 and 15% in 2008) [TABLE].

The Minorities and Communication division, GLBT interest group and Commission on the Status of Women are the three specific groups in the association that address the specific issues of diversity. Minorities and Communication division sponsor papers on media in relation to race, ethnicity and gender, the Commission on the Status of Women mainly covers the issues of feminism and women, which falls into the broad category of “gender,” and GLBT interest groups sponsor papers on media in relation to sexual orientation.

Other divisions and interest groups also accept diversity-related papers. Of them, Mass Communication and Society, Critical and Cultural Studies, History, Advertising and Magazine divisions accepted a larger number of diversity-related papers (at least 20 papers during the timeframe of this study). We found more papers on cross-culture perspectives in International Communication and Advertising divisions. In recent years, authors have used multiculturalism in studies that involve multiple races and ethnicities.

Because of the increase in diversity-related papers on age, content, agenda and sexual identity, we found more papers in the category of “diversity in general” from 2006-2008 [TABLE].      

This trend analysis of diversity-related papers at the AEJMC conventions resonates with the findings of the Forum’s 2008 syllabi survey. The survey found that the diversity-related courses offered in journalism schools in the U.S. have more focus on race, ethnicity, gender and culture. And, diversity is taught not only through special/separate courses, but also through regular courses offered in different sequences of mass communication. Both diversity-focused and other divisions of AEJMC (e.g., Media and Society, Critical Studies, Advertising, History) are more frequently sponsoring papers covering the issues of diversity.   

Diversity Related Papers at the AEJMC conventions:

2008 (Source: http://www.aejmc.org/_events/convention/abstracts/2008/index.php)
2007 (Source: http://www.aejmc.org/_events/convention/abstracts/2007/index.php)
2006 (Source: http://www.aejmc.org/_events/convention/abstracts/2006/index.php)
2000 (Source: http://www.aejmc.org/_events/convention/abstracts/2000/index.php)
1999 (Source: http://www.aejmc.org/_events/convention/abstracts/1999/index.php)
1998 (Source: http://www.aejmc.org/_events/convention/abstracts/1998/index.php)

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