Latino representation in the media industry remains low, study finds

Latino representation in the media industry remains low and has grown little in recent years, according to a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office. Representative Joaquin Castro, who requested the report along with other members of the Hispanic Caucus, said the findings call for intervention at the federal level.

The report estimates that from 2010 to 2019, the percentage of media workers who are Latino increased from 11% to 12% — compared to an estimated 15% to 18% increase for Latino workers in other fields.

Latinos make up 18.9 percent of the U.S. population, according to a 2020 census report, and the report estimates they make up about 17 percent of the civilian workforce.

The term “media workers” includes those who work in television, film, news and other publications, including actors, camera operators and journalists.

“It’s sad that we’re still talking about this issue of underrepresentation in the Hispanic media,” Sonia Perez, CEO of Latino advocacy nonprofit UnidosUS, said at a press conference Wednesday.

The film, television and news industries have been criticized for years for a lack of diversity in their workforce, including disparities in gender equality and access to management opportunities.

Between 2015 and 2019, Latina women made up 3 percent of the media workforce, compared to 7 percent for Latino men, according to the report.

Looking at a similar data set, the report found that while Latino workers make up about 19% of service workers in the industry, they make up only about 4% of senior and executive management staff.

“The media industry is failing the Latino community at a time when in many ways Hispanics are the future of the nation,” Pérez said.

Castro, a Texas Democrat, told CBS News that the majority of the solution must come from the government and from companies that have resisted diversifying their workforces.

“There needs to be stronger enforcement of discrimination by the federal government and corporations,” Castro said.

The report recommends that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) share data on discrimination charges against media companies and ensure that local unions share the demographics of their members.

“My office is sending a letter to the FCC and the EEOC asking them to move quickly to implement the recommendations,” Castro said.

Such calls for diversity are only expected to increase as the US Latino population grows. According to a projection by the US Census Bureau, by 2060 Latinos will make up 28% of the population.

“It is a community that not only does not deserve to be invisible, but really for the sake of the country cannot afford to be invisible,” Rep. Castro added.

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