At Monday night’s panel four experts from various media-related fields gave their take on the state of Latinx Media.
Recently tenured professor of media and culture at CUNY, Jillian Baez, opened our discussion by reading an excerpt from her book In Search of Belonging Latinas, Media and Citizenship where she discusses the iconic movie West Side Story as being instructional. Her family used it as a way to talk about the discrimination they faced as Puerto Ricans in the U.S. among many other things. She goes on to discuss how relevant representation is and how that even in the representation we do have, there are problems. In order to come to terms with all the issues, more research, analysis, and media literacy campaigns needs to be done.
Raquel Reichard then gave her take on the current state of Latinx media as an advocacy journalist and Latina feminist. She stated that she doesn’t believe in objectivity and went on to say it’s not needed to create good journalism. “You can be up front with your readers about your position and still write a fair and well-researched piece of journalism.” Listen to her introduce her work here:
Her perspective as someone currently working in the field, trying to stay afloat while not compromising her integrity, was very interesting considering Latinx media platforms are dropping like flies.
Elizabeth Mendez Berry then shared her experience as a music writer in the 2000s when music criticism was valued in the industry as well as beyond white readership. She has now pivoted to working in philanthropy, most recently for the Nathan Cummings Foundation and is an ardent cultural critic advocate. “Critical thinking is important for artistic practice and it’s also really important for democracy,” she said.
And last but not least, net neutrality and free press advocate Joe Torres talked about his work strategizing to change the infrastructure and laws around media policy. Organizing to maintain net neutrality and mediate corporate interests in the media is essential even though he says the future looks bleak. “Transformation doesn’t always mean we get to see it” he said but that doesn’t mean our work is not valuable.
— LatinxProject (@LatinxProjNYU) October 29, 2018
There were also some homework advice given to the audience about how to support Latinx media:
- Share articles you think are good.
- Write messages to editors and tell them when you like or hate writers.
- We need more media literacy for ethnic media not just mainstream.
- Donate to organizations doing work to keep media fair.
There were so many other great things said, and we’re hoping to build on this conversation and look to solutions to build a better, more sustainable Latinx press. Here are more photos from the event.