December 7, 2009

Hispanics in the News

Broad Topics

In addition to counting major story narratives and events that had an Hispanic reference, one can also analyze Hispanic coverage by broad topic area. What percentage of Hispanic coverage had to do with race relations, health care, politics, immigration?

The largest topic category involved courts and the legal system (33%), again reflecting the significance of the Sotomayor storyline. Foreign events came next (17%). This was largely made up of coverage of swine flu outbreaks in other countries, the Mexican drug war, and the ousting of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. International events that involved the United States directly were No. 3 (9.1% of Hispanic coverage), made up largely of the war on drugs, U.S. relations with Cuba, and U.S. response to the coup in Honduras.

Crime was the No. 4 general topic category involving Hispanics (6.5%). Roughly half of this was made up of stories about the Mexican drug war, and about half was American crime incidents in which Hispanics were specifically referenced as either victims or perpetrators of crime.

Next were stories about immigration (6.3%), followed by health and medicine (6.1%), which were largely stories tied to the H1N1 outbreak.