By Marc Speir
University News Service
February 22, 2008
Texas State University-San Marcos professor Federico Subervi recently released a new book titled “The Mass Media and Latino Politics: Studies of U.S. Media Content, Campaign Strategies and Survey Research: 1984-2004.”
Subervi’s work is a compilation derived from 22 collaborators and more than 20 years of intensive research in the media treatment of Latinos.
“I hope to have more work like this in my lifetime but it is an academic lifetime of work,” said Subervi, professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and director of the School’s Center for the Study of Latino Media and Markets.
The book chronicles Latinos’ rise as a deciding factor in American politics. The research examines the use of political advertising and persuasion tactics by politicians and the media to solicit votes from Latinos.
Other topics include the differences between English and Spanish media coverage of presidential campaigns, voter participation, political affiliations and the lack of coverage given from a Latino perspective.
Among its findings, the book concludes that in-depth analyses and thoughtful discussion have been lacking in both Spanish-language newspapers and television news programs.
Subervi finds that the English-language media are much worse, merely highlighting the Latino vote as critical in elections and reporting which candidate is favored in a contest instead of discussing issues of importance to the Latino community. These issues typically mirror what is important to the rest of society, including such topics as education, affordable housing, immigration, discrimination, affirmative action and economic opportunity.
Subervi says the Latino vote will be critical in the upcoming presidential election and that politicians need to genuinely listen if they want to win.
“The Latino vote is typically ignored (by politicians) during regular years,” Subervi said. “Then, as soon as an election year comes around – they start courting this constituency.”
Subervi is scheduled to lecture at several universities in the following months and appear on CNN.
He will also speak at a town hall meeting and conference Feb. 29 hosted by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The conference will discuss the importance of the Latino vote at the Alkek Library teaching theatre at 7:30 p.m. Events are free and open to the public.