Stay until the end for Cafecito. 👇
Uh, timing? 🤔
Q: How’d you miss Hispanic Heritage Month?
A: Now felt like the right moment. We should be discussing Latino/a-Latine-Latinx people and public media all year.
The backstory ⏪
I expect you have seen Census data on Latino/a-Latine-Latinx ascendance. Next newsletter, I'll explore population trends that public media should watch. For now, let's say how important these changes are. Demographics affect everything: politics, education, culture and, of course, media.
Truth be told, it's not new Hispanic media representation that's fascinating today. It's the pushback created by the lack of it. Lawmakers are speaking out about hiring deficiencies. Latino/a-Latine-Latinx newsmakers criticized the New York Times for ending Spanish opinion pieces. Cardi B. wants to be in politics. Tally Dilbert has risen to popularity in talking about Afro-Latina representation.
Public media’s headlines are also important. Unionization, callouts and panels are the result of a culture that needed change. Yet it puzzles me how the nation’s fastest growing demographic is chronically underrepresented in every station’s audience. Big, small, everyone. Why?
I believe we need to gather people who see the need. Now, about OIGO.
In 2017, I asked friend and Mentor to the Stars Doug Mitchell about creating what would become this newsletter. He shot back three questions that stayed with me, mas o menos, until now:
Who's the audience?
What am I asking of them?
Does my newsletter solve a problem?
In four years, public media has changed a lot. Here is my eternal optimist's theory. There are people interested in Latino/a-Latine-Latinx conversations related to public media. I believe we’re reaching critical mass. Our problem is there isn’t anywhere to go for it.
Look around. 🔎 No publication covers Hispanics and our place in public radio and television. (And no, articles for Hispanic Heritage Month or some random day once a year don’t count.) I can’t blame them for the lack of attention. Es muy complicada. But rank indifference becomes this.
Hopefully not a pledge drive in 2050! 💀 (Image credit: Rosa Maria Renova / @rosamrenova)
Let's create a solution. As a Latino public media professional, I have an interest in asking you to join me at this table. You, like me, have seen the demographic changes. We may agree the way public media does business with its journalism is okay. Yet, I’m guessing you too feel we need to focus on being relevant to an emergent majority. The future of public media depends on it.
So, here, we’ll look at problems and solutions. Each OIGO will explore issues related to public media and Hispanic listeners and viewers. We will start every other week (fact check: Bimonthly? Biweekly?) and take it from there. ¡Y mas! From time to time, we will get into podcasting, journalism, community media and nonprofit news too.
My ask of you? Let's create a community. Let's collect data, stories and trends related to Latino/a-Latine-Latinx audiences. Let’s celebrate wins. Let’s also talk about mistakes to learn from them. What are you curious about? What have you dared not ask, or say? What’s not getting attention? Are you doing work you want to share? Would you like to write something? How should I fund this? Digame. Leave a comment or hit reply. Together, we can prompt public media act on something we care about.
Ah, the name 🌵
Oigo is Spanish for “I hear.” As in, "I hear a cultural train pulling away from the station." Most people think of escucho when they hear the same phrase. But, escucho means “I listen.” “Listening” is public media’s flavor-of-the-month. I want us to hear what’s happening, and act.
Beyond that, oigo is a word that is easy to remember, fun to look at, and not difficult for English speakers.
… are being used here because different people use different terms. I could have added Chicano/a/x and other words, but you get it. Judgment-free zone here. Do you.
Cafecito: up for discussion ☕
Each newsletter wraps with Cafecito: up for discussion. It reviews stories to talk about and ponder.
The National Association of Latino Independent Producers hosted the Latino Media Fest this week. Watch the space for posted keynotes and panels. ICYMI NALIP and Netflix announced the first cohort for their women of color-led film incubator.
While waiting for replays, treat yourself to recordings from the Latino Media Summit. It was in June and hosted by the Center for Community Media at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. Graciela Mochkofsky leads CCM. It has made impressive contributions to the nonprofit media system, including several reports.
El Tímpano is one of those great Latino/a-Latine-Latinx nonprofit news success stories. Madeleine Bair talked this week with LION Publishers about its growth. El Tímpano is on pace to draw $100K this year after doing $12K in 2020.
CBS4 in Denver covered El Puente. The Eagle County radio station hopes to provide Latino/a-Latine-Latinx community service. It is privately owned and sounds like most other Spanish radio so far. Its goal of addressing Hispanic information needs may make it worth watching.
Four publishers’ engagement work was covered in a Local Media Association post. Ideas include pitching sponsorship to small-budget Hispanic business and journalism on Facebook Messenger. There are copious efforts to tell better stories too.
Public media Latino/a-Latine-Latinx day-ones Radio Bilingue are among the broadcasters recovering from wildfire damage in Fresno.
Speaking of disasters, a story more stations should look at. Last month, Raquel Maria Dillon reported on first responders coming from Mexico to help states with wildfires.
Public Media for All’s Day of Action and Education is Nov. 10. The annual event unites public media workers passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion. “Vision 2022” is the theme of the upcoming webinar. Organizations are still signing up for PMFA’s 11-point action plan. Many prominent pubTV/radio stations have pledged to take part.
There were numerous thinkpieces about Hispanic Heritage Month 2021. And yes, the plentiful brand and product marketing received criticism. KQED’s Alexis Madrigal hosted a smart conversation on the rise of memes this year. NYT had a meme assessment as well. The laughs mask conflicted feelings many of us have about the holiday.
Felicidades a Felix Contreras and the Alt.Latino team. This Hispanic Heritage Month, they hosted El Tiny, a takeover of NPR’s renowned Tiny Desk Concert. I’m curious about the audience numbers, but suspect featuring J. Balvin (!!!) blew 💩 up.
I welcome your ideas, feedback and opinions. In fact, I need them. Plus, I see you! I have a dope list of subscribers — brilliant, influential compas I admire and whose presence is meaningful to me. Share the word with your own amazing networks. Thank you for reading and participating.