Should Hispanic Papers Advocate for Immigrants Rights?

“I think it is appropriate for a paper to advocate for a particular position based on those facts,” says Diario la Prensa’s Editor-in-Chief Alberto Vourvoulias. “One of the higher callings of journalism is to try to present issues that are important to the public in a way that faithfully represents one’s understanding of those issues.” Vourvoulias notes that one interesting dynamic of the immigration debate is how differently it is approached by mainstream media and Hispanic media. The problem, says Vourvoulias, is that a lot of mainstream media silos the immigration debate into its national security implications, or frames the issue as a border state problem. “This line of inquiry will produce a set of responses that veer away from the human significance of the debate. Our paper treats the issue with more of an eye on how it affects our readers and their families. This approach certainly yields more impacting, personal accounts of how our immigration policy plays out in real life, and some people would call this advocacy.”

Jerry Campagna, president of Hispanic marketing firm MST Latino and former publisher of Reflejos, agrees that papers can and should advocate for their readers on the immigration debate: “By advocacy, I’m not saying that those in the Latino media industry should slate the truth—just bring it back to center!” Campagna says that while the principles of impartial journalism are as much a legacy in Latino media as in general market, many Latino media leaders believe they also have a responsibility to provide a more balanced perspective. “This is especially true in light of  the paradoxical situation in which US federal agencies such as the IRS will give tax ID numbers to undocumented immigrants, while another federal agency (ICE) continues to conduct raids in the factories where these ‘documented’ undocumented immigrants attempt to make a living. My point is that the media advocacy role is sometimes viewed by Latino media executives as necessary in order to provide Latino perspectives which are often not covered in general market media.”


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