The quality and quantity of media products available to consumers changed radically with the development of technology for the delivery of news and entertainment content. But one thing does not seem to have changed: local media impacts the degree of engagement in local politics. Is this also the case with the U.S. Hispanic population?
Felix Oberholzer-Gee (Harvard University) and Joel Waldfogel (University of Pennsylvania&NBER) looked at this issue in a study called Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Espanol boost Hispanic Voter turnout.
The authors argue that with local media, citizens are more informed and so, more confident of voting for the “right” candidate. They found out that local Spanish news are beneficial not only for the voters but also for the candidates: Local media outlets help candidates reach Hispanic voters and Spanish speakers more easily.
The impact of local Spanish media is particularly strong during local non-presidential election years. The difference in Hispanic voter turnout in places with and without local Hispanic news is larger in absolute terms for non-presidential years.
The study’s results show that Spanish-language local television news boosts Hispanic voter turnout in non-presidential elections from about 30 points to about 41 percentage points or by over a third. In presidential election years, the presence of Spanish-language local television news appears to raise Hispanic turnout from about 46 to 54 percent, or by about a sixth.
Local Spanish-language (or English-bilingual Hispanic targeted news outlets) also have another positive impact. They facilitate, and help articulate, other institutions, such as political organizations that also boost voter turnout.
This example of the impact of Hispanic local media on the Hispanic voter turnout, shows that impact of local television, and other local media on voter turnout can be large and positive.
Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Espanol boost Hispanic Voter turnout? By Felix Oberholzer-Gee (Harvard University) and Joel Waldfogel (University of Pennsylvania&NBER).