Are people getting the news from their preferred source, or in their preferred language? It depends on how you read this question, but in one way it is the sort of ‘chicken-or-egg’ question to what there likely is not a correct answer.
At a daylong event named ‘Investiguemos: Opportunities and challenges in bilingual and Spanish journalism’, organized by the Center for Investigative Reporting & Open Society Foundations, this question came up pretty often. The conversation that day was pretty far-reaching, but there were actually three key conclusions that emerged from this day.
1. Quality journalism education in the Spanish language is necessary if we want to be able to deal with the immense shortage of high-qualified native Spanish-speaking or bilingual reporters that are serving the countless Spanish-speaking/bilingual communities across the U.S., This is also crucial to set up a varied pool of (potential) reporters in environments where they may be contributing to journalistic or editorial innovations.
The identity views of Hispanic and Latino communities in America are changing, but that as such is nothing new. It’s been going on decades. Some fifty years ago, the term ‘Hispanic’ was merely used in government statistics for identifying groups of people of Cuban, Puerto Rico, Mexican, or some other Latin American ancestry.
But whereas some Hispanics are considering their background to be of one race, they increasingly would prefer to be identified with a specific nationality, for example, Cuban, Dominican, or Mexican.
Today we see that both the terms Hispanic and Latino are commonly and widely used. The Washington D.C.-based Pew Research Center has conducted studies that indicate that most Hispanics would prefer if they were identified in terms of their original nationality instead of than pan-ethnic monikers (Latino, Hispanic, or even American).
Numbers cannot talk, but they may tell you often just as much as human sources. But just like human sources, you need to ask! But what should you be asking a number? Well, that’s where statistics come in. Mathematicians have been developing an entire science, statistics, to come up with answers from numbers. Of curse you’re not required to hold an academic degree in statistics to conduct an ‘interview’ with data, but before you can be successful in doing so, there are a few basics you need to know.
Let’s check out an online tutorial for math-phobic journalists titled ‘Statistics Every Writer Should Know’ that was published for the first time in 1996 by a professional reporter who had also majored in a Northwestern University program called ‘Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences‘ (imagine to fit this on a job application), and who was thinking that using his math background might help a few of his fellow journalists become a little less afraid of statistics and numbers.
The online publication was attracting lots of attention, and through the years and the journalist has received numerous emails in which students thanked him for saving their asses on their final statistics exams. They were no precisely the audience that he aimed for, but he said he okay with helping anyone. Here are a few excerpts from his tips: