Latinos Consume More News in English

PHOTO: Growing share of Latino adults consume news in English.TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GettyImages
Growing share of Latinos adults are consuming news in English from television, print, radio and internet outlets.

A growing number of Latinos in the U.S. are getting their news content in English, according to a study released today. In 2012, a record 32 percent of Latino adults said they’re getting their news exclusively in English from television, print, radio and internet outlets. The Pew Research Center study of how Latinos consume news content also found that 82% of Latino adults said they get at least some of their news in English.

The numbers illustrate the massive media consuming power Latinos have in this country. While most Latinos are accessing news content in English, broadcast Spanish language is also seeing record breaking viewership.

The study also underscores the different media diets between those Latinos born in the U.S. and those who are immigrants. Annually about 800,000 young U.S.-born Latinos enter adulthood and they’re much more English-proficient than are immigrants.

About 6-in-10 (59 percent) of native-born Latinos say they consume news media only in English, 39 percent say they consume news media in English and Spanish, and just 2 percent say they consume news media only in Spanish, the study found through a nationally representative bilingual telephone survey of 1,765 Latino adults.

Only 11 percent of Latinos born outside the U.S. say they consume news media only in English, 59 percent say they do so in both languages, and 31 percent say they get their news in Spanish only.

Spanish Language TV Breaking Records Too

The vast majority of immigrant Latinos get their news media only in Spanish, with the majority accessing content through television. According to the report, 86% of all Latino adults say that on a typical weekday they get their news from television.

The Pew report comes one day after the Univision (our Spanish-language parent network) announced that it is on pace to finish the July 2013 sweep as the No. 1 network, broadcast or cable, in primetime among both adults 18-49 and Adults 18-34, beating out NBC, FOX, CBS and ABC for the first time.

Univision got a boost from its youth awards show “Premios Juventud” on Thursday, July 18, reaching nearly 10 million viewers who tuned in to all or part of the youth awards show. The long time running variety show “Sabado Gigante” also received high ratings during July.

The Spanish-language network’s national and local news programming is also among the most watched programming on television, regardless of language. Univision’s local 6pm news was the most watched among adults 18-49 in Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas San Francisco, Phoenix, and Sacramento.

KMEX Univision 34 in Los Angeles and WXTV Univision 41 in New York are set to finish the sweep as the #1 and #2 most watched late local newscast in the country, respectively, regardless of language, among Adults 18-49.

Not a Surprise to Industry Insiders

The Pew findings may not come as a surprise to the media companies that produce news content. Delivering news to Latinos is a thriving market, in any language.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, a record 35 million Hispanics ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home, up from 25 million in 2000 and 10 million in 1980. At the same time, a record 31 million Hispanics ages 5 and older are proficient in English, up from 19 million in 2000 and 8 million in 1980.

Spanish language networks directed at U.S. Latinos, such as CNN Español and MundoFox, have had some success in the market. While other networks have launched English-language news web portals such as NBC Latino, Fox News Latino and ABC News/Univision News hosted on the ABC News site (that would be us, until we launch the Fusion site later this year.)

There is also at least two new networks launching before the end of the year targeting millennials that will feature news and documentary content produced in partnership with Univision.

Here at Fusion, the joint venture between ABC News and Univision, we’ll be launching a cable news and lifestyle network targeting millennials and English dominant Latinos. The English-language network is expected to launch with a primetime news show hosted by the star newscaster of Spanish-language TV, Jorge Ramos.

Participant Media’s Pivot, which launches August 1st, is also partnering with Univision News and Latin World Entertainment to produce a series of ten compelling documentaries drawn from the headlines, produced in both Spanish and English.

Newsrooms Still Don’t Reflect Changing Demographics

When the Pew survey asked if news organizations get their fact straight or are often inaccurate, 60% of all Latinos said Spanish news organizations “get the facts straight” while 59% say the same of English news organizations.

Part of the reason Latinos who speak both English and Spanish are still getting their news in Spanish may be because they don’t see themselves on English language news shows.

White men dominated guest lists on cable news too, according to an analysis by the media watchdog group Media Matters. According to the most recent U.S. Census data, white men make up only 31 percent of the U.S. population. On evening cable news, they represented a much larger percentage of guests -- 62 percent of guests on CNN, 60 percent on Fox, and 54 percent on MSNBC.

It’s not any better in print either.

The percentage of ethnic minorities in American newsrooms has stagnated at between 12 and 13 percent for more than a decade, according to a census by the American Society of News Editors released last month.

The new networks launching later this year may change that though. NBC Latino, Fox News Latino, Fusion and Pivot all include young journalists of color who are telling their own stories.