Despite Impeachment, Immigration Still Dominates Spanish-Language Evening Newscasts

February 10th, 2020 6:00 AM

MRC Latino analyzed every story on Univision and Telemundo evening weeknight newscasts for the month of January, 2020, and found that immigration continued to reign supreme despite the ongoing Senate impeachment trial.

Immigration has always been dominant on Spanish-language news. In fact, MRC Latino’s five-year-study showed that immigration accounted for 49% of U.S. domestic policy stories. Surprisingly, that didn’t change with the impeachment of the President of the United States.

As shown in the chart below, immigration garnered twice as much coverage as did impeachment at Univision, and more than tripled impeachment coverage at Telemundo.



But another data set emerges from this study which is even more eye-watering, and that is the near-zero coverage given to the economic miracle occuring within the Hispanic community. Although we've often chronicled this disparate reporting, we'd never quantified it into a study. 

In the month of January, a historic jobs report with special relevance to the Hispanic community warranted all of 14 seconds at Univision, with 82 minutes accorded to immigration which represents a 354-1 ratio. At Telemundo, immigration garnered 259 times as much coverage as did the scant 26 seconds given to the economic miracle occuring within the Hispanic community.

Poll after poll shows that the top issues concerning Hispanics are jobs and the economy, education, and healthcare. Even liberal UnidosUS (formerly known as the National Council of La Raza) ran a poll where immigration does no better than third on the list, with jobs and the economy at a strong number one. 

Why is there such a disconnect between the issues that polls show are important to the Hispanic community, and what the networks prioritize? While addressing his daughter’s graduating class at Harvard nearly five years ago, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos gave us an insight as to why immigration still reigns supreme on Spanish-language network news:



JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR ANCHOR, UNIVISION: I think the future of Spanish-language media is assured for decades, simply, for a very simple reason: In spite of the fact that the majority of the growth within the Hispanic community is coming from people being born here, we still have one to two million immigrants, legally and illegally coming in every single year. Most of them speak Spanish. So, therefore, we have a market that is growing and growing.


Unfortunately, the Hispanic community remains grossly underserved by networks that continue to prioritize grevance and advocacy over news that is relevant to the community. The market continues to cry out for an alternative.


[Many thanks to MRC Latino News Analyst Kathleen Krumhansl, and MRC Latino interns Alexander Reyes and Asun Weninger for their valuable contributions to this study.]