According to the latest Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on Latino representation in film, television and other publishing entities, Latinos remain severely underrepresented in the media industry and are more likely to serve in service roles.
GAO’s 2021 study found that while Latinos make up 18 percent of the total U.S. workforce, they still make up 12 percent of the media workforce and 4 percent of industry executives.
The latest report, released Wednesday, provides a more comprehensive data analysis of Latino representation in the media industry over the past decade, as well as solutions federal agencies can take to help increase diversity in the industry. From 2010 to 2019, the Hispanic population in the media industry increased by 1 percent, while the representation of all other industries increased by only 3 percent, the report said.
“This invisibility means Americans don’t know who Latinos are or how we can contribute to our nation’s success. This year’s report will call for action to improve Latino representation in the media and empower Latinos The American narrative is ultimately part of the larger American narrative,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, who led an effort in Congress to investigate the state of diversity in the media.
The findings, released Wednesday, are part of the second part of the GAO report. Last year, the agency released its first report in which researchers analyzed Hispanic representation by media industry and occupation. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus has asked the GAO to investigate the issue in 2020.
Castro said in a statement that the initial report “brought national attention to the industry’s failure to recruit and retain talented Latinos.”
The media industry is responsible for informing the American public and influencing how we view the world and others, which is why society must represent these diverse viewpoints from the top down, the report said.
Media companies also have economic incentives to promote equality of representation.
A Nielsen report last month found that Latino viewers are spending more time watching shows that include Latino representatives before and after the camera.
When Latinos do get jobs in the media industry, they are often divided into service roles. Nineteen percent of Latinos working in the media are service workers, compared with 3 percent in senior management positions, the report said.
The gap in representation of Latinos in the industry is even wider. The only roles they are more represented than men are news analyst/reporter and writer/writer, with just 1% more than men in both fields, the report said.
A small group of industry group researchers and representatives, union members and Hispanic nonprofit members identified in the report several different challenges for Latinos to get jobs in the industry — such as financial and educational barriers — but these stakes are relevant The majority of respondents said limited access to professional networks was particularly damaging.
Some of the blame may also lie with how the federal government enforces anti-discrimination and equal employment opportunity rules, the researchers said. The report provides recommendations that certain federal agencies can take to mitigate this discrepancy, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sharing a discrimination filing report with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which can audit companies previously flagged as Cancellation of pre-sanctioned institutions.