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Pew Research Center published report on Hispanic and Black media

It highlights how the two groups have recently experienced a decline in viewership.

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The Pew Research Center, a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its main funder, recently released the latest report from ongoing research into the state of news, information, and journalism in the digital age.

The analysis, which is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, explores trends in news outlets focused on Black and Hispanic communities.

Noting the recent decline in these audiences, the Pew Research Center states:

News media made by and for the two largest racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States – Black Americans and Hispanic Americans – have been a consistent part of the American news landscape.

Hispanic Audience Behavior

The Pew Research Center lists Univision and Telemundo, the two largest Spanish-language television networks in the U.S., as the leading source of news for Spanish-speaking audiences.

Latino TV audience chart provided by Pew Research Center.
Univisión's TV audience chart provided by Pew Research Center.

According to the latest polls, both companies suffered a drop in their audiences, which is reflected in the following figures:

  • Univision’s average audience – measured as the average number of TVs tuned to a program throughout a period of time – declined in 2022 for all three national time slots studied. This was an 11% decline for the evening news time slot, from an average audience of about 804,000 to roughly 714,000; a 16% decline in late night news; and a 7% decline for the morning news time slot.
  • Telemundo’s audience also dropped in 2022 – by 9% in the evening news time slot, from 479,000 to 435,000; and by 16% in the late night news time slot. These declines continued a pattern that started for many time slots in 2021.

The study highlights that these declines continued a pattern that began for many time intervals in 2021.

“Both Univision and Telemundo have local affiliate stations that carry their own original news programming. In 2022, average viewership for Univision affiliates increased for morning news but decreased in the two later time slots,” the report points out. 

Likewise, Univision affiliates’ morning news showed an increase of 17%, while evening news viewership for Univision affiliates declined by 7% and late night news viewership declined by 8%.

For its part, average viewership for Telemundo affiliates during these time slots all increased or stayed roughly the same, with morning news increasing by 28%, late night news viewership increasing by 5%, and evening news audiences remaining about steady.

Telemundo's TV audience chart provided by Pew Research Center.
Telemundo's TV audience chart provided by Pew Research Center.

Written Press in Spanish

Pew Research Center notes that since 2015, to obtain a summary measure of circulation in weekly and biweekly Hispanic newspapers, the Center has used an average of the top 20 of these newspapers reporting current and historical data to the Alliance for Audited Media, the Center's primary source for newspaper circulation.

“Beginning in 2021, there were no longer 20 Hispanic newspapers that reported their circulation to our data sources. This may be due to a combination of factors – including, in some cases, larger English-language newspapers no longer breaking out their affiliated Spanish-language publications in their circulation reports (for example, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s circulation reports no longer break out the affiliated publication La Estrella),” states the report.

These figures point to a significant reduction in the number of news outlets written in Spanish:

  • In 2021, there were only 18 weekly or semiweekly Hispanic newspapers with circulation data available to Pew Research Center.
  • That figure dropped to 11 in 2022. For those papers available, average per-paper circulation declined, though that may be an artifact of a few larger newspapers dropping out of the data.
  • Average circulation for the Hispanic weeklies with data available dropped over the past three years, from roughly 109,000 in 2020 to about 92,000 in 2021, to about 83,000 for the 11 papers that reported circulation in 2022.

“For the only daily Hispanic newspaper for which there is 2022 data – El Nuevo Herald in Miami – circulation also declined,” highlights the report.

Hispanic newspapers circulation chart provided by Pew Research Center.
Hispanic newspapers circulation chart provided by Pew Research Center.

Black Press

Pew Research Center underscores how Black-oriented newspapers are a long-standing minority news sector in the U.S.

The report echoes data from the CUNY School of Journalism's Community Media Center Mapping Black Media Project, which lists 200 newspapers that are owned or oriented toward African Americans.

The report notes that it has not been easy to acquire audience figures for the industry as a whole because very few of these publications listed as members of the National Association of Newspaper Publishers (the Black Press trade association), have regularly audited the circulation figures.

Key Findings: 

  • 14 Black-oriented newspapers have recently reported circulation data.
  • Among the 8 papers with data for both 2021 and 2022, 2 had increases in circulation, and none saw their circulation drop by more than 10%.
  • However, there are a number of newspapers whose circulation is no longer available, including the Baltimore and Washington Afro-American, founded in 1892; the Michigan Chronicle, founded in 1936; and the Dallas Weekly, founded in 1954.

“This decline in reported weekly and semiweekly newspaper circulation reflects the problems with data collection we’ve seen among Hispanic newspapers in the U.S.,” notes the report. 

Other African American Media

Pew Research Center highlights data from the Mapping Black Media Project, which lists 48 radio stations and station networks from 23 different states that are owned or oriented toward African Americans.

It also points to three television stations: KSQA in Kansas, WHPR in Michigan, and WHUT in Washington, D.C.

“In the absence of abundant audience or financial data, survey data can shine some light on how Black Americans engage with the news. Black Americans are more likely than others to prefer to get their news on television, and are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to follow local news very closely,” says the report.

Financial information

The report says that while audience data is not available for Spanish-language news radio, revenue data is available and makes it possible to take stock of its recovery.

“Average station revenue for Spanish-language news stations that are listed in the BIA Advisory Services database has largely recovered from declines in revenue in 2020,” stresses the report.

Pew Research Center clarifies that no revenue data is available for Black-oriented newspapers, which are mostly privately owned, and no databases the Center is aware of separate Black-oriented television or radio news stations of all English-speaking media.

Investment in the Newsroom

These are the key figures inside newsrooms:

  • The portion of local television newsroom staff who are African-American has remained roughly stable, between about 12% and 13% since 2018, according to a survey of television stations by RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
  • By comparison, the percentage of television news directors who are African American is lower, at just 6%.
  • In 2022, 9% of the television news workforce and 7% of television news directors are Hispanic/Latino, both declining from 2021.

Find more in-depth explorations of the Black and Hispanic news media by clicking below.

Hispanos/Latinos

Black/Americans

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