by Dagmar Thiel
Dear friends of Fundamedios,
It is my honor to present Fundamedios’ Report on Discrimination against Latino Journalists in the U.S.A 2020. This investigative project was conducted with the support of Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute and the Fund for Investigative Journalism. We researched about discrimination factors and how they affected the environment of freedom of expression and access to information for the Hispanic communities.
During the last 8 months, Fundamedios interviewed 115 journalists and talked with representatives of 28 organizations about the working conditions of Latino media workers. 45% of the interviewed journalists said they had experienced discrimination.
The most common claim expressed was about differences in their working conditions or contracts. Latino journalists do the same job as their white peers with fewer resources, and less pay. The intersectionality of ethnicity and gender results in cumulative discrimination against female journalists who are of Latino origin. Latinas earn on average 37% less than their white male peers.
Underrepresentation in newsrooms and lack of Latinos in the leadership affect the way in which Latinos are portrayed by the media and therefore treated. Many journalists shared their experiences when receiving racist comments or attitudes. These comments imply that Hispanic journalists do not belong in that space or are too stupid to do that job.
Four years of offenses emanating from Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, have definitely harmed journalists’ safety and an unprecedented number of journalists have been assaulted or arbitrarily detained. Many Latino journalists faced hostile environments, aggressions, insults and were prevented from doing their job.
These findings have encouraged Fundamedios’ mission to protect freedom of the press and stand behind those journalists who have been harassed, assaulted, detained, or discriminated against in any way. Independent journalism is an important pillar of democracy. And the democracy of a multicultural America is only real if all voices are being heard.
In addition, we work on solutions. In 2021 Fundamedios is implementing a training program to raise awareness of the pay gap that affects Latinas. We are building capacity by coaching journalists to improve their negotiation skills.
Boosting Latinos entering in fair conditions the market place, by reducing the inequality they currently face and helping them achieve fair representation by gender and race in newsrooms. More Latinos will consequently demand from their information sources, better answers for their audiences and provide the Hispanic communities with access to valuable and reliable information.
About Dagmar Thiel, USA Office Director – Ecuadorian-German journalist, appointed as Fundamedio’s Director in the U.S. in 2018 to lead its office start-up in Washington DC and manage it thereafter. She has ample experience in communications, public affairs, and corporate sustainability, and has worked over 25 years in media, non-profit organizations, and corporations. In Ecuador, Dagmar was a reporter and news anchor in Ecuavisa and TC TV, as well as a contributor of El País (Spain), and Deutsche Welle (Germany). In the corporative sector she was Head of Communications and Corporate Sustainability of Telefónica (previously BellSouth), Vice President of Foundation Telefónica, and became elected Chairperson of the United Nation Global Compact Network in Ecuador.
About Fundamedios is an organization committed to promoting freedom of expression, monitor aggressions and risks faced by journalists, and uphold human rights since 2007 in Latin America. In December 2017, Fundamedios was awarded with the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law.
Fundamedios is one of the leading organizations of Voces del Sur (VDS), a CSOs’ collective that reports progress toward implementing the Sustainable Development Goal 16 regarding peace, justice and strong institutions. The network of fundamental freedom organizers developed regional standards for monitoring and dissemination of alerts regarding freedom of expression in 8 countries. The report has been reviewed by UNESCO as part of the UN’s High-Level Review of SDG 16 in July 2019.
The organization has experience in monitoring, promoting and protecting freedom of expression and freedom of the press; boosting high-quality reporting; training journalists; carrying out studies and research, and promoting open discussion about journalism, media, and democracy in Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, Uruguay, and the USA.
The work has been undertaken in close partnership with media, civil society, and international organizations, as well as the Inter-American and Universal Systems for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. www.fundamedios.org