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Why are we launching CALÓ NEWS?

Latinos are the largest ethnic or racial group in the state of California. But we are not accurately nor authentically represented in the media. Our goal is to change that.

Almost 40% of the 40 million people in California are Latino and by 2060 we will be half  of the state’s population. We are here and always have been.

Already 51% of all Californians under the age of 18 are Latino, according to the Southern California Latino Policy Center. And 75% of California Latinos are native born or naturalized U.S. citizens.

We are educated and becoming more so. California leads the nation in enrolling Latinx students in higher education. There are 1.39 million Latinx students enrolled in college in California and 43% of California undergraduates are Latino, according to The State of Higher Education for Latinx Californians. 

We face many challenges, including health care. More than one third of Latinos in Los Angeles County have no health insurance at a time when Latinos are dying of COVID-19 at disproportionate rates.

Latinos compose 28% of all California households but make up slightly less, 22%, of all homeowners, according to the California Senate Office of Research.

But we do not see these stories in the media. Too often the stories we watch and read about Latinos focus on criminality or pigeonhole coverage of our dynamic, diverse community to the single issue of immigration.

That is why we are launching CALÓ NEWS, to do in-depth and timely public affairs reporting on California’s Latinx community, the most populous in the nation.

We will bring you stories on government accountability, health and health care and economic, racial and social justice and more, covering the Golden State but also anchoring coverage in Los Angeles County. 

We have assembled a team of experienced and rising Latinx journalists to tell original and well-sourced stories.

You’re probably wondering by now—what does Caló mean?

If you refer to your friend as carnal, you speak Caló, the slang popularized by pachucos and pachucas in the southwest who defied American norms to forge their unique cultural identity and take charge over their language. 

We seek to take charge of not just our language, but stories, too. We know that our community is underrepresented in the media in California and in the nation as sources and as storytellers.

Latinos represent just 7% of newspaper employees, according to the 2018 American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) Newsroom Employment Diversity Survey completed with the University of Virginia Department of Media Studies. Latinos represent just 5% of radio and 10.9% of television employees, according to a 2020 study by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate and they released a recent study. The report found Latinos made up an estimated 12% of the media industry workforce compared to an estimated 18% of workers in the rest of the workforce. Latinos also made up an estimated 8% of the newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers’ workforce. Approximately, 11% of news analysts, reporters and journalists were Latino.

U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) called for more Latino representation in the news media, Hollywood and book publishing.

“The Latino narrative over the generations in America has been left out of the telling of the larger American narrative,” Castro said in a recent zoom discussion with Latino journalists and journalism students hosted by the University of Arizona. “There is a void in narrative and that void in narrative gets filled by dangerous stereotypes—Latinos as drug dealers, Latinos as illegal invaders, Latinas as hypersexualized in television and on film. When you do this decade after decade after decade for generations, the effect is a stain on a community and a group of people that takes, I think, a long time to turn around.”

Even as Latinx stories come on the silver screen, such as the recent “West Side Story” and Encanto,” they are not enough and we need more that are led with authenticity by Latino storytellers.

The latest report from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that only 7% of 2019’s top films featured a Hispanic/Latinx lead or co-lead, and just 3.5% of leads/co-leads across the 13-year sample were Hispanic/Latinx.

Almost a third of Hispanic/Latino speaking characters across 100 movies of 2019 were depicted as criminals, the study found.

If our community isn’t fairly represented in the media, that has an impact across government, philanthropy, education and more. It determines who receives funding and how resources are distributed. 

Our goal with this news outlet is to promote Latino voices and stories and to tell a more fair and accurate narrative of our community that has been maligned and demonized historically and in modern politics.

It’s time we tell more of our own stories and expose the challenges we face and the contributions we make in California and in the country. The missing stories erase us and we deserve to be seen and heard.

Take a look at our first stories. We feel they represent a diverse mix of the issues confronting our communities today. If you have a question or would like to pitch a story, email us at info@latinomedia.org.