LAC Digest 4 Reviews

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Sallie Hughes, Associate Professor in Journalism and Latin American Studies, is the U-MIA Faculty Director and Senior Research Area Lead. Her just-published research in Latino Studies is part of a special issue examining social hierarchies within Miami’s multi-ethnic Latin Americanorigin population.



SALLIE HUGHES. (2018) “The Latino/a audience unbound: Intra-ethnic social hierarchies and Spanish-language television news.” Latino Studies, 1-22 (First Online).

This study investigates how Spanish-language television news constructs Latino/a audiences. Relying on constructivist methodologies that allow participants to dialogue about media and to interpret media messages through personal experience and group culture, it compares the Mexican, Puerto Rican and older Cuban diasporas with Hondurans, Dominicans and recently arrived Cubans. After discussing the findings, the study’s author states that “Comparing how first-generation Latino/as make sense of Spanish-language news unpacks pan-ethnicity from the perspective of the audience, showing that audience formation is much more complex than the pan-Latino/a label suggests.” Precisely the latter is one of the key points that make this study relevant to those working on Latino/as, journalism, and media studies, but also to those interested in sociolinguistics, language and media, media management, audience construction, and cultural studies. The article calls upon news producers to be “more attentive to shared local conditions and experiences, which might foster political coalition-building or market growth,” and decisively contributes to the larger enterprise of theorizing Latino/a audiences.

Latino Studies, 1-22 (First Online)Abstract: Many US Spanish-language television producers, marketers and academics construct Latino/a identity in Spanish-language media narrowly, despite numerous scholarly critiques of the pan-Latino label. Examining how Latino/a immigrants in metropolitan Miami interpret representations of immigrants, immigrant communities, and urban services in Spanish-language news, I argue that diverse Latino/a audiences emerge according to how the media representations evoke participants’ subjective positioning in locally and nationally embedded social hierarchies. The study reveals how intra-Latino/a factors affect audience formation, and discusses implications for audience studies and journalism practice.


Keywords: journalism studies; audience reception studies; latino/a media.