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Philadelphia’s Latino community is among the fastest growing in the United States. It has tripled over the past decade, and now makes up nearly 15% of residents. Yet, as a Philly Boricua by way of New York, I’m frustrated by the lack of news coverage these vibrant Latino and Hispanic communities receive.
Latino people have been contributing to the city’s history for a century or more. Puerto Ricans and Dominicans are credited with developing many of North Philly’s business corridors. And these days, Latinos from all backgrounds power our city’s culture. We’re poet laureates and radio producers and nonprofit leaders.
If you skimmed through many of Philly’s mainstream news outlets, you might not know it.
This isn’t just a Philly thing — Latinos are underrepresented in media across the board. According to a recent report from the U.S Government Accountability Office, 11% of journalists nationwide are Latino, a figure that’s inflated by the inclusion of a shrinking network of Spanish-language news sources. Locally, The Inquirer launched a Spanish-language site in 2019 to address this problem.
It leaves a void in news, and can homogenize the perception of the Latino experience in the U.S. as one of poverty, crime, and permanent struggle.
With more Latino reporters — and more care in the reporting — news coverage can center what our specific communities need. Conversely, we can also highlight joy, optimism, and the grassroots work being done to make our neighborhoods a little brighter.
So, Philly Latinos, I’m putting out a call. What do you want ME to report on?
Since I joined Billy Penn as a reporting intern last month, I’ve written a guide to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and examined Concilio’s cancellation of the Puerto Rican Day parade. Each article is published in English and Spanish, thanks to translation services from Gabriela Rivera at Resolve Philly.
This body of work is going to grow. During my time at BP, I’ll be reporting on more of the Latino Philly experience, from profiling dope muralists to investigating problems that have plagued North and South Philly neighborhoods for decades.
But I’m just one person, so I’m relying on you to help me chase great stories and choose worthy topics.
Submit your questions using the form below. I’ll pick the best ones, do some research and reporting, and share the answers in a series of articles.
What should I be reporting on today?