Criticizing U.S. Media Reporting on Jenni Rivera’s Death
By Elia Esparza
I found an article by OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano fascinating and gutsy for saying what many Latinos in communications should have said a long time ago. Equally, I found the follow up article by Josh Kun, a journalism professor at USC, just as interesting as he commented on Arrellano’s piece.
In Arrellano’s article, titled “Death of Jenni Rivera Proves—Again—How Clueless Los Angeles Times and MSM Continue to be About Mexican Anything,” criticized some of the largest news publications for not having an intrest in reporting on “mega-superstar” Rivera until the tragedy that took her life occurred. Although, Rivera has been a huge star both among the U.S. Latino community and internationally, building her brand that seemed to have Midas touch, that included a music career, product line, TV and film, however mainstream media seemed oblivious.
An excerpt from Arellano’s story is:
The media requests for me to opine on the death of Mexican regional superstar (and Long Beach) gal Jenni Rivera are already coming in, and I expect them to only increase as the American media trips over themselves to cover the story. After all, I’m America’s Mexican, right? I’m more than happy to take them, if only to help the MSM correct their pathetic record on reporting on a mega-superstar that operated in plain sight under a media that, like usual, didn’t bother to pay attention while she was alive because she was a Mexican and popular mostly to Mexicans—and they never matter unless you can get a diversity grant to cover them.
No media outlet is the bigger sinner, however, than the Los Angeles Times, the perpetual pendejos when covering Latinos in Southern California. A look through the Proquest archives show that they never did a single full profile on Rivera—not once. The only full stories on her were two—one was a story on a reality show involving her youngest daughter. Another—of all things!—was a real-estate story on Rivera purchasing a multimillion-dollar estate in Encino. Before her death, there were only two other shorter stories, both by freelancers: a concert review, and a record review.
Josh Kun states:
Arellano also pointed to similar criticism made by Univision’s lead anchor Jorge Ramos.
“The English media doesn’t understand the TV coverage in Spanish of the death of [Puerto Rican boxer] Macho Camacho and Jenni Rivera…that’s why their ratings fall,” Ramos tweeted on Sunday evening.
Ramos may have actually been alluding to the lack of coverage on English language media on Sunday.
Why has the U.S. media been clueless? In a country where Latinos make up a fast-growing share of the population, consumer market and electorate, the sudden death of a California-born songstress, famous for her distinctly Mexican-style music amounts to big, mainstream news. With the recent impact Latino voters made on the 2012 presidential elections and now after the death of a Latino icon, are non-Latino Americans finally getting it?
“It’s really amazing because I have seen it on the front page of every newspaper I have seen today,” said Federico Subervi, director of the Center for the Study of Latino Media and Markets at Texas State University. “It’s a recognition that Latino popular culture is important and influential in this country.”
What do you think? Post your comments.