This study assesses mainstream journalism’s diversity measures from the perspective of minority audiences. Specifically, it focuses on Latinas/os’ perceptions of the San José Mercury News , a paper highly regarded for its professional standards and its commitment to cultural diversity. Based on a multi-methodological approach, the study shows Latinas/os’ persistent distrust of the Mercury News and how that distrust is grounded in a problem of representation. This problem of representation cannot be equated — as it is commonly done in journalism — with a mismatch between the paper’s portrayal of Latinas/os and an objective reality. Latinas/os feel excluded from the Mercury News not because reporters fail to cover the community objectively. Rather, a strict compliance with professional standards of objectivity constrain the newspaper’s capacity to represent, and thus to adequately serve, minority audiences. The paper concludes that journalism needs to move away from objectivist notions of representation and of cultural difference.

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Keywords Latinos, diversity, essentialism, minorities, news coverage, newspapers, objectivity, professionalism, representation, social exclusion
Persistent URL,
Series ERMeCC - Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Journal Journalism: theory, practice & criticism
Awad Cherit, I. (2011). Latinas/os and the mainstream press: The exclusions of professional diversity. Journalism: theory, practice & criticism, 12(5), 515–532. doi:10.1177/1464884911408221