NEWS AGENCIES, A RESOURCE THAT THE SPANISH-LANGUAGE MEDIA USE LESS
How much does Spanish-language journalism in the United States rely on international news agencies to inform its readers? During the first three years of the Trump administration, eight out of every 100 articles published online by the group of 41 outlets came from international agencies or relied on their information. In total, we detected 50,738 articles originally from the agencies or whose information was partially used in the texts. This is 8.1% of all content analyzed.
We included 11 news agencies in our search, including the most important ones in the world: EFE, Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Notimex, PR Newswire, DPA, ANSA, United Press International and Europapress, as well as BBC News Mundo, the news service of the British agency that several Hispanic media use in the United States.
34,185 articles that came from news agencies or used their material contain one of these words: “immigrants,” “immigrant,” “immigration” or “immigrate.” This represents 67% of all content from agencies.
In total, Media Cloud detected 51,532 stories published during the period studied that contain those same terms. That is, 66 out of 100 stories published by the media studied during the first three years of the Trump administration that mention the phenomenon of immigration or immigrants come from international news agencies or are supported by their information.
However, the use of agency news by this Latino media group decreased by almost half in 2018 and the first weeks of 2020.
During 2017, articles from international agencies or that used their information represented, on average, 9.2% of the monthly content published by the media outlets studied. The figure was almost identical in 2018 (9.05%), but dropped to 6.28% in 2019.
During the first 20 days of 2020, news agency material represented 5.65% of all stories published by Hispanic media, a lower percentage than the same period the previous two years (9.28% in 2018 and 8.83% in 2019).
Abrupt drop in agency content
On average, nine out of every 100 monthly articles published by Spanish-language media outlets in 2017 and 2018 came from news agencies or relied partially on their information. That number fell by almost half in 2019.
News agency material exceed 10% of the monthly content of the Spanish media on only two occasions: July 2017 and November 2018.
The phrases that appear most frequently in the stories published in July 2017, suggest that the news agencies primarily contributed in the coverage of events such as the protests against the government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela – on the election of the National Constituent Assembly convened by Maduro on July 30 – and the launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea on July 4, which coincided with the celebration of Independence Day in the United States, as well as the subsequent reaction of the Trump administration in the face of North Korea’s actions.
Likewise, in November 2018, the data suggests that a large part of international agencies’ contributions related to coverage of the “caravan” of Central American immigrants – as President Trump called it – that arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, on November 19, 2018, as well as the agreement between the Mexican government and the United States for migrants seeking asylum to remain in Mexico while their cases are resolved. Trump made the issue of the “caravan” his political weapon ahead of the midterm elections in the U.S., the other major news event that month, when Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives.