International communication, national identity, and political change: The role of international news in Puerto Rico’s political discourse

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In the first comprehensive analysis of the political economy of the mass media of Puerto Rico, done in the early 1990’s, Subervi-Vélez, Hernández-López & Frambes-Buxeda concluded that the fundamental …

In the first comprehensive analysis of the political economy of the mass media of Puerto Rico, done in the early 1990’s, Subervi-Vélez, Hernández-López & Frambes-Buxeda concluded that the fundamental factor shaping Puerto Rico’s media system was the Island’s status with the United States. In spite of some structural continuities across the decades, the world of international communications, especially the news media world, which is dominated mainly by United States capital, is not only one of the factors shaping the political status of the Island, but also one of the fundamental factors informing and contributing to the ongoing colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and United States today. Because of the importance of access and voice in media coverage, and of media representations, for the individual and collective process of national identity formation, and for assuring a place in the policy-making process, this study explores several questions, which can be sum in two: 1) whether there is a relationship between news media coverage of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans by major news media networks, and the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans by U.S. residents of the mainland and the ones living in the Island; and 2) how these knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions are similar or differ. The hypothesis is that news about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans are not only scarce, but also very limited in its scope and focus, especially with respect to the real political, economic, social, and cultural dynamics of the Island and its people. In essence, this study suggests that news and information about this territory, in the midst of intense deliberations about its future status with the U.S. are not presented in any regular nor substantial way in the news media that shape public knowledge and opinions. Such invisibility has potentially detrimental consequences, not only for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans national identity and cultural value, but also for U.S. internal and foreign policies and affairs.

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  • which comprised 1.6% of the total population of United States and which is slightly greater than the population of Puerto Rico itself in 2011, which was approximately 3.7 million. One example of a implication of this is the fact that although Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island, is not included in Caribbean discourse. In the same way, although it is considered a Hispanic or Latino country, it is not included in the Latin American discourse. Mexicans being the first, accounting for 9.5% of the entire U.S. Hispanic population.
  • The fact that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but are also categorized as international residents instead of giving them a bigger spotlight in the international community, because of the complexity of the Island’s status, recent literature lacks a comprehensive picture of characteristics of Puerto Ricans compared to other Hispanic groups (Collazo, Ryan & Bauman, 2010), such as the Mexican American experience (Torres, 2004). This situation perpetuates the colonial status and makes the Island’s individual and collective needs and claims invisible to the international community and to international political agendas.
  • Today, in spite of some structural continuities across the decades, the world of international communications, especially the news media world, which is dominated mainly by United States capital, is not only one of the factors shaping the political status of the Island, but also one of the fundamental factors informing and contributing to the ongoing colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and United States. importance of access and voice in media coverage, and of media representations, for the individual and collective process of national identity formation, and for assuring a place in the policy-making
  • Deviance, Social significanceLooks, tone, atmosphere, etc.
  • Roth - mass-media has effectively shaped national and transnational identities, and that concepts of identity are communicated through the use of media such as television, radio and the press. This phenomenon of panethnic identification, facilitated by the mass media, becomes a bridge between nations and defines their identities as if they were all part of just one cultural group of people. - In order to produce a television show that appeals to the diversity within the “Hispanic” population it is necessary to research highly rated shows and determine the common patterns of the characteristics of the Spanish-language television programs accepted by all Hispanics, regardless of their particular national origins (Álvarez-González, 2010, p.94).

Transcript

  • 1. International Communication, National Identity, and Political Change The role of international news in Puerto Rico’s political discourse Aitza M. Haddad, J.D., LL.M. MCMS 757-01 – Seminar Int’l Communication Dr. Anju G. Chaudhary April 23, 2014
  • 2. • U.S. Citizenship – Jones Act of 1917 – Wave of domestic migration of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. • 2012 – Approximately 4,970,604 Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. • Considered Hispanics or Latinos for many purposes – Scholarships and census • In 2011, Puerto Ricans were the second- largest population of Hispanic origin living in the U.S. – International residents of the U.S. Introduction
  • 3. • Instead of a bigger spotlight in the international community, because of the complexity of the Island’s status, recent literature lacks a comprehensive picture of characteristics of Puerto Ricans compared to other Hispanic groups (Collazo, Ryan & Bauman, 2010), such as the Mexican American experience (Torres, 2004). – Perpetuation of the colonial status – individual and collective needs and claims invisible to the international community and political agendas. Introduction
  • 4. • 1990 – Fundamental factor shaping Puerto Rico’s media system – the Island’s status with the United States – Media shaping the Island’s status with the United States and the world • Media access • Voice in media coverage • Media representations – Individual and collective process of national identity formation – Assuring a place in the policy-making Problem Statement
  • 5. • Are issues about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans covered by major news media networks, such as CNN, ABC & BBC? – If so, how? • Relationship with knowledge, attitudes and perceptions about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans by U.S. residents of the mainland –And by the residents living in the Island Research Question
  • 6. • News about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans are not only scarce, but also very limited in its scope and focus, especially with respect to the real political, economic, social, and cultural dynamics of the Island and its people. Hypothesis
  • 7. • News and information about this territory, in the midst of intense deliberations about its future status with the U.S., are not presented in any regular nor substantial way in the news media that shape public knowledge and opinions. Hypothesis
  • 8. Discussion • Effects of the transmission of panethnicity through globalized Spanish media and interpersonal transnational contact (Roth (2009) • Effects of the homogenization of the label Hispanics by the mass media and the exploitation of this group’s shared culture or common patterns or characteristics (Álvarez-González, 2010)
  • 9. Conclusion • Such invisibility has potentially detrimental consequences, not only for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans national identity and cultural value, but also for U.S. internal and foreign policies and affairs.
  • 10. QUESTIONS Aitza M. Haddad, J.D., LL.M. amhaddadlaw@gmail.com Haddad@amhaddadlaw.com