By the Numbers: A nuanced portrait of how Hispanic Americans get their news

Data from Pew Research reveals that this growing bloc of Americans is far from a monolith.

How Hispanic Americans like to get news

Time and again, research reminds us that Hispanic Americans are one of the most diverse groups in this country. While we discuss them demographically as one homogenous group, Hispanic people can identify as many races, be domestic or foreign-born, trace their origins to 20 different nations, and speak a variety of languages, including Spanish, English or the plethora of native languages spoken in Central and South America.


Read more: How Black Americans get news


By the same token, the way this group likes to get their news can vary widely, according to data from Pew Research. By understanding these patterns and preferences, PR professionals can better reach and influence this critical demographic.

English, Spanish or both?

One of the first questions a PR pro must answer is which language will best reach their target audience. A slight majority (51%) of all Hispanics prefer to get their news in English. Only 24% of people who identify as Hispanic prefer their news primarily in Spanish, while 23% have no linguistic preference.

However, the data grows more complicated as we dig a bit deeper.



Hispanic people born in the United States overwhelmingly (79%) prefer to get news in English. Since more than two-thirds of Hispanic Americans are native-born, this is significant. Only 3% of American-born Hispanics prefer to get their news in Spanish, while 17% are fine with either language.

To put it plainly, English (perhaps combined with some Spanish) is the most important language for reaching the largest chunk of the American Latino population.

These numbers shift when we look at Hispanic immigrants, but not as dramatically as you might expect. Twenty-two percent of immigrants prefer to get news in English, while 47% want Spanish instead. An additional 31% have no preference.

The bottom line is that being granular in your targeting and better understanding what segment of the Hispanic population you’re targeting will help you choose the most effective outlets to target, or what language to use in social media and other materials.

The most popular news sources

About half of all Hispanic adults get news from Latino-specific media at least sometimes, the survey found. Again, we see a significant split between immigrants and American-born people, with 69% of immigrants preferring Hispanic news sources versus just 33% of native-born. But it’s clear there is still utility in pitching outlets like Telemundo, Univision and others, especially if aiming for that immigrant population.

Most Latinos prefer to get their news from various digital sources. Twenty-one percent prefer social media; 19% go directly to news websites or apps; 18% use search; and 7% like podcasts. Twenty-three percent have a preference for TV, and just 4% each prefer print or radio.

But those are preferences. Most Hispanic people receive news from multiple sources, and their consumption broadly echoes that of Americans as a whole, with 87% getting news at least sometimes from digital sources; 62% from TV; 48% from radio; and 32% from print. So don’t be afraid to experiment with a broad range of new and old-school media to reach this audience. But perhaps veer a bit more toward digital sources overall.

Interest in news

One challenge to reaching Hispanics through media relations efforts is that many simply don’t follow the news. Just 22% say they follow the news closely all the time, a 6-point YOY decrease. Seventeen percent never follow the news at all. These numbers lag news interest in other ethnic groups, a disparity Pew Research attributes, at least in part, to age. Latinos tend to be younger than other demographics, and young people simply don’t follow the news as closely.

This might present opportunities for media relations with sources other than hard news outlets. Think influencers, podcasts, social media or more entertainment-focused news sources.

There are challenges to connecting with the Hispanic market in media relations, just as there are with any group. But with smart targeting, cultural awareness and creativity, it can always be done.

Allison Carter is editor-in-chief of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.



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