Spanish-Language News Consumption and Latino Reactions to COVID-19

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Sep 13;18(18):9629. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18189629.


While the literature on infectious disease outbreaks has examined the extent to which communication inequalities during public health emergencies exacerbate negative outcomes among disadvantaged individuals, the implications of ethnic media consumption among minority groups during these crises are underexplored. Making use of the first nationally representative survey of US Latinos (N = 1200) on the impact and reactions to COVID-19, this study examines the implications of Spanish-language news media consumption on source credibility and attitude formation during the COVID-19 pandemic among Latinos and immigrants from Latin America. Through a series of statistical analyses, this study finds that ethnic news consumption is strongly associated with trust in Spanish-language journalists, whereas mainstream media consumption is not associated with trust in English-language journalists. More importantly, this study finds that source credibility, particularly in Spanish-language journalists, matters for Latinos as it is associated with more positive assessments of state and local officials providing adequate information about COVID-19. This study illuminates the importance of non-traditional media among racial minorities, who account for almost 40% of the US population, and highlights the importance of shared backgrounds in source credibility among linguistically diverse groups in the United States during a public health crisis.

Keywords: COVID-19; Spanish-language news; ethnic media; health information retrieval; pandemic.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States / epidemiology