Covering immigration can be challenging. Here’s how to do it well in the Trump era.
Spanish-language media has always covered immigration well. But when you add to the conversation a wall, travel ban, and sanctuary cities, the subject of immigration gets pushed to the top of the news cycle.
For journalists working with Spanish-language media, covering immigration can present challenges. They must strike a balance between reporting recent developments and guiding their audience on what to do if faced with deportation.
Recent examples include:
- Cómo proteger tu información de la “migra” (How to protect your information from immigration authorities)
- ¿Cuáles son tus derechos si te detienen mientras manejas? (What are your rights if you are stopped while driving?)
- 5 preguntas sobre cómo es el proceso de deportación para un inmigrante en Estados Unidos (5 questions on the US deportation process for immigrants)
- Primera redada de ICE a plantación agrícola prende las alarmas (First ICE raid at farm sends shockwaves)
The staying power of “fake news” also doesn’t help. Covering immigration has become a test for journalists working to gain audience trust with the advice they’re giving.
Taking a stand on immigration issues on general market media also can pose a challenge.
Univision anchor Jorge Ramos recently became the object of such criticism when he appeared on Fox News’ The Tucker Carlson Show.
We reached out to El Nuevo Herald veteran op-ed columnist Benjamín F. DeYurre for his experience with covering immigration. He’s written about immigration for more than two decades and shares the following tips.
1. Use facts and stats in your stories
DeYurre believes being both a journalist and economist has given him an advantage with audience.
He says that by publishing economic facts and projections, he’s gained reader trust.
Some recent editorials include ¿Realmente a Trump le interesan Cuba y Venezuela? (Is Trump really interested in Cuba and Venezuela?) and Trumpcare, Obamacare, los dos o ninguno (Trumpcare, Obamacare, both or none).
Many readers keep these stories for future reference.
Data and research-based information can help give your story a leg to stand on and make it a valuable resource for readers and other journalists.
2. Ignore the negativity
DeYurre’s stories usually attract many comments.
It doesn’t matter that his stories appear on Spanish-language media, readers have positive and negative things to say. Many don’t agree with his point of view on Trump, and they let him know through social media.
DeYurre prefers to stay focused in presenting the facts; he chooses to ignore negative feedback.
Instead, he keeps moving forward and spends his time working on future stories.
3. Keep cool on live TV
DeYurre, who was born in Cuba and is an avid democrat, also is a regular guest on local Miami TV and radio. He frequently sees himself go up against old-school Cubans, many of whom are notorious for being staunch republicans.
Thankfully, he says his debates always are cordial.
That’s because he does his best to avoid personal attacks that would “disqualify” his opponents. Rather, he prefers to lean on mostly irrefutable statistics and numbers.
“I agree with Cubans regarding the need to get rid of communism,” he said. “The difference is the method used.”
His advice for opinion/political journalists on keeping their cool while on the air and strongly conveying their message?
“Be authentic always,” he says.
Additional tips from DeYurre
- Verify your sources.
- Ask yourself why Trump does not touch upon certain facts.
- Find the sectors that could be favored or bothered by Trump and write objectively.
Do you cover immigration topics related to Latinos in the US? Our Hispanic PR Wire has an immigration feed just for you. Please contact Jessica Alas Jessica.Alas@prnewswire.com to be added to that press list.
Jessica Alas is Multicultural Audience Director at PR Newswire. Follow her at @alasjessica.