Document Type


Publication Date

October 2006


The study’s goals were to explore patterns in news consumption in ethnic minority communities and to discern the relationship of that consumption to community participation. We interviewed 196 participants in three Washington, DC, metro neighborhoods. Participants were African-American, Latino, African and other ethnic minorities, 52% female and 48% male. About half the participants said they get their news from television, with Fox and NBC preferred. About a fourth said they read a newspaper. Those listening to radio (18%) overwhelmingly preferred a minority-owned station. Participants leaned toward believing the news did not help them to understand crime, rising costs of living and other problems they faced each day. They criticized the overemphasis on negative news and what they believed to be racist coverage of crime, wishing instead to hear more about solutions to problems and more in-depth explanation for problems. They prefer news sources with greater detail, as well as news reported from the perspectives of those who experienced the problems. Dispatching news makers to their neighborhoods, participants said, was key to improving local news. Half the participants said the news did not affect their level of community involvement, with the rest saying either yes, it did, or that they were uncertain.