During hearings in Los Angeles on the events surrounding last year's rioting, part of the attention focused on the media.
"Several people asked me why we were interested in the media," said Cruz Reynoso, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which held the hearings.
"The media have everything to do with civil rights," he added, explaining that the media "set the national agenda for issues to be debated" and they define "who we are."
Speaking at a meeting devoted to "The News, Latinos and Civil Rights" during the National Association of Hispanic Journalists annual conference in Washington, Reynoso told of various portrayals of Latinos in and by the news media, as recounted by various witnesses.
What this means for the Civil Rights Commission, he said, is that it is vitally important for civil rights advocates and the media to work together.
While the Latino community in Los Angeles depends on the Spanish-language media, the mainstream media are still a source of great power, he said.
There is a need not just for Latino reporters but also writers and producers and …