Puerto Rican Newspaper Coverage of the Puerto Rican Independence Party: A Content Analysis of Three Elections

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Puerto Rican Newspaper Coverage of the Puerto Rican Independence Party: A Content Analysis of Three Elections. Maria Cristina Santana. New York, NY; Garland Publishing, Inc., 2000. $75 hbk.

Although Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory since 1898, contemporary mass media in the small Caribbean island has been given short shrift in academic circles. That has changed with Puerto Rican Newspaper Coverage of the Puerto Rican Independence Party: A Content Analysis of Three Elections. This 177-page, nine-- chapter volume focuses on coverage of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) by four Puerto Rican newspapers during the 1988,1992, and 1996 gubernatorial elections.

Puerto Rico, with a population of more than four million, has struggled with its status as "a nation within a nation" for decades. Although Puerto Ricans are considered U.S. citizens, for example, they cannot vote for President of the United States. However, the author writes that independence is "by far a third choice for Puerto Ricans." In fact, most Puerto Ricans belong to the Popular Democratic Party, which would prefer for Puerto Rico to remain a commonwealth, or the New Progressive Party, which is fighting for statehood.

Author Maria Cristina Santana, an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida, asked three questions: Does the Puerto Rican press treat the PIP in a favorable, neutral, or unfavorable manner? Do major stories focus on political figures or political issues in the news coverage by the local press? Does the political coverage by the local press stem from economic issues and social issues?

For answers, Santana studied how the minority PIP, issues of independence, and independence leaders were covered by three Spanish-language newspapers, El Nuevo Dia, Claridad, and El Vocero, and one Englishlanguage newspaper, The San Juan Star.

Santana describes the two dailies-El Nuevo Dia and The San Juan Star-as right-- wing newspapers. …