Telemundo's Solid Journalism

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on March 29, 2011

Yesterday in this space, I expressed admiration for Telemundo's coverage last Friday of the census report on the explosive growth of the Latino population.

Today I want to look at a sidebar in that same Telemundo newscast. It was introduced by anchorman Jose Diaz-Balart, who said, "One of the ways to strengthen our community is education. In a country where the white and Afro-American population is aging, Hispanic youth could represent hope."

The centerpiece of the story was analysis by Salvadoran-American journalist Carlos Rajo, an analyst for Telemundo.

Rajo provided a concise explanation of the damage the U.S. would suffer if the ever-larger cohort of Latino young people do not receive an education that prepares them for the future.

Rajo said that a failed education doesn't just hurt the individual: "The state is also hurt because it receives less taxes during the lifetime of a person who does not complete his education," he said.

Broadening his field of vision, Rajo added this: "The future of those who are going to retire in 10 or 20 years will depend in large measure on the taxes that these young people pay."

This was a clear, crisp statement of an important fact of fiscal and civic life in the United States. It informed a discussion that our country needs to have. It was solid journalism.

Telemundo's competitors at Univision should take notice.

Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson offered one measure of the challenge facing the country. In 2006 he wrote, "Since 1990, about 90 percent of the increase in people living below the government's poverty lines has come among Hispanics. That has to be mainly immigrants and their U.S.-born children."

Now we have record numbers of Hispanic immigrants and Hispanic children. Success for the young would contribute mightily to our success as a country. Failure would cause great damage.

Good journalism helps us understand the stakes.