Texas Tech project to combat misinformation in Hispanic communities

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Three Texas Tech faculty members are trying to combat the misinformation and disinformation among the Hispanic population. They are trying to understand why the Hispanic community lacks so many information resources in comparison to other communities.

Lucinda Holt is an Assistant Professor of Practice at Texas Tech’s College of Media and Communication. She said this project is important because of the growth in the Latino population.

“And there is not a whole lot of Spanish language information out there,” Holt said.

The lack of Spanish resources plays a big role in the communities health perceptions.

“We’ve heard from people that, you know, they get most of their information from social media, specifically Facebook,” Holt said. “A lot of them don’t have access to local news at home, or they just listen to what their family members tell them.”

Misinformation and disinformation have had fatal consequences. During their research, they spoke with a Plainview man, who was hospitalized from COVID-19.

“He also knew a 23-year-old who passed away because he believed that the COVID-19 vaccination was bad for him. And so he chose to not get vaccinated,” Holt said.

Holt said the first step toward combating misinformation is increasing representation.

“So we need to have more Latinos more Hispanos. And again, it goes beyond language. We need to have more Hispanos and Latinos,” Holt said. “You know, get in front of the camera. Don’t be shy and share that message.”

Along with Holt, Kent Wilkinson, a professor in the College of Media & Communication, and Ryan Litsey, assistant dean for user-centered services for Texas Tech University Libraries, are all taking it upon themselves to begin solving this issue.

“We are going to take that information, and we are going to move into production. So that’s print broadcast, which is, you know, television, radio, we’re looking at social media, and we are going to produce Spanish language content with English reinforcements,” Holt said.

This representation is vital in crisis communication too. She gave an example using the recent Uvalde shooting.

“The information is confusing coming out in English, but imagine your child was in that building and you don’t speak English and you’re not getting any Spanish language communication and you don’t know where to go, where to report, what’s happening to your child, or where to even find resources,” Holt said. “So crisis communication, accurate communication is critical to this project.”

For more details about the project visit the website here.