Diversity scholar presents on hate speech, ethics in media

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Chon Noriega, a renowned UCLA professor, spoke on the subject of hate speech in broadcast media and online social networks during two days of lectures and workshops as part of ASU's Spring 2012 Diversity Scholars Series. (Chloe Brooks/DD)

By Alicia Canales and Daniel Zayas

With the advent of qualitative content analysis in mass media, one UCLA professor is confronting the growing problem of hate speech on the radio, likening it to Nazi Germany and African genocides.

Chon Noriega, a professor in the UCLA Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, director of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center and adjunct curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, spoke to faculty, support staff and students on the subject of hate speech in the media and on social networks during his visit to the Walter Cronkite School.

ASU’s Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University, Schools of Letters and Sciences and the School of Transborder Studies hosted Noriega’s presentation and workshops at the Cronkite School on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of their Spring 2012 Diversity Scholars Series.

Noriega’s Tuesday presentation was on the topic of hate speech in conservative talk radio, drawing attention from community members who also attended. In his team’s six-week study monitoring three conservative radio shows broadcast in Los Angeles, Noriega showed staggering amounts of references against vulnerable groups on his charts, such as Latino and lower-class citizen communities, as well as their supporters. Lou Dobbs, Savage Nation, and John and Ken made up the primary study, with 144 discriminative messages among them.

The solution to this growing problem, Noriega said, is to fight hate speech with qualitative scientific investigation on its development, so we have more than unsubstantiated attacks on vulnerable communities to understand who says what.

Regarding journalism ethics, Noriega pointed out the various discrepancies including their discriminatory speech in the talk show’s claims as quality journalism, as the statements the show hosts made were largely unsubstantiated claims.

“I would personally call them entertainers,” Noriega said. “But if they claim themselves as journalists, we need to place that claim in the journalism framework and see where they stand.”

During the breakout session on Wednesday, Noriega discussed diversity within a university with 22 audience members. He talked about the importance of supporting students in the university and showing them resources that can help them with their education. He said universities should push diversity but teach how things can be different.

“I think part of the job of the faculty is to educate students to seek help where you can get help,” Noriega said, emphasizing the importance of leadership within an educational institution.

He said universities need to build a good website, create a Facebook page and have a YouTube channel, all with “content that engages at a human level.”

Noriega also talked about the importance of mentors for students. Mentors should support students and also present their “CV of failure” to show students, he said, citing an example where one of his mentors had had a fellowship but had been denied to four.

Rhoshawndra Carnes, coordinator in Cronkite’s Educational Outreach and Student Services, said the small audience led to a greater connection with the speaker.

“I thought it had good information that hit on a whole bunch of different points,” she said. “I liked the energy, and (the conversation) was intimate. I thought he had some key points about mentorship.”

Amber Hendrix, an intern for ASU’s Office of Institution Inclusion, said the workshop led to some great ideas such as using social media as a tool for reaching out to students.

“It’s interesting hearing the different perspectives, especially this one on student activity from the faculty standpoint,” she said.

Contact the reporters at amcanale@asu.edu and dmzayas@asu.edu