Texas Tech project to combat misinformation in Hispanic communities

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 sources of information compared 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’s not a lot of information in Spanish,” Holt said.

The lack of Spanish resources plays a large role in the communities’ perception of health.

“We’ve heard from people that they get most of their information from social media, particularly Facebook,” Holt said. “Many of them don’t have access to local news at home or they only hear what their family members are telling them.”

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

“He also knew a 23-year-old who died because he believed the COVID-19 vaccine was bad for him. And so he decided not to get vaccinated,” Holt said.

Holt said the first step in combating misinformation is to increase representation.

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

Along with Holt, Kent Wilkinson, professor at the College of Media & Communication, and Ryan Litsey, associate dean of user-centric services at Texas Tech University Libraries, all take it upon themselves to solve this problem.

“We will take this information and start production. So that’s print, so TV, radio, we’re looking at social media, and we’re going to produce Spanish-language content with English reinforcement,” Holt said.

This representation is also indispensable in crisis communication. She gave an example of the recent Uvalde shooting.

“The information in English is confusing but imagine if your child were in this building and you don’t speak English and you don’t get any communication in Spanish and you don’t know where to go, where to report anything with happens to your kid or where you can even find resources,” Holt said. “Crisis communication, so accurate communication, is critical to this project.”

You can find more information about the project at website here.

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