Texas Tech Project to Combat Misinformation in Hispanic Communities

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) — Three Texas Tech faculty members are trying to combat misinformation and disinformation among the Hispanic population. They try to understand why the Hispanic community lacks so many information resources 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 growing Latin American population.

“And there’s not a lot of information in Spanish there,” Holt said.

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

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

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

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

Holt said the first step toward tackling misinformation is to increase representation.

“So we need to have more Latinos more Hispanos. And again, this 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 this message.

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

“We will take this information and we will go into production. So it’s print circulation, which is, you know, TV, radio, we’re looking at social media, and we’re going to produce content in Spanish with English reinforcements,” Holt said.

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

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

For more details on the project, visit the website here.

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