Media diversity and human capabilities: what happens when media omits or distorts whole groups of people?
Cruz Sandoval, Loren de Montserrat (2016). 'Media diversity and human capabilities: what happens when media omits or distorts whole groups of people?' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.
This policy paper will discuss the impact of different levels of media diversity over the human capabilities’ set of an immigrant Hispanic community in the United States. The paper will address the specific case of an immigrant community that is served by a Diplomatic Representation in California in order to assess in what extent their capability sets are affected by different levels of diversity in media, which media have the most impact (positive or negative) in their capabilities and the age group that is most sensitive to media diversity variables. Different research (Popper, van Cuilenburg, Locksley, among others.) highlights that diversity in media is important for freedom, good governance, representation and different ideas. Nevertheless, this research will explore the relevance of media diversity for an immigrant community. Could lack of media diversity today cut out the development of capabilities?
On the one hand, the author will develop a qualitative methodology based on interviews, surveys and an interpretative method to gain an understanding of the link between media diversity and human capability sets of this particular population. On the other hand, the quantitative methodology will evaluate the quantifiable impact of media diversity on the human capabilities of this group.
In the first part, the article will detail the capability - theoretical background that sustains the research. It will take into account Debraj Ray’s work, which suggests that the aspirations of a person are also derived from the observation of the functionings of people who they perceive closer. Supported by Amartya Sen’s vast legacy, the research remarks the positive impact on agency levels caused (to a certain degree) by the reinforcement of people’s beliefs that certain functionings can be achieved by them. Through different media the population may also set an image of the life that they value the most and that they pursue. Finally, taking into account Martha Nussbaum’s list of capabilities, the research will focus on them in order to proceed to the assessment in the third section.
The second section will elaborate on media diversity. First, it will define diversity in media taking into account the inclusiveness of minorities and women in the content of the programming (what people see and hear), and the lesser extent to which minorities are represented as a stereotypes or caricatured in what people see and hear (4). Using this definition, the main TV channels and radio stations, newspapers and social networks consumed by the public of the circumscription of the Diplomatic Representation in California will be ranked from the most diverse to the less diverse by developing a scale to measure Media Diversity. Finally, the ranked media will be separated in three different categories: high diversity, medium diversity, low diversity.
The third section will assess the impact of media diversity on the human capabilities of the Mexican immigrant community served by a Diplomatic Representation in California. First, taking into account Martha Nussbaum’s minimum list of capabilities, the research develops a list of questions to ask to the target population of this research in order to identify the most important capabilities for the target group. Then, the article will develop a qualitative and quantitative method to measure the impact of the the three media diversity categories over the ranked list of capabilities of the immigrant community. The evaluation will proceed to identify what capabilities receive the most and the less impact from the three media diversity categories, and what age groups are mostly affected by the three groups of media diversity.
The final remarks section will present the initial results of this research that aims to calibrate better foreign policies to promote the development of communities living abroad, particularly in this area of the US. This section will also include a brief reflection on the impact of traditional media (TV, radio, newspapers) and the new technologies (social networks) over our welfare levels.
 Ray, D. (2003, March 1). Aspirations, Poverty and Economic Change. Retrieved January 15, 2015, from http://www.econ.nyu.edu/user/debraj/Papers/povasp01.pdf
 Amartya Sen in Conradie, I. and Ingrid Robeyns. (2013, September 6). Aspirations and Human Development Interventions.Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 559-580.
 Conradie, I. and Ingrid Robeyns. (2013, September 6). Aspirations and Human Development Interventions.Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 559-580.
 The leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. (NA). What is media diversity. Retrieved march 1st, 2016 from: http://www.civilrights.org/about/?referrer=http://www.civilrights.org/action_center/media-diversity/faq.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/?referrer=http://www.civilrights.org/action_center/media-diversity/faq.html