University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) faculty member Christopher Chávez’s interest in the changing audiences and demographics of the television industry inspired him to write the book Reinventing the Latino Television Viewer: Language, Ideology, and Practice, an academic study of the television industry.
The book examines how the relationship between language, power and industry practice is reshaping the very concept of Hispanic television. As established mainstream networks enter the Hispanic television space, they redefine the Latino audience. Chávez looks at the integration of English into Hispanic television — and how it can lead to the suppression of Latino forms of speech — while challenging the legitimacy of Spanish as the preferred language of United States Latinos.
“I was interested in how television networks were adapting to audience that was changing demographically,” says Chávez. “As Latinos have become an increasingly important part of the television audience, established players like Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom have established Latino networks of their own. In the process, they are redefining the Latino audience in ways that reflect their own sensibilities and economic interests.”
Chávez specializes in globalization, media and culture. He is the co-editor of Identity: Beyond Tradition and McWorld Neoliberalism and his work has appeared in peer-reviewed journals including Consumption, Markets and Culture, International Journal of Communication and Critical Studies in Media Communication. Chávez also received the University of Oregon’s 2015 Early Career Award in Research Excellence.
Story by Nicole Rideout ’16