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Could There Be a Latina on 'The View'?

Recently, the ladies on the The View had an interesting conversation about the flood of immigrant children being housed in detention centers. They didn't say anything that hasn't already been said, but for once, they were saying it with a Latina sitting at the table.

An unusual sight, considering there are currently no Latina hosts on The View. ...Or on The Talk, or on late night shows—or hosting any talk show on network television for that matter. This lack of inclusion of the biggest minority group in the United States is not just troublesome to me, but also baffling.

Chicago-based TV reporter Ana Belaval might just be the one to break the barrier—she recently went on the show to audition for a spot as a new co-host.

"I was extremely excited," she says. "Anytime a Latina gets a chance to be at that level of exposure nationally in a general market show, I think we have to take it."

Although Latinos comprise 17 percent of the population, according to The Latino Media Gap study from Columbia University, "stories about Latinos constitute less than 1 percent of news media coverage, and the majority of these stories feature Latinos as lawbreakers. Moreover, Latino participation in front and behind the camera is extraordinarily low: As of 2013, there were no Latino anchors or executive producers in any of the nation's top news programs. According to available data, only 1.8 percent of news producers are Latinos."

I'm a Latina and I want hear the perspective of someone like me talking about issues I care about. I don't necessarily have to agree with them, but I want the option to hear what they have to say. And I'm not alone.

After Southern California public radio station KPCC hired Latino co-host A Martínez for its popular morning show Take Two, the show's listenership rose 17 percent and donations to the station hit record highs. Specifically, Latino listenership at the station went from 5 to 25 percent, according the study—more proof that Latinos want to hear voices with whom they can identify.

I'm a Latina and I want hear the perspective of someone like me talking about issues I care about. I don't necessarily have to agree with them, but I want the option to hear what they have to say. And I'm not alone.

It appears that The View has also realized that a Latina would be a welcome addition to the show. The show is rumored to be actively looking for a Latina (as well as a conservative) to round out the cast. According to Mirasol Enriquez, a research scholar at UCLA's Center for the Study of Women, the show would be wise to address an underserved audience.

Advertisers are struggling to reach the growing number of bilingual and bicultural Latinos. And not just that, Latinos are appealing to people across all demographics. Find the right person to fill the chair at The View and you just might find a whole new audience for a show that isn't as popular as it once was.

"Adding a Latina co-host to The View could mean attracting a new, underserved population without alienating the mainstream," she said in an email interview. "In other words, The View may finally be willing to take a risk on a Latina co-host in order to reach the widest mass audience possible, Latinas/os included."

Latinas are a strong part of this country yet "we have no seat at the table of public opinion," Belaval says. She would bring a perspective to The View not commonly seen.

"I'm not a Sofia Vergara or an Eva Longoria. I'm a journalist." And one who has had a groundbreaking turn as the "Around Town" reporter for Chicago's WGN Morning News. She says she's been able to change the perception from the "Latina Around Town" to "Ana Around Town."

The more people who see Latinas in positive roles in news and on television, the more it will seem commonplace and the more opportunities will arise from it. The View hosts often argue political issues and a new host may provide a perspective not seen before, says Enriquez.

"I'm not a Sofia Vergara or an Eva Longoria. I'm a journalist," says Belaval, about the perspective she would bring to The View.

"A Latina co-host, liberal or conservative, has the potential to introduce issues that are of importance to the Latina/o community into the political discourse among female viewers," adds Enriquez. "Furthermore, her presence may encourage greater political participation among Latinas who begin or may already be watching the show."

Belaval does not yet know if she got the job, but she wonders if she's what the show was looking for. She didn't raise her voice or talk over the other hosts, a staple move of other hosts on the show.

But even so, it was great to see her there and hopefully more shows will get the message that they need to hire more Latinas—and that it's up to us to help get them there.

"It's our responsibility as a community to educate our women, to give [them] self-confidence and to give them the tools to break barriers and make it to the table," Belaval says.

Explore More: mamá a mamá, Latina Mom
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