UPDATE, October 25, 2012: As I suspected, although the vast majority of private and public responses I have received for this piece has been very positive, I have also been criticized by some for linking to some of the blog posts that didn't clearly reveal that what they were writing was a sponsored post. Since my original intent was to just start a dialogue about the bigger issues here (Latino stereotypes in media and how influential blogs need to be more responsible) and not call out these blogs, I have removed the links of the blog posts here. This is not what this is all about. To those blogs who got upset at me, my apologies. I am just wishing for a more open dialogue about this, and that is why I wrote the following piece on my personal blog here. Thanks.
I normally do don't video blogs, but I felt I had to do one after contributing to the Rebeldes MundoFox piece about how its primetime programming is only perpetuating the same old Latino stereotypes (criminals and drug kingpins) in the name of new "original" programming. I also felt pretty strongly that there are way too many Latino blogs out there that are writing sponsored reviews about MundoFox's new "CORAZONES BLINDADOS" and promoting a cop show from Colombia as a potential crossover Latino hit with US Latino viewers. I find it hard to believe that these blogs are being honest and sincere in their reviews, and quite frankly, I think it is a mistake to mislead readers.
Instead of writing more about this issue, I shared my thoughts via video.
Now, I could list the blogs and show examples of how the content that is being shared is extremely similar across different posts, but I won't. I understand that some brands and blogs will always follow this rather mediocre (and some would say, unethical) practice. There is always a constant pressure to monetize your blogs, and we get that, but at what price is money more important that your integrity?
The issue is that if bloggers allow for brands to take over their blogs, then where do the independent voices go?
Why is there this feeling that do we as bloggers NEED brands? We don't need brands. Brands need US.
We need to challenge brands, tell them to raise the bar, and if we find instances where there are missing the market reality, let's not use our platform to just become bloggers that say YES to these mistakes. In the case of MundoFox, the bloggers who one day are bemoaning Latino stereotypes in media but are now pushing these very same stereotypes because a brand is feeding them content need to realize that this practice comes across as forced and unprofessional. We have a responsibility to educate our readers and also educate brands.
Step up the game and change the paradigm. Bigger things can be achieved once we all decide to not settle for mediocrity.
Julio (Julito) Ricardo Varela (@julito77 on Twitter) founded LatinoRebels.com (part of Latino Rebels, LLC) in May, 2011 and proceeded to open it up to about 20 like-minded Rebeldes. His personal blog, juliorvarela.com, has been active since 2008 and is widely read in Puerto Rico and beyond. He pens columns on LR regularly. This year, Julito represented the Rebeldes on CBS' Face the Nation, NPR, Univision, Forbes, and The New York Times.