University of Westminster flag

About this seminar

This talk looks critically into the media reception of the Alliance for Progress aimed to establish economic cooperation between the U.S. and Latin America. Initiated in 1961 by John F. Kennedy, it was using media with the purpose of selling an idea of development – progress, freedom and modernization – against what was perceived as an imminent communist menace in the region. Kennedy´s administration fully understood the relevance of managing public perceptions by shaping news media accounts of the policy’s efforts. Nonetheless, domestic and foreign media did not follow suit exactly as expected.

A historical study of documents from the John F. Kennedy Library offers unique insight into media narratives and explains why development policy afterwards became increasingly mediatized. The talk is based on an archive examination of historical papers and documents, which was made possible thanks to a Theodore C. Sorensen Fellowship from the John F. Kennedy Library. 

About the speaker

Jairo Lugo-Ocando, PhD is an Associated Professor at the University of Leeds. His main areas of research are poverty, development and the news media and, the use of statistics in news reporting.He is author of several books including The Media in Latin America (Open University/ McGraw Hill), Blaming the Victim: How Global Journalism Fails Those in Poverty (Pluto Press) and more recently, Developing News: Global Journalism and the Coverage of 'Third World' Development (Routledge, 2017) among other many academic journal articles and book chapters.

Before becoming an academic, Dr Lugo-Ocando worked as a journalist, correspondent and news editor for a variety of news outlets in Latin America and the USA. He supports both Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox but does not endorse its owners.