Honduras is a country where distrust in journalism and the media is a normality. After a series of political events in the year 2009 that led to the first coup d’état in Central America since the cold war, the condition of the disbelief in the media had been severely aggravated. Nevertheless, a novel news channel, HCH (Talk How You Speak) has managed as of recent years to position itself among the top watched news programs in the country and have branded themselves as “the voice of the people”. With innovative practices such as the minimizing of gatekeeping by allowing for audience to have direct access to the news anchors, including religion as a pillar of their news style, solving societal issues live on television and other differentiative practices, HCH has also been branded by many as a populist channel that utilizes sensationalism to appeal to the masses. As HCH’s founder denies these claims, it becomes clear the existence of a tension between the claim of HCH being a socially inclusive channel and the criticism that places them as a medium with a populist agenda. In socio-cultural context where distrust in the media is the norm, the case of the HCH Morning Show provides for a fascinating study into how it has contributed to opening a space where the working class feel heard and recognized and to comprehend the formula that has helped HCH rise to prominence, while at the same time, has faced strong criticism. The research question posed into trying to understand this phenomenon better is the following: In a time of distrust in the news media, how could HCH rise to become the most popular TV news program in Honduras? For the analysis, a full transcript of the 11 episodes containing the most views on the channels official Facebook page has been produced. Through the implementation of thematic analysis and discourse analysis as suggested by Tonkiss (1998) and visual analysis, and while utilizing the concepts of Populism, Populist religion, inclusive communication and Othering, an in-depth analysis of the text has been done. The findings of the analysis show that the HCH Morning Show has adopted both elements of populist media, sensationalists practices as well as the implementation of the counter-narratives posed by KrumerNevo & Benjamin (2010) to minimize Othering of the working class showing that all of these ideals can co-exist to an extent. These elements have played a prominent role in the success of the channel. The dichotomy of these theories and practices highlights tensions and contradictions within the practices of HCH as well. With these findings, this case study delivers a relevant contribution not only to inclusive communication and populist media studies, but also sheds light on how populist religion is a key theme that is spread through the text.

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Awad, I.
Media, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Reyes Villalta, Vienna. (2020, June 29). The rise of the ‘voice of the people’: Social inclusiveness versus a populist agenda in Honduras’ first 24/7 news channel ‘Hable Como Habla’. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/55361