Archive for December, 2011

Forbes Under-30 Media List: No Latinos, No Blacks, and No Native Americans

The issue about diversity is burning up the web right now, because journalists of color are upset with the latest Forbes Under-30 Media List.  Not one person is Latino, African American or Native American.  There are a few Asian Americans.

Forbes unveiled its list stating:

“These are the people who aren’t waiting to reinvent the world. FORBES, leaning on the wisdom of its readers and the greatest minds in business, presents the 30 disrupters under 30, in each of 12 fields, making a difference right now.”

Robert Hernandez made me aware of the issue when he posted on Facebook  “Apparently Forbes does not know any Black or Latino journos under 30….let’s introduce them to some.  Please tweet them some names.”

Hernandez is assistant professor at USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism.  He’s also a current board member with the Online News Association and past board member with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Soon after Hernandez put out that call on Twitter; journalists started tweeting suggestions to Forbes.   Alexandra Talty, a spokeswoman with Forbes talked to Richard Prince who blogs about journalists of color for The Maynard Institute.  Talty told  Journal-isms:

“While there are over fifty people of color on our other 30 Under 30 lists, diversity in media remains a national issue, which this list reflects.”


Forbes asked its readers to nominate candidates for the list.  The staff also submitted names. I just can’t believe that when they laid out the photos and bios of the top 30—no one said “wait a minute, what’s missing here?”

I’m wondering who were the judges. Was it a diverse group that included Latinos, African Americans and Native Americans?


An effort has to be made to make everyone feel “included.”  That’s the bottomline.  Today no magazine, newspaper, online news site or television station can afford to lose readers and viewers.  Not when we have so much news at our fingertips.

If  journalists of color are upset that Forbes did  not include one African American, Latino or Native American on its media  list; don’t you think they will let others know?

On a broader look, if people of color do not feel included in a story; they will stop buying your newspaper or magazine or they’ll change the television channel. Forbes thought this golden list of people under 30 was going to be a wonderful way to end 2011, but for journalists of color—it was a slap in the face.


My suggestion to Forbes; DIVERSIFY in all areas.   Your spokeswoman said “diversity in media remains a national issue.”  There you have it!  Do a story on the lack of diversity in the media and start with your magazine.  Take an inside look.

Learn what Forbes is learning today from bad press: Diversity matters!

Rebecca Aguilar is an Emmy Award winning reporter with 30 years in the business. She’s a member of the SPJ Diversity Committee and a board member with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the SPJ Fort Worth Chapter.


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Story Idea: Mexican community celebrates on December 12

One of the objectives of the SPJ Diversity committee is to provide story ideas that are important to our different minority and ethnic communities. We hope by sharing these ideas you will able to find them in your city and pitch them as a story to your news managers.

Today we’re featuring: Our Lady of Guadalupe Day on December 12th. Our blog is by Sandra Gonzalez, an SPJ Diversity Committee member and digital journalist.


If you pass by most Catholic churches in the Latino community on December 12th, you’ll probably see huge crowds. That’s because people will be celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe Day (“Dia de la Virgen Guadalupe”).

I’ll never forget the first time I covered this event as a television reporter in Bakersfield, California. It was very early in the morning before the sun came up, and the church was “standing room only”.

Celebrations and processions will be part of the story if you plan to cover this event. An event that is very important to many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

Here is a procession that went through a Chandler, Arizona neighborhood. You’ll be able to see how this story can be very easy for any reporter to cover, and you don’t have to speak Spanish. It’s visual with a good people element.



Most Catholic churches with large Mexican congregations will most likely be holding masses and celebrations in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s good to know the history behind this event.

According to Mexican legend, the Virgin Mary appeared to an Indian man, Juan Diego in 1531. She had Indian features, with dark hair and eyes, (which is why some refer to her as “La Morenita”/the dark haired one). She asked him to tell the bishop to build a church at the hill of Tepeyac, but the bishop didn’t believe him.

When Diego returned to the Virgin, she told him to go to a hill where it is barren and he would find some beautiful flowers as proof. Juan Diego found roses and gathered them up in his apron (“tilma”) and when he presented the roses to the bishop, instead there was an image of the “Virgen de Guadalupe” on his apron.

To this day that apron is on display in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

That legendary event spurred enormous growth of Catholicism in Mexico, and traditions honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe continue here in the United States.


When I covered this story in Bakersfield, I saw the intense devotion of those who believed in the Virgin of Guadalupe. People fell to their knees in the back of the packed church. Others walked on their knees to the altar in the front. It looked painful, but this was their way of showing love and devotion and that they were humbled before her.


Your best bet is to drive into the Latino community in your city. Even if the Mexican population is small–there will still be a celebration. Who would think you’d find Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration in Appleton, Wisconsin. Here’s the video:


If you can find the story in Appleton, you can find it in your backyard.


    1. Call your Catholic Churches in the Latino community.
    2. Contact the Catholic Diocese; they may know someone you can talk to in the church.
    3. People angle: You can find the people angle when you go to one of these celebrations.

If you don’t get to cover it this year; jot it down in your calendar for 2012. Good luck!

Sandra Gonzalez is a digital journalist for WGNO-TV in New Orleans. She’s a multiple award winner with more than 20 year experience.

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Diversity Committee: George Daniels and Sandy Frost

Our diversity committee is made up of people committed in making a difference in the landscape of journalism.Today we’re introducing you to two more members.  They come from different backgrounds and opposite sides of the country.

George DanielsGeorge Daniels is a faculty member of University of Alabama. He’s also the former chair of the SPJ Journalism Education Committee.

“I joined the SPJ Diversity Committee because diversifying our newsrooms has been a perennial goal of mine as a full-time working journalist and now as a full-time journalism professor. 

In my current position on the journalism faculty at The University, I not only teach two courses that focus on issues of difference or diversity in the media, but I also have made topics/issues of diversity a part of the academic research that I do. 

SPJ cannot be the nation’s largest, most broad-based group of journalists if it does not reflect the breadth of experiences and backgrounds of those who populate our profession.”

Sandy Frost is is online investigative journalist for in Tacoma, Washington.

Sandy Frost“I was asked to serve on the diversity committee because of my work for the Western Washington Pro Chapter. It is my hope to help other journalists understand how words matter, no matter who or what they are covering.

 The concept of diversity extends beyond who we are to include those we love and how we identify. As the proud mother of a transgender son, I hope to bring a certain awareness for equal rights and justice, whether it’s health care, marriage, employment or housing. I also want to contribute to a greater understanding of American Indian issues.

 Recently,  a celebrity mother used the derogatory term ‘Indian giver’ to describe her daughter keeping her expensive wedding ring. Instead of getting angry or demanding an apology, let’s use situations like this as ‘teachable moments,’ educate with compassion and move on. “  


Every year there are changes on committees. We’re just making sure that as members you know who we are and what we stand for. Please feel free to contact us if you have an ideas for our blog.  Stay tuned for the next committee member profiles.

Stop by again!

Rebecca Aguilar an Emmy award winning reporter based in Dallas, TX.  She has 30 years of experience, with 28 in television news.  She’s also a board member with the SPJ-Fort Worth Chapter and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.


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