Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


How can journalists cover Voter ID laws this election?

VoteA major federal voting rights case in North Carolina, in which state legislation required voters to produce photo identification and follow other rules disproportionately affecting minority groups, was blocked by a federal appeals court on July 29.

The decision by the Richmond, Va.-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals also reinstates an additional week of voting and appears to pave the way for more groups to vote in this year’s presidential contest.

It was the third ruling in less than two weeks against voter ID laws with the court decisions affecting Texas and Wisconsin.

These rulings give journalists an opportunity to determine whether their states have similar laws, which can be determined at the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Also, the Associated Press just released a story taking a look at why voting rights matters.

Since Republican-controlled legislatures passed the laws, journalists can ask Democrats if they are going to seek changes. Democrats in Tennessee recently did this with U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville leading the charge.

The League of Women Voters is another resource.

At EIJ14 in Orlando, the Florida League was represented at a program put together by the SPJ Diversity Committee. The North Carolina law was one of several items. At the time, then-Diversity Chair April Bethea was at the Charlotte Observer and keeping abreast of the court fight. Sandra Gonzalez, a Diversity Committee member then at KSNV-TV in Las Vegas, was the moderator. There also was a local elections administrator.

This is speculative, but my guess some legislatures may try to figure out a way to continue to require some form of identification beyond registration.

At the EIJ14 meeting, Charley Williams of the Florida League provided a hand out with set of questions from the National League of Women Voters, that he said journalists should ask elected officials about photo ID.

These questions apply today and are repeated here:

  1. Election Day voter turnout has been historically low across the country—why introduce further restrictions on voting right now? How many eligible individuals in (STATE) do not currently possess the documentation that would be required under the law?
  2. What evidence do we have the individuals have shown fraudulent identification at the polls in this state? Why is this law necessary?
  3. What forms of ID will be accepted under the new law? For example, will student IDS be accepted? Will a voter have to show a photo ID, or can they use other forms of ID, such as a recent utility bill?

 

Georgiana Vines is a political columnist at the News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tenn. She is currently a member of the Diversity Committee as well as a member of the League of Women Voters of Knoxville-Knox County.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Orlando: As we report on another crisis, let’s remember our ethics, our humanity and our health

I tossed and turned all night. Maybe it was that latte macchiato I ordered that was out of character at night for me, but on two hours of sleep, I just got out of bed early Sunday morning to deal with the restlessness. And like many journalists I reached for the phone that charged overnight.

My mouth dropped!

It happened again. Another mass shooting, but this was different. The number was so high. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around that number: 50. Could that be right? I had to turn on my TV, and I was paralyzed in front of that screen all morning long.

I know this has become commonplace for our nation, but it shouldn’t, and this was the worst.

My experience with a mass shooting doesn’t compare in scope, but in 1999, only months after the Columbine shooting in Colorado, a gunman entered a church in Fort Worth, Texas and took the lives of seven people, then killed himself. I covered that story for days on end, as a radio reporter. I was even filing reports for the BBC.

Honoring the shooting victims from September 1999 in Fort Worth, TX (Sandra Gonzalez)

Honoring the shooting victims from September 1999 in Fort Worth, TX
(Sandra Gonzalez)

17 years later, feels like yesterday, as I see reporters reflect their thoughts, now on social media.

I am proud of so many of my colleagues for their compassion, humanity and professionalism as they are thrust into this chaos.

Hate is hate, whether it is directed at religion, or at sexual orientation. Now so many lives are lost, and a city is devastated. Our nation is devastated.

In fact, I’m devastated. Not only do I belong to the Society of the Professional Journalists, I am a member of the National Association Hispanic Journalists. NAHJ President Mekahlo Medina released news that one of our members, Jonathan Camuy, was one of the many victims killed in the shooting spree inside the Pulse nightclub. Our organization mourns his death.

NAHJ Mourns Loss of One of its Own

It has been a rough to hear the stories, see the tears, and it hits home to me. It was ‘Latin night’ at the club. Many of these young murder victims were Latinos. Their names and faces have been grouped together on internet, scrolled down on the television screen, and my heart has just stopped while seeing the names, hearing the names, and seeing their faces.

As journalists, we will meet the families, the friends, and we will tell incredible stories, and cover so many angles from heroism, to funerals, to gun control, to terrorism, and the list will grow.

Let’s remember our ethics, our humanity, and our health as we throw our lives into another major crisis.

Here are some things to consider while covering the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando:
-Covering the LGBT community: an open letter from NLGJA, the Association of LGBT Journalists.

Tips for Journalists Covering Trauma by Kristen Hare

The Diversity Style Guide from the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism

Sandra Gonzalez

Sandra Gonzalez is a member of the SPJ Diversity Committee and President of the SPJ Las Vegas Chapter.

Sandra has been reporter for 26 years, currently based in Las Vegas, NV
@SandraGonzalez2  sandragonzalezthereporter@gmail.com

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Another reminder to choose our words carefully

By Georgiana Vines, diversity committee vice chair

The Dec. 23 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review has an article  that no clear consensus has yet emerged in the news media on how to describe immigrants to the U.S. who are not here legally. The story by Rui Kaneya, CJR’s correspondent for Illinois and Indiana, is a reminder that news reporters and editors need to think about terms they are using.

Georgiana Vines

Georgiana Vines

Here is some of what he reported:

“As style manual changes go, it was big news. ‘Illegal immigrant,’ a phrase long used for people living in the country without authorization, was no longer ‘sanctioned’ in Associated Press copy, the wire service declared in April 2013. Its influential Stylebook was updated to read, in part: Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. The change was part of a broader effort to avoid ‘labeling people,’ said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor, but the move seemed clearly a concession to advocates for immigrants who argued it was offensive to describe a person or group of people as ‘illegal.’ Within weeks, major newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today followed AP’s lead and abandoned the phrase, and it seemed likely more would follow. The Stylebook ‘is the last word on journalistic practice, so it’s particularly important for the AP to set this standard,’ Rinku Sen, publisher of the website Colorlines, which had coordinated a campaign to ‘Drop the I-Word,’ said at the time. ‘This should put the debate to rest.’ ”

 

Kaneya’s research shows that “illegal immigrant” hasn’t been banned and even has cropped up in AP copy despite the directive. Again from Kaneya’s story: “ ‘Alas, we are not perfect,’ said Paul Colford, an AP spokesman. Asked about a couple of these stories, he described them as ‘lapses from AP style.’”

He found Gannett allows local autonomy on matters of sensitivity with one paper using “undocumented” or “unauthorized” and finally “illegal immigrants.”

Kaneya summarizes that it’s not surprising that “illegal immigrant” lingers even after the shift in AP style. “Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor, argued in its favor in 2012, writing that it was “clear and accurate,” while the alternatives were not,” he wrote.

All of this is a reminder that we are supposed to choose our words carefully whether it’s describing someone from another country and how they got to the U.S. or we’re writing about a person who has developmental disorders. Links to a number of these discussions can be found in the Diversity Style Guides Roundup at http://www.spj.org/divws2.asp.

Read the CJR article, ‘Illegal,’ ‘undocumented,’ or something else? No clear consensus yet” at http://bit.ly/1Hh22R7

Georgiana Vines is vice chair of the SPJ Diversity Committee and a retired associate editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Health Affects All Of Us: Covering the Affordable Care Act

A little over a year ago, I didn’t know much about health insurance, except that I had it. Well that all changed when I was assigned to cover the Affordable Care Act in 2013.

In Nevada, we have a state based exchange, and our state figures showed many Nevadans didn’t have health insurance, especially in the Latino community.

When the insurance came online through the exchange, the learning process started rolling.

Much like the reports we heard about healthcare.gov, there were also problems in enrolling through the Nevada exchange Nevada Health Link. The process moved forward, and people were enrolled, but not as many as projected.

There lies a situation yet to be uncovered. For those in communities across the country who chose not to enroll, or missed the deadlines, penalties are coming. It will show up when people start filing their taxes.

Courtesy: clipartbest.com

For those journalists assigned to cover the ACA or health insurance, the stories are numerous. It’s not too late to start, as open enrollment begins its second year.

Lower income communities will be impacted greatly by the new federal law requiring all Americans to have health insurance. Whether they buy a plan through the exchange in their state, or qualify for Medicaid, they must enroll.

To learn more about insurance issues, find the navigators, or insurance brokers in your communities. They can guide you to further understand the intricacies.

What are the efforts being done to disseminate this information in other languages? In Nevada, there was great need to explain and to help people enroll who speak Spanish.

This additional expense will impact families’ budgets, another factor to consider in decisions to enroll or not. Hospitals and doctors offices will also be impacted by the new influx of patients who are now insured.

RcALkn5cL

Courtesy: clipartbest.com

The issue is not without controversy. Whether people believe mandated affordable insurance is a dream come true, or is a bad idea, it’s still in effect.

Those involved with providing the insurance through the federal government, or through the individual states that wanted to operate their own exchanges, now have at least one year of experience under their belts.

With glitches, complications, and other frustrations that evolved during the first year of enrollment, government insurance leaders, and insurance carriers are hoping for a smoother ride with this second year rolling out.
Covering this activity has become a new beat in newsrooms and if your newsroom hasn’t designated a reporter to this topic, this would be a great beat to grab. The impact of insurance on the community is far-reaching, and the stories are numerous. Health affects all of us, and this is an arena that will continue to grow.

Sandra Gonzalez

Sandra Gonzalez

 

Sandra Gonzalez is former SPJ Diversity Committee Chair, and is a general assignment reporter at KSNV-TV in Las Vegas.

@SandraGonzalez2

sandragonzalezthereporter@gmail.com

 

 

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Lessons from Ferguson: Earning the public’s trust

Diversity Toolbox column reprinted from the September/October edition of Quill. Read the full issue at http://www.spj.org/quill.asp

 

By Sally Lehrman

Let’s face it: The moment news gatherers take on a story that turns on racial justice, most of them contend with a severe lack of trust. Americans are only half convinced that the news media are ever worth their confidence, according to survey data. For communities of color, the reliability, credibility and even objectivity of the news are especially in question because of a troubled track record of stereotyping and neglect.

So it was in Ferguson, Mo., as journalists struggled to tell the story of the community uprising after unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer. Reporters, photographers and producers faced the fundamental challenge of all journalism: earning the trust of both sources and audiences.

Traditional media took days to recognize the significance of the events unfolding over the first few days after Brown’s death. But Twitter was afire with the #Ferguson hashtag and #IfTheyGunnedMeDown commentary on media portrayals of black victims. To many Twitter users it seemed a repeat of media inattention in the wake of the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin, also black, unarmed and a teen, in Florida by a neighborhood vigilante who has identified as both white and Hispanic.

In both cases, the black American community at the heart of the story turned to social media to call attention to the incident and the issues they felt needed airing. St. Louis alderman Antonio French, who had already been tweeting regularly about social concerns in St. Louis, walked among the Ferguson protestors, urged calm and showed armored vehicles confronting community members in his posts on Twitter and Vine. Reporters, police officers and neighborhood leaders soon followed suit with their own version of events.

True enough, Twitter users can choose to follow only those with whom they agree. But more importantly, some commentators propose that people across the racial spectrum turn to Twitter because they see the news media as out of touch.

Twitter may win people’s trust because they can be certain they will hear the perspectives of members of their own communities. They can join in debate. They can relate to the ideas expressed and the voices that tell the story.

In Ferguson, reporters faced a chaotic situation coupled with police hostility. Yet the results of their efforts often seemed superficial. Ricardo Torres, a Milwaukee-based freelance journalist, compared much of the work to weather reporting. Journalists described the social climate as if it were nature on the move, he said, with “tensions building” and the “police on edge.” Many of them missed the opportunity to provide a three-dimensional picture of the outpouring of anger and concern.

What forces had shaped it? What was the story of the community in which it happened? What was the broader social context in which we all play a role?

In an interview, Elise Hu, part of the NPR team that reported from Ferguson, offered some tips on how to prepare for a fair, thorough and accurate telling of such a volatile moment. Some of her suggestions included:

Work With a Diverse Team

The NPR crew included a Latina, an African-American man and woman, an Asian woman and a white man. “It opened some doors,” Hu said. The team also worked closely with the local St. Louis member station, which provided knowledge about the local community, its history and current concerns.

Do your Homework on Social Issues Surrounding Race and Class

Some people think that we all live within society, so we’re all somehow experts on social issues. The NPR team had spent more than a year reporting comprehensively on the complexities of race, identity and culture. “We had laid all that groundwork of understanding race,” Hu said. As a result, they knew how to talk about difficult topics and to reach beyond the action on the streets.

Show the Diversity of the Community you are Covering

Many audiences around the country saw only three blocks of Ferguson over and over, perpetually in conflict and distress. Hu said her team felt it was important to show what else was going on. Hu did stories like the one that described the 150 area teachers who came out to clean up the streets. Such work helped show the people of Ferguson as more than caricatures of angry disadvantaged Americans.

Meet Your Audiences Where They Are

Ferguson news made NPR’s “All Things Considered” on a regular basis, but Hu said she also made sure to communicate real-time on Twitter because she knew that’s where the community was talking. And despite her expectations, she met a lot of young black and Hispanic men who told her they loved NPR. She learned something from those conversations.

“We shouldn’t use the fact that we think our audience is white to do a certain kind of story, because our emerging audience is very different,” she said. Hu was speaking about public radio, but her advice holds across the board.

Sally Lehrman is the Senior Fellow for Journalism Ethics at the Markkula Center. She is an independent journalist who reports on science and social issues.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Make Your Call on the Washington Football Team Name

american-football-151765_150The NFL’s Washington Redskins have been around since 1932. The team’s nickname has been discussed, disputed and disparaged for a long time as well. In writing this column, I debated whether to use it.

In mid-June, the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office announced that it was tearing up the team’s trademark registration, finding that it was “disparaging to Native Americans” and thus could no longer be given trademark protection.

Is avoiding the term advocacy?

Team owner Daniel Snyder is on the record saying he will never change the team’s name and fans and supporters – including some Native Americans – embrace the name. Journalists and media outlets have taken a stand on the issue themselves.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, the Washington Post’s Christine Brennan and NBC’s Bob Costas are some of the most prominent journalists who have called for a name change. On the other side, Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly has voiced support for the name.

The Pew Research Center reported last year that 76 journalists and news outlets such as The Oregonian (whose policy dates back to 1992), the San Francisco Chronicle, Slate and the New Republic have decided not to use the nickname. Poynter recently compiled its own list.

But is this kind of advocacy media outlets should be taking? Some argue that media outlets have always set a limit on terms that they consider offensive to readers, viewers and listeners. For example, refusal to use the n-word is nearly universal in American news media.

Others, though, argue that the term has long been part of the American lexicon, used by some Native Americans themselves. Changing it, they say, would simply give in to the “politically correct” police.

And yet opposition to the name from such organizations as the National Congress of American Indians and the Oneida Nation continues to grow – and is becoming more difficult for the news media to ignore.

If it offends, stop using it

So how should media outlets handle the Washington mascot controversy?

Former Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial page editor Mark Trahant, who is now the Atwood Journalism chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage, said it should be an easy call – if it offends, stop using it.

“With Washington you don’t have to go beyond the dictionary; (the) word is defined as a slur,” said Trahant, a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock tribe, in an interview via social media. “I remember repeating the R-word as a kid, early 60s. My dad told me that’s a word we don’t use. One test for journalists: Would you use the word in a community of Natives where you are not known? If no, then keep it out of sports pages.”

A Native American Studies professor and former journalism professor, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, wrote in an email that she believes the media’s role is to be a leader on the issue.

“What should media outlets do? The right thing,” she said. “I can’t believe there’s an editor alive who doesn’t know this term is offensive to many and for good reasons, both historic and contemporary. Hasn’t the public often relied on the media to set the moral high bar, provide guidance for ethical, responsible behavior and decision-making? Why stop short now?”

At the very least, every newsroom should have a brutally honest discussion about the name. More importantly – journalists must get beyond their comfort zone, take a stand and make a call whether or not to use the term.


Clyde Hughes is a freelance journalist based in Lafayette, Indiana, who wrote many years for the Toledo Blade. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites around the country and taught courses on covering minorities in the media and media ethics as an adjunct professor.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Donald Sterling: Not Just an Angel vs. Devil Story

There’s a lot that can be said of the saga involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. While the subject is a target-rich environment for news articles on diversity, sometimes we can get so homed in on the bad guy/good guy aspect that we miss other credible angles.

I attended a reporting on race workshop at the Poynter Institute in 2000 run by Keith Woods, who is now the vice president for diversity in news and operations at National Public Radio. One of the numerous takeaways I remember was that we as reporters often get locked into what he called “angel vs. devil” scenarios when reporting on race.

Reach for Complexity
The person making the perceived racial comment or taking the action is seen as evil, thus everything that person does or has done is viewed through that lens. Likewise, the victim of the perceived racial slight is almost always viewed more sympathetically, and is given a more supportive treatment. Woods tried to get us to step away from that paradigm and look at people involved in racial conflicts in all of their complexities.

That does not mean that Donald Sterling is not worthy of the critical reporting he has received. But reporters should not shy away from the complexities of the story. How does person who through his own words has such a negative view of African-Americans hire such a successful and strong-willed black coach as Doc Rivers? Or, on a more personal level, date a multiracial woman like V. Stiviano?

Likewise, how do we as reporters not critically look at Stiviano’s motives in recording Sterling?

Fresh angles on mental health, ethics

And how does our assessment of Sterling’s comments change if the “mentally incompetent” label sticks?

The initial reporting on the Sterling case brought up his contributions to the local branch of the NAACP and how the group had planned to give him a lifetime achievement award. I had a debate with other journalists on Facebook about this. Some believed the NAACP should never have taken money from Sterling. Others said fundraising is so difficult, especially for African-American and civil rights organizations, that Sterling’s generosity could be considered a “sin tax” and that the NAACP should have gladly accepted it.

That’s just one example of numerous angles that can be mined from the Sterling saga without getting into the “he said, she said” melodrama of the original story. At times we get so caught up in the tawdry details of the “angels vs. devils” that we miss other worthy topics.


Clyde Hughes is a freelance journalist based in Lafayette, Indiana, who wrote many years for the Toledo Blade. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites around the country and taught courses on covering minorities in the media and media ethics as an adjunct professor.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Telling their own stories: How two Native journalists got past gloomy health statistics to find stories of resiliency

Teresa Trumbly Lamsam, who founded Wellbound Storytellers

Teresa Trumbly Lamsam, who founded Wellbound Storytellers

Who’s News is inviting top journalists and journalism educators to share their thoughts on inclusion in the news. Here, Teresa Trumbly Lamsam explains why two Native American journalists decided to find a way to improve health coverage.

Omaha, NE – American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) have the poorest health status in the US and a lower life expectancy, including a higher rate (1.6 times non-Hispanic White population) of infant mortality.

AIANs also endure high levels of suicide and mental health concerns, obesity, diabetes, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, liver disease, and hepatitis.

As an American Indian journalist, educator, and tribal member, I was acquainted with the statistics. I could even put names and faces to many of those numbers.

The statistics may paint an accurate, revealing and even necessary picture of AIANs as the sickest people in the country. But after year after year of reporting and reading them, I became jaded about American Indian health news and maybe a little fatalistic.

I reached the “whatever” point. That point where you are ready to walk away and tell the status quo to have at it. But a reality check was right around the corner.

Rhonda pic

Rhonda LeValdo, former NAJA president, producer and host of “Native Spirit” radio show at KKFI 90.1 FM

As if on cue, my own health status became an issue, and given that my personality is not a good fit with cynicism, I shucked the jaded attitude and started looking for solutions. That search led me to Native journalist Rhonda LeValdo, who at the time was president of the Native American Journalists Association.

Turns out, health was on the top of her mind too, both personally and professionally. She was grieving the loss of family members to diabetes complications, and as a parent, determined that diabetes would not claim her or her children.

First we commiserated over the sad state of health reporting for American Indians in mainstream and tribal media. However, criticism wasn’t really doing it for us. We wanted to make a difference in news reporting – a difference that we hoped would also translate to better health in Native communities.

If teary eyes and passionate rhetoric could make a difference, we were well on our way. We left our meeting with a pledge to come up with an idea. Any idea would do because we were desperate to do something, even if it fell flat.

Wellbound ScreenshotSoon after I emailed LeValdo and suggested that we just blog about our own health journeys and recruit other Native journalists to join us. Within the first week of announcing the blog, American Indians who had read about Wellbound Storytellers were emailing to ask if they could contribute. The citizen health journalism blog was born.

Whether they are writing about disease or marathons, our bloggers focus on health through both traditional and contemporary frames using humor and everyday stories of resiliency. They come from all walks of life. Even the journalists write in a personal, conversational tone.

The statistics and perceptions about American Indian health paint us a pitiful people with an outlook of fatalism. The mission of Wellbound Storytellers is to show that health struggles and triumphs can go hand-in-hand. In your coverage of American Indians, consider striking this balance, too.

(Next up: Part 2 focuses on the lessons that Wellbound bloggers taught me about reporting on health and wellness.)

Teresa Trumbly Lamsam, Ph.D., is the editor and creator of Wellbound Storytellers and executive editor of Native Health News Alliance, a website for journalists under development. She is an associate professor in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Teresa, an enrolled member of the Osage Nation, is a former tribal press editor. 

(Photos courtesy of Teresa Trumbly Lamsam.)

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Ruben Salazar: Champion of Hispanic civil rights

A national journalism conference in Anaheim, Calif., last month provided an opportunity to learn about the Civil Rights Movement from the Hispanic perspective after a week of reminders of the famous Martin Luther King Jr. “dream” speech.

The Excellence in Journalism 2013 conference was sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists, of which I am a past national president; Radio Television Digital News Association; and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

A preview was shown of “Latino Americans,” promoted as the first major documentary series for TV to chronicle the history and experiences of Latinos in the U.S. It will air on PBS on Sept. 17.  Among those discussing the documentary afterward was Juan Gonzalez, author of a book, “News For All The People,” New York Daily News columnist and co-host of a syndicated TV and radio show, “Democracy Now!”

I met Gonzalez later at a book signing and mentioned I was the last editor of the El Paso Herald-Post in Texas in the mid-‘90s. During my time there, I became very interested in immigration issues since the community was 75 percent Hispanic and borders Juarez, Mexico.

Courtesy Special Collections UCLA/From Book Ruben Salazar/Border Correspondent

Courtesy Special Collections UCLA/From Book Ruben Salazar/Border Correspondent

Gonzalez took his book and pointed me to what he had written about Ruben Salazar, who began his reporting career with the Herald-Post in the 1950s and then moved on to the Los Angeles Times. He later went to KMEX, a Los Angeles Spanish-language TV station.

Sadly, he was killed at age 42 during a Vietnam War protest by young Chicanos. More than 25,000 participants converged in Laguna Park in east Los Angeles and a riot ensued after a minor disturbance led police to arrest a keynote speaker, Gonzalez writes. Salazar was killed by a sheriff’s deputy in a bar following the riot where he and a camera crew had gone for refuge. The circumstances surrounding his death remain in dispute.

Salazar was killed on Aug. 29, 1970, which was 43 years ago. At the time, he was the most influential Latino journalist of his era.

On the recent 50th anniversary of the speech by King at the Washington Mall, throngs gathered on that spot to hear President Barack Obama pay tribute.

Not nearly as many remembered Salazar, but Raul A. Reyes, a columnist for USA Today, did.

“Salazar deserves to be remembered for his crusade against social injustice, and because he devoted his life to empowering his community,” Reyes wrote.

Salazar’s legacy includes the formation of the California Chicano News Media Association, which led to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp in his honor in 2008.

(Courtesy of Knoxville Sentinel/previously published)

“Latinos Americans” premieres on PBS September 17th on PBS at 8pm Eastern.

Georgiana Vines is retired News Sentinel associate editor, and member of the SPJ Diversity Committee.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Excellence in Journalism Conference= “Electric”

The Excellence in Journalism Conference in Anaheim was one of best conferences I ever attended. I heard the word “energy” being used to describe what was happening with the intermingling of three major journalism organizations all under one roof. I’ll even go one further: it was “electric”.

SPJ Diversity Fellows 2013 at Excellence in Journalism Conference

Fellows: Vianna Davila, Jocelyne Pruna, Sandra Gonzalez (SPJ Diversity Committee Chairman); Cheryl D’Mello, Maria Ortiz Briones, Francisco Vara-Orta, and April Bethea.

As SPJ’s Diversity Chairman, I was the “go to” person for six Diversity Fellows, hoping to encourage and expose them to the importance of diversity in our newsrooms and our coverage.

This year, having the National Association of Hispanic Journalists intertwined among the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio TV Digital News Association was pure evidence of something wonderful. There were journalists everywhere, and as a longtime member of NAHJ, this was very interesting since I was wearing two hats at this conference.

As part of the program for the fellows, they were introduced to media industry leaders including Fox News Latino’s Director Francisco Cortes. During a luncheon with the fellows, Cortes shared his story of being injured while in the military, which opened up a window to writing. This “blessing” Cortes says eventually led him to a journalism career, where he is currently head of Fox News Latino. He started at Fox News as an apprentice.

Fox News Latino's Francisco Cortes give advice to SPJ Diversity Fellows

Fox News Latino’s Francisco Cortes give advice to SPJ Diversity Fellows

 

Cortes candidly shared pearls of wisdom to fellows including some suggestions to never be an employee who just “punches clock”; and to be humble and “hungry” in this career path.

The fellows also learned more about news management and diversity from Hugo Balta, who is president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and a coordinating producer at ESPN. He also has worked in management in several capacities including News Director throughout the course of his career in both English and Spanish language News.

Balta urged the fellows not to be afraid to take chances and swim against the tide with their storytelling. He also reminded them that sometimes it may mean being the unpopular person in the room, but bringing diversity into journalism is a “fight worth fighting”.

NAHJ President Hugo Balta speaks about diversity with SPJ Diversity Fellows

NAHJ President Hugo Balta speaks about diversity with SPJ Diversity Fellows

Balta, like Cortes was very straightforward with fellows and answered all kinds of questions on various matters in journalism.

Fellows also were introduced to SPJ leadership including both the SPJ and Sigma Delta Chi Boards. There was so much learning and networking in short amount of time. So many sessions made it difficult to choose. One of them brought forward from SPJ’s Diversity Committee helped spur story ideas from recent census data. Several dozen journalists attended this session.

While there was a lot of attention on enhancing our craft and becoming more involved in SPJ, we managed to find time for fun. Not only were new friendships forged but many memorable “moments” were experienced, from the receptions to hallways and ballrooms.

Journalists even found a few hours to get over to Disneyland and ride some roller coasters.

I think Excellence in Journalism 2013 will be one for the history books, and who knows, maybe the three organizations will clasp together again for another mega conference, reminiscent of all the “energy” that sparked from Anaheim this year.

Sandra Gonzalez is SPJ Diversity Committee Chair, Las Vegas SPJ Chapter Secretary, NAHJ member and reporter for KSNV-TV Las Vegas, Nevada.

Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on Reddit

Connect

Twitter Facebook Google Plus RSS Instagram Pinterest Pinterest LinkedIn


© Society of Professional Journalists. All rights reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters | Employment Opportunities | Advertise with SPJ