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SPJ's Diversity Blog » Hispanic | A Society of Professional Journalists Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Hispanic’


Use Bloomberg and Disney News to Deepen Health Coverage

It’s been a fun couple of weeks for health news, with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg rationing soda portions and the Disney Co. calling a halt to junk food advertising for kids. You can do more with this story, though, than just trot out arguments for and against.

Bloomberg and Disney aim to block structural incentives to eat sugary, salty foods – and through their policy efforts, trim obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Their specific approaches certainly are open to debate. But public health departments across the country have been pleading for some type of policy-based, structural change. Their priority: Halt the disproportionate impact of dire health conditions on specific population groups.

Take a close look at the obesity statistics. African Americans and Mexican Americans have the highest rates across the country. And while we tend to associate obesity with low incomes, that’s not true here – at least for men. Nationally, African American and Mexican American men with higher incomes are more likely to be overweight than their lower-income counterparts. What’s going on?

To take the story one step further, consider that high weight puts people at risk for diabetes, a life-long chronic condition characterized by a roller-         coaster of blood sugar levels – and devastating complications –  if not kept under control. Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans have the highest risk for diabetes of all ethnic or racial groups, close to double that of non-Hispanic white people. The rate for non-Hispanic black people also is much higher than for whites – by three-quarters. Diabetes is rising dangerously among Native Americans, too.

Photo Courtesy: CDC

While all of us are at high risk for heart disease, both African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to die of strokes than non-Hispanic white people.How about using this moment to probe the value of Bloomberg’s and Disney’s approaches and their potential effectiveness as structural solutions to health disparities? And why not reach a little deeper to cover the populations most affected by these health conditions?

Big differences in lifelong health don’t trace back to genetics, education or even solely individual choice, according to the latest thinking in public health. Do efforts like Bloomberg’s or Disney’s help balance the equation?That’s a question worth investigating.

Sally Lehrman is a member of the SPJ Diversity Committee. She holds Santa Clara University’s Knight Ridder — San Jose Mercury News Endowed Chair in Journalism and the Public Interest. Sally is also an author and independent journalist who specializes in covering identity, race relations and gender within the context of medicine and science.

 

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.

STANDING ROOM ONLY

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.

 

WHO IS LA MORENITA?

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.

ON THEIR KNEES

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.

HOW TO FIND THIS STORY

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.

MORE TIPS

    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.

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 Newsvine.com 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. “  

GETTING TO KNOW THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

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.

 

Diversity in the US Census is important

Currently, there are 29 racial or ethnic designations on the U.S. Census form. I have to ask “Why only 29?” And being from a community excluded from the Census, I have to ask again, “Why even have that designation if you can’t include everyone?”

Here’s the list:

White; Hispanic (listed five different ways) Hispanic, Latino or Spanish Origin, Mexican American, Chicano, (What country does Chicano come from?), Black (listed three different ways) Black, African American, Negro, American Indian or Alaskan Native (they get space to write in their “Tribe”), Asians and listed as Asian, Asian Indian, Japanese, Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean, Guamanian or Chamorro, Filipino, Vietnamese, Samoan and “Other Asian” such as Laotian, Thai, Pakistani, and Cambodian. And finally, they have Pacific Islander, Fijian, Tongan.

47 actual words describing ethnicity and race and 313 characters. And they can’t add one more word or 4 more characters to the list.

For the past three decades, American Arabs have been asked by the Federal Government and urged by their leadership (many funded by the U.S. Census through grants and full time jobs) to ignore their exclusion from the list and instead write their name “Arab” on the “Other” line at the bottom of the list.

I think it is wrong. I think diversity loses it’s significance when it is narrowly defined and some ethnicities are excluded for, in my opinion, political reasons.

The whole point of including identities is to encourage individuals to participate and identify themselves. Including their names on the Census form is a form of respect and recognition that encourages their participation. It holds precisely true to then argue that excluding a group from the form discourages that participation. If they are on there, they will participate more. If they are not on there they will, therefore, not participate more.

American Arabs (and Muslims, a religious designation often wrongly interchanged by the mainstream media to designate the larger racial or ethnic group of Arabs), have been center stage in an international drama over war, conflict, terrorism and discrimination. Everyday the issue of Arabs and Muslims is raised and yet society and the mainstream media feel comfortable to argue a dichotomy in conflicting reasoning that 1) Arabs are a potential national threat and therefore should be profiled (counted in a negative manner) and 2) Arabs are “Caucasian” or White and therefore should not be counted in a positive way.

What is a a positive way? Well, counting Arabs officially, would open the door to a vast amount of racial and ethnic protections.

In communities across the country, police departments are required to note the race or ethnicity of motorists that they stop for alleged traffic violations and ticketing. Why? Because communities want to know if certain ethnic groups are being targeted for racial and discriminatory reasons.

Arabs are stopped on a huge scale — American Arab communities suspect — and they are the victims of ongoing discrimination. But not being “recognized” officially by the Federal Government means they are not counted and are blended in to the larger identity of White. The fact is in many communities, racism against Arabs is rampant but we don’t have a way to measure that because the mechanisms for measuring that kind of bigotry by government agencies, including starting with the U.S. Census, does not exist.

American Arab journalists have been lobbying UNITY: Journalists of Color for official recognition, but our requests have been rejected as soundly and as disrespectfully as the White mainstream media has long fought opening the doors of the Fourth Estate to the inclusion of Blacks, Hispanics and Asians.

That needs to change. American Arabs need to stand up and protest and say that the process of excluding an ethnic and racial group from the U.S. Census for the past three decades (at least since 1980 when American Arabs were first pushed to “write in” their race “Arab”) must end. The mainstream media which claims to care about issues of diversity needs to also take a second look at the selfishness of the diversity process so far. Just having “their” representatives at the mainstream news media table is not the proper response for the need for diversity in the media. It is not “true diversity” if the groups represented in UNITY and on the US Census are only certain groups represented and others are excluded. We do not have true diversity.

— Ray Hanania

www.RadioChicagoland.com

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