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

Posts Tagged ‘journalists’

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.


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. “  


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.


Journalism in Belize: A positive meeting & public opinion

On Thursday I had my meeting with Mrs. Jane Bennett and Dr. Sharmaine Saunders at the Belize City branch of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus.

I am happy to report that we will be moving ahead with plans for a week of workshops about journalism in June! My original idea was 3 days or so, but both women think four days of half-day workshops would work best.

They loved my idea of kicking things off on a Monday evening with a symposium or open forum about the journalism status quo in Belize.  This would provide a venue for both media professionals and the general public to ask questions and even vent.

So far, the workshops will include:  Investigative journalism; effective interviewing techniques; interpersonal communication (many journalists are criticized here for a lack of professsionalism in their demeanor with interview subjects, newsmakers, etc.); open records and meetings laws in Belize; media management; and using multimedia.  I plan to draw on local experts as well as volunteers from the US (myself included).

Any SPJ’ers who would be interested in volunteering to lead a workshop on one of the above topics, let me know!  You would have to pay your own freight, but staying with a host family here could probably be arranged.  Keep watching this blog for information on the final dates.  I want to stress that the goal with these workshops is not to impose American values and traditions on Belizean journalism.  Read my entry “Blogging from Belize,” for my philosophy about this undertaking.

Last night I was reminded once again how engaged Belizeans are with their media.  I attended a little get-together of women at the home prominent local attorney Lisa Shoman.  Lisa was Minister of Foreign Affairs under the last administration and also served as ambassador to the United States.  Lisa and her guests talked about several issues:

* The ethics of interviewing children without permission from their parents. This conversation centered around a TV news story in which the reporter interviewed Guatemalan schoolchildren along the border who were crossing over to Belize to attend school illegally.  Related to this issue: a recent story about a custody battle showed the child in question and delved into the private lives of the foster mother and birth mother to a degree that many at the gathering last night found beyond the pale.

* Too much pontificating.  Lisa called talk shows a Belizean “national pasttime!” A dynamic and healthy public conversation about important issues is one thing, but the extent to which journalists use their programs as platforms for their own personalities and biases was objectionable to several of the women at the soiree.

* Lack of professionalism. The women agreed that local journalists can come across as insensitive, rough, crude, and even offensive in interviews with newsmakers and Joe Public.

* Rambling stories.  The guests said on air and in print, stories are repititive and too short on actual information and compelling content.

Even with all its flaws — as I have stated previously — Belizean journalism is vigorous, dynamic and vital.  Journalists here are poorly paid but passionate.  Most are well-intentioned and tireless in their efforts to give voice to the voiceless.

That’s all for now.


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