NAHJ President Meets With AP About News Coverage of Migrants

Oct 26, 2018
3:54 pm

Here is a media released published Thursday by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists:

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) President Hugo Balta led a meeting with leadership from The Associated Press to address the language used to describe the migrant caravan on Sunday, October 21 in a tweet. The phone call included AP Vice President/Editor at Large for Standards John Daniszewski, and Vice President, Global News and Enterprise, Marjorie Miller.

Daniszewski took the time to explain where the story originated from as well as Sunday’s tweet, which was removed prior to an apology being issued. Additionally, Daniszewski noted the conversations among AP leadership “post-tweet,” were immediately identified as “off in tone,” and action began rapidly to fix the issue. Miller reiterated the editorial mission is to use unloaded language for everyone, and only to publish the most clear and direct reports. The story, filed from the AP’s Latin American desk, was recognized as a priority, considering the spontaneous growth the caravan experienced and the term “army” was not considered as a hot button word at the time, as it is now in the context of the American political debates. In hindsight, the phrasing from a Mexican political context was obviously not well received, offensive to many, and differentiated from if it had been edited within the continental U.S.

“We appreciated the conversation and feedback from NAHJ,” Daniszewski said. “AP’s aim always is to be accurate, precise and neutral in our reporting and writing as our tradition and news values demand.”

Both Daniszewski and Miller expressed gratitude for the constructive criticism and stated the AP is proud to play a role in changing how communities are covered.

“The coverage surrounding this story comes with great responsibility,” said Hugo Balta, NAHJ President. “We cannot forget as journalists, from concept to execution, the impact is large enough where just as a report has the ability to quickly inform, it also has the ability to cause great damage to communities.”

Balta today thanked The Associated Press for their candor in sharing how the inappropriate wording describing the migrant caravan was published, deleted and replaced, the time to speak about the significance of the error and emphasized the potential to grow a stronger relationship as partners of the organization.

NAHJ will continue to monitor the coverage and reports about the migrant caravan. The association expects newsrooms across the country to double check their internal editorial process and continue to include diverse voices and feedback from staff. As always, NAHJ is available for dialogue with leaders in media organizations to discuss journalistic standards of transparency, accuracy and fairness.

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About NAHJ The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is the largest organization of Latino journalists in the United States and dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. The mission of NAHJ is to increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms and to work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has approximately 2,300 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals and journalism educators. For more information please visit NAHJ.org or follow on Twitter @NAHJ.

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