The following media release was published Thursday night by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ):
Washington, D.C. – Today, National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) President Hugo Balta led a meeting with NPR Vice President of Newsroom Training and Diversity Keith Woods to discuss the organization’s 2018 diversity report issued by the news organization.
At the request of NPR, host of Weekend Edition Sunday Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Supervising Editor Luis Clemens, News Operations Deputy Director Rolando Arrieta and host of Alt.Latino Felix Contreras were included in the meeting to add value and transparency to the conversation around internal process and operations.
While there was concern by Balta regarding another year of dismal Latino representation, the interest from the association president was to meet in an effort to conduct a conversation and discover what initiatives contributed to the slight rise of diversity and what areas needed attention to help progress inclusion further.
Over a two-hour period, Woods and colleagues discussed a variety of internal and external initiatives that addressed the relationship between the operational management and the directors who focus on recruitment and diversity. Additionally, the conversation around the hiring process by NPR unveiled a best practice that directly contributed to the increase in the overall employment of Latinos. While this adjustment helped slightly, better support is needed to assist manager level candidates of color transition into a large market like Washington, D.C. Woods also expressed interest in feedback on how NAHJ can facilitate a dedicated network of talent to excel in the audio journalism space, a pool that in the audio medium isn’t currently a visible entity.
Balta acknowledged that while there are ways to collaborate in improving the recruitment of qualified, diverse journalists, a better job must be done to train existing staff on diversity and inclusion. “A culture of framing stories where Latinos are the protagonists as niche must change,” he said. “Newsroom managers need to appreciate that ‘Latino’ stories and ‘American’ stories are one in the same, that inclusion of different voices is increasingly relevant to the changing multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual nation.”
The specific obstacles NPR faces in recruitment and gaps in editorial process were identified because of a dedicated and transparent conversation. In addition to NAHJ acting as a sounding board in the planning of coverage and content, the association will help consult on extending NPR’s goals at the annual conference throughout the entire year. During the meeting, Balta also noted the launch of NAHJ’s new career center “Journalism Next” last month, enabling recruiters to scan NAHJ members’ resumes and candidates throughout the entire year.
At the beginning of 2019, Balta will reconvene with Woods to discuss a strategic plan and commit to NAHJ’s effort in supporting public media. A realistic strategy will be recommended from NAHJ for operations to commit, implement and execute for further advancement of diversity and inclusion efforts throughout the news organization. NAHJ is also committed to working with the existing team to be inclusive of Latinos in all storytelling. Balta thanked NPR for their time to speak about the significance of the recent diversity report, an effort to be transparent and discuss how to capitalize on the knowledge and awareness from those championing diversity and inclusion at NPR. As always, the association offers assistance and resources to all newsrooms to collaborate on ways to advance the fair and accurate representation of Latinos across the country.
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 2,500 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.