President’s Message: May 6, 2013

Hugo Balta NAHJ President

Hugo Balta
NAHJ President

Dear NAHJ Nation,

It matters that The Los Angeles Times and The Denver Post are the latest news organizations to stop using the slur “illegal immigrant.” It matters that NAHJ joined the campaign to drop the “i” word. But perhaps most importantly, it matters that journalists stand up for what’s fair and accurate.

When it comes to reporting, journalists are trained to be objective and neutral. They are expected to witness an event and impartially recap it by detaching themselves of their personal bias.

But that notion is debatable. How can someone disassociate themselves from their beliefs, culture and experiences? What is certain is that there are times journalists need to rise to the occasion.

The fight to stop media from using the negative term “illegal immigrant” is such an occasion. Speaking out against the violence many journalists endure in Mexico is such an occasion. The push to stop the FCC from relaxing long standing rules which prevent the monopoly of media is certainly such an occasion.

NAHJ must and will do a better job in advocacy. That’s why our association has partnered with reputable organizations like the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and the Free Press.

I believe it is also our association’s responsibility to champion for and support like kind associations that advocate for the rights of all Latinos.

We should be speaking out for the equal representation of Latinos in government and leadership positions in the workplace. We should join the fight for reasonable health care, education and housing.

We can’t afford to sit from a safe distance and pretend that some of the stories we cover do not affect us and act as if we are not part of the community.

The public’s interests are best served when journalists get off the sidelines and into the game.

Hugo Balta
NAHJ President

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