As many of you know, the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists recently voted to leave UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, which has been the umbrella of several minority journalism organizations, including AAJA.
In a statement on its website, NAHJ President Hugo Balta explains the organization’s decision:
It’s a bitter sweet decision.The board believes in the concept of UNITY, but feels the organization needs to reform to meet the new challenges minority journalists are facing in an industry that is continuously changing.
AAJA National President Paul Cheung has issued the following response to NAHJ’s decision:
While many of us are understandably reflecting on the future of UNITY, it’s important AAJA leaders and members be patient.
UNITY formed as the news media flourished in the 1990s, amid rising revenues and growing newsrooms. But those days are gone, forever changed by rapidly evolving technology and beset by a catastrophic financial meltdown. Over recent years, newsrooms have struggled. As a result, many lost jobs and some newspapers folded. It’s no surprise UNITY has also struggled. AAJA, fortunately, has weathered those headwinds by fundraising, cutting expenses and making structural changes.
The UNITY we knew in 1994 is gone. The newsroom you knew in 1994 is also gone. That’s a fact. But the same battles remain, as long as the issue of diversity remains a problem in our industry.
I personally don’t believe retreating to silos will advance our cause for greater diversity. Since July, the alliance presidents have been working on several proposals to fundamentally restructure UNITY — so we can be more nimble, flexible and financially sound. AAJA has taken a key leadership role in coming up with solutions. In the coming weeks, we hope to address these critical issues — including revisiting UNITY’s mission, finances and governance.
Our next UNITY board meeting is in December, and I will update our membership with details so that AAJA can examine what our roles should be in the future.
Your feedback will inform our work at the UNITY board meeting. Feel free to email me, your chapter presidents, board representative and AAJA-UNITY board representatives regarding your concerns and thoughts on UNITY.
Change is never easy or painless. And yes, this is very emotional for many of us who have attended UNITY conventions and value UNITY’s mission. These are especially challenging times for the cause of diversity, and we must continue to address those challenges — not only for us, but for the next generation of journalists.
Paul has also encouraged members to give their feedback this form.
In addition, I would like to extend an offer for AAJA Seattle members to contact me, as well as our national board representative Sanjay Bhatt. It is important to me that the concerns of our chapter members are heard.
You can reach me at email@example.com and Sanjay at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From time to time, AAJA Seattle receives job postings. We try to forward these on to our membership. We also recently heard about some broadcast TV openings in the San Francisco Bay Area; if interested, please send an email to email@example.com.
Come hear tips and hard-won wisdom from award-winning journalists.
Learn about Chinese-American Vincent Chin, whose 1982 murder in Detroit lit the match of the Asian-American movement.
Build your network of industry contacts and meet recruiters.
AAJA holds its National Convention Aug. 10-13 in Detroit. If you haven’t registered yet, you’re lucky: National is allowing people to get the LOWEST rates for three more weeks. The deadline has been extended to July 8.
Looking for a roommate at convention? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can let you know who else is seeking a roommate.
Here is a list of the chapter members who I know have registered or are attending on a scholarship. If you’d like me to add your name to this list, just send me an e-mail. If you see our scholarship winners, please congratulate them!
Kyle Kim (VOICES scholarship)
Caroline Li (Ford Foundation scholarship)
Peter Sessum (Founders scholarship)
Sarah Wallace (Ford Foundation scholarship)
Sunny Wu (Ford Foundation scholarship)
If you want to share the promo video link with your friends and colleagues, here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKvJ5dx7P-Y
The reception,Â which marksÂ the 25th anniversary of AAJA Seattle’s flagship program, brings Thanh Tan from Austin, Texas, to share her experiences with this year’s scholarship winners.
Tan, a three-time NJC scholarship winner, is a multimedia reporter/producer for The Texas Tribune.
She previously worked at Idaho Public Television, a PBS station that serves a statewide audience.
While there, she was an Emmy award-winning producer/reporter/host for the longest-running legislative public affairs program in the West, Idaho Reports, moderator of The Idaho Debates, and a writer/producer for the flagship series Outdoor Idaho.
Prior to joining IdahoPTV, she was a general assignment reporter at the ABC affiliate in Portland, OR and a political reporter for KBCI-TV in Boise, ID. Her work has also appeared on the PBS NewsHour and This American Life.
She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California with degrees in International Relations and Broadcast Journalism.
On June 7, KING will host AAJA Seattle’s Northwest Journalists of Color scholarship reception. Mark your calendars now.
Each year the scholarship recognizes talented young incoming and existing college students from Washington state who have their sights set on a career in journalism. AAJA Seattle has awarded scholarships to more than 120 students, who have gone on to work for The Seattle Times, The Los Angeles Times, CBS News and Sony Pictures, among other places.