Should news organizations do more to hire and professionally develop Latina journalists to ascend to the highest newsroom positions? That was my question in last week’s VOXXI media blog.

Carolina Garcia

Reaction came from Carolina Garcia, the first Latina named to head up a major metropolitan daily English-language newspaper in the U.S. when she was named executive editor of the Los Angeles Daily News in 2008.

She has held the same position for two other newspapers: the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif., and the Long Beach Press-Telegram. All three publications are owned by MediaNews Group, Inc. She recently spoke to VOXXI.

VOXXI: When it comes to the “diversity within diversity” involving Hispanic journalists, should news organizations, regardless of format and language, do more to specifically recruit and professionally develop Latina journalists for news leadership positions?

Garcia: News gathering organizations should absolutely do more to hire more people of color. We’ve lost a huge number of journalists in the last few years and the most recent ASNE newsroom employment census shows the loss in minority newsroom positions stood at 5.7 percent, more than double the number of jobs lost at daily newspapers. Should media organizations recruit and develop Latinas. Yes. Definitely.

Though I would say that we should recruit and develop as many minority journalists as we possibly can hire.

VOXXI: Are there any challenges that you have faced as newsroom leaders that others who may not be women of color have had to face?

Garcia: Yes, and many of the personal challenges and difficulties have faded from memory. The feelings of not fitting in, or understanding how the newsroom worked or what constituted news. Those insecurities and questions have faded over time. The question today is how to stay in business, grow revenue and return drastically cut content.

We are looking for ways to continue to cover the news in fair and balanced ways that are inclusive, not exclusive as a result of cuts and downsizing.

VOXXI: Were there any role models that you emulated whose example has helped you to get where you are?

Garcia: There are many. The Maynard Institute, the Institute for Justice and Journalism, NAHJ, all the affinity groups, Unity.

VOXXI: Would Latinas, and women in general, necessarily have more of a presence in stories if there were more women, particularly Latinas and other women of color, in news leadership positions?

Garcia: Yes. In the same way that all of us are comfortable with who we are and relate to those like us, women and women of color, I estimate, would seek out others like themselves for stories and for coverage. But this isn’t a proven premise. Though I would like to believe that it is.

VOXXI: Can you make a business argument for why it would be important for the news industry to pay attention to advancing and professionally developing Latina journalists and other women journalists of color?

Garcia: Yes, we are readers and are voraciously consuming news at all levels in all
platforms. It makes no sense to ignore one of the fastest growing gender and census groups.

Soledad O'Brien
Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O’Brien fires back at Fox News’ Roger Ailes

While Garcia remains a wonderful example for any journalist to follow, the glass ceiling for Latinas and other women journalists is still far from shattered.

Last week Fox News Chairman/CEO Roger Ailes used the occasion of speaking to students at the University of North Carolina to refer to CNN “Starting Point” anchor Soledad O’Brien as “that girl that’s named after a prison.”

O’Brien, who is of mixed cultural heritage with an Australian father and Afro-Cuban mother, fired back via twitter by stating, “Um. I wasn’t named after a prison. Ailes is mistaken. I was named after the Virgin Mary.”

Former TV reporter sues saying evidence of police attack was deleted from camera

Cristina Rodda
Cristina Rodda

Cristina Rodda, who is a former reporter/anchor for KOB-TV in Albuquerque, New Mex., has filed a lawsuit against that city and a police officer over claims involving police brutality and evidence tampering.

Rodda’s lawsuit claims that in April 2011, she was covering and capturing video of a rave party when she recorded officer Stephanie Lopez pushing a patron to the ground.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that Lopez frisked and searched Rodda’s purse without consent and that Lopez took Rodda’s camera and later tried to delete images of the officer pushing the party patron.

Rodda is now a public information officer for the New Mexico State Corrections Department.

UNITY drops “Journalists of Color” from its name

According to a news release from UNITY, “Those advocating for the name change said the name ‘UNITY Journalists’  was more inclusive, would make it easier to market the convention to members of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and reflected the fact that the alliance is no longer made up of only racial and ethnic minority journalist groups.”

Latinos and Other People of Color Accept Washington Post’s Buyout Offer

According to media blogger Jim Romenesko, and the Washington Post Writer’s Guild, about 12 of the 50 people who have decided to pursue the buyout deals are Latino, African American or Asian.

On the move

Michelle Morgante has been named as the bureau chief  for the Associated Press, heading up the news service’s coverage of Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Morgante had previously been assistant chief of bureau for the AP’s news operations in Miami.

Sharis Delgadillo
Sharis Delgadillo

Sharis Delgadillo  is among this year’s recipients from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation College TV Awards. Delgadillo, who recently earned her master’s degree from the  University of Southern California in Los Angeles, was among a team that was named as 1st place winners in the TV magazine category.

Cristy Fajardo has been hired as a reporter at the KCBS/KCAL-TV duopoly in Los Angeles. She was previously a reporter at KTTV Fox11 in Los Angeles.

David Median, Rice University
David Medina

David Medina, director of multicultural community relations at Rice University, earns a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals. “He has been a terrific example to those in the Hispanic Community of a solid public relations expert, a hard-working—community minded journalist, and a man who has been generous with his time, willing to volunteer for a variety of service organizations over the years,” wrote. Art Rascon, with ABC-13, in announcing the award.

Medina has been a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, the now-defunct Dallas Times-Herald and the Austin American-Statesman.

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