Reporter | Media Watchdog | Social Media Columnist | Mentor | Speaker | Leader | Grad Student
Author: Rebecca Aguilar
Journalism is my life. I've been a reporter for 36 years. My office is the world. During my career I have been honored with 50 journalism awards and nominations. I'm also an Emmy-nominated TV commentator. I'm currently the VP of Programs for SPJ Fort Worth Chapter. I'm also the former VP of Online for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
The bully boss is insecure and lacks confidence. They hide behind bully tactics and other bully managers to rule a workplace. They teach bad habits to managers who are lower in the company food chain. As someone who has worked mostly in newsrooms, it happens there too. And don’t get me started on the enablers of bully bosses. That is a future blog.
Former news director, Kevin Benz talked at the 2018 Excellence in Journalism conference about bad bosses. In his “No More Assholes Part 2: The coward’s guide to conflict in the newsroom,” Benz reminded journalists that there is no room in a newsroom for an asshole boss. In my opinion, asshole managers don’t belong anywhere.
I’ll be sharing more of Kevin Benz’s tips on good and bad management in the future. He tells it like it is.
On this National Boss Day let us celebrate those who are doing it right. Give them a pat on the back. Give them a shout out on your social media, even those from your past.
Remember you are a success today because of those good bosses.
Sometimes in the news business we have bosses who can’t even say “good job.” Sometimes we work in newsrooms where there is no manager to motivate or inspire us.
We get beat up more often than given a pat on the back. This probably happens in many other professions. My advice is to seek out the motivators and surround yourself with them. Often they don’t have a title. They are just good people.
Create your own circle of empowerment.
They will hold you up when your bosses don’t ever lift you up. Believe me, I have a strong circle of motivators and that is why I am still standing today after more than three decades as a journalist.
Karina Ramos wants the world to know about her aunt, Claudine Anne Luera. The Laredo mother of five was found murdered on Thursday, September 13. Two days later, Border Patrol agent Jose Ortiz confessed to killing three people in Laredo including Luera.
Investigators told KRGV that Ortiz committed the murders over a two-week span. Today he sits in a Laredo jail on a bonds totaling $2.5 million.
Ramos talked opening about her aunt in a Facebook post. She gave me permission to share her Facebook message. Her aunt struggled with drug addiction, tried to stay clean, made small bad decisions that snowballed. But as Ramos puts it what was most important was that “she was loved.” Here is the post.
She was killed on Thursday, September 13th.
We’ve lost loved ones before, but nothing prepares you for the pain and pure rage you feel when someone you love is murdered. Nothing prepares you for waking up with swollen eyes from crying and squinting at a phone screen that shows an article for ABC News about your aunts murder. Nothing prepares you for the violent details of your loved ones murder being thrust into the public. Everyone you know learning, as you do, what her last moments were like. But there are some things no one will learn from the headlines, and articles, and Facebook posts.
She was a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, a cousin, and a friend. Most of all SHE WAS LOVED. She was murdered by a monster who murdered 3 others, luckily the 5th woman got away. The fact that there’s a “serial killer” in a small Texas town is big news, and the one thing all the articles mention is the victims were PROSTITUTES. As if that makes her less of a victim. As if that makes him less of a monster. As if she deserved what she got. As if it makes any difference at all.
Her name was Claudine Anne Luera and let me repeat myself: SHE WAS LOVED, so let me add some more details to the narrative. She was the daughter of a beautiful Scottish mother and grumpy Mexican father.
She was the mother of 2 sets of twins and a hardworking, wonderful daughter. Two of her children are autistic, and we are a proud autism family full of love and support for them.
She has 3 sisters with the biggest hearts you’ve ever seen. She was always considered beautiful when she was young and always will be to us.
When she was winning her fight against drug abuse, she was a wonderful thriving mother. She loved her kids fiercely and navigated life as a stay at home mom to 2 sets of twins born within a year of each other, as well as, their older sister.
It couldn’t have been easy for her. She held out as long as she could, but seemingly small bad decisions snowballed. We don’t know why she fell off the wagon. We wished and prayed she’d overcome her demons and go back to who we knew she could be. But even when she lost everything because of her drug dependence, SHE WAS LOVED.
We took in her children, provided them with safe homes and waited. And waited. She always proclaimed her love for her kids and I know they’ll always know how much she loved them. If only that were enough.
And now we’ll have to wait for another lifetime to see that version of Claudine again. Our hope for her rehabilitation will never come to pass because a monster took away that chance from us.
We had to break it to her 5 children that their mother is gone forever. We had to hear their agonized cries and screams. It’s not something I’ll ever forget, ever. The only silver lining is that her killer was found less than 2 days after he attacked her. By that time, he had killed 2 others already.
Our family is devastated and reading articles about the “prostitutes” or “sex workers” being killed by the serial killer just rubs salt in our wounds. These women were brutally killed and nothing they did made them deserve that.
I’m thankful for the woman that got away and alerted authorities immediately. Without her we might be sitting around for weeks, months, even years waiting for some closure. So in that sense we consider ourselves lucky.
This monster has been caught and we can bury our aunt knowing , full well, he’ll pay for what he did. That lifts our broken hearts a little BECAUSE SHE WAS LOVED. So we’ll remember her as she was and try to get these headlines out of our minds.
Claudine was beautiful, she was kind, and she was loving. SHE WAS LOVED.
We couldn’t get through this difficult time without the love and support of all of our wonderful friends, family, and coworkers. Your kind words and thoughtful gestures have been absolutely heart warming. We’ll get through this.
My thoughts are with all families of the other victims that are struggling through what we are right now. My heart goes out to all families that are dealing with substance abuse. To those of you fighting her fight, don’t give up.
Rest In Peace Claudine❤️ give Grandma Ann and Sean Brandon a hug for me.
Because of posts I’ve seen on FB I did find it important to add that we hold NO animosity whatsoever towards Border Patrol. We’ve got friends and family in the Border Patrol (and other law enforcement) and we love and respect them.
That man’s profession did not make him commit these evil crimes and this evil does not represent all Border Patrol as a whole. HE is solely to blame. And I don’t want to take away from that fact.
There are many nonprofit news sites that are flushing out wrongdoers, revealing scams, and giving a voice to many communities ignored by other media outlets. They count on donations to stay in business. On this National Nonprofit Day, please donate what it would cost you to buy a cup of coffee. Every amount, small or large, does make a difference. Here are 15 of my favorite sites. Check them out.
The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) is a non-profit entity created in 2007 by journalist Omaya Sosa Pascual, former president of the Overseas Press Club, and journalist and lawyer Oscar J. Serrano, former president of the Association of Journalists of Puerto Rico. It promotes access to information for the people of Puerto Rico through three channels: investigative journalism, litigation and journalistic training. Donate
A news outlet in Hawaii dedicated to public affairs reporting. Its mission is to engage and educate the community on important public issues through in-depth reporting, explanatory and investigative journalism, analysis and commentary.
In 2009, a small group of Connecticut residents, concerned about the decline in watchdog journalism, formed the Connecticut News Project, Inc. A few months later, after securing start-up funding and hiring some veteran journalists, CNP launched The Connecticut Mirror, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news outlet with a very clear mission: Produce deep reporting on government policies and politics, to become an invaluable resource for anyone who lives, works or cares about Connecticut, and to hold our policymakers accountable for their decisions and actions.
The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonprofit newsroom devoted to educating the public about crucial issues in the Midwest with a special focus on agribusiness and related topics such as government programs, environment and energy.
The Chicago Defender is the oldest and most respected African-American newspaper in Chicago. Founded in 1905 by Robert Sengstacke Abbott, the Chicago Defender celebrated its 111th Anniversary in 2016. It was recognized nationally as the second most widely read and best African-American Newspaper by Nielson and Essence Survey 2014.
The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom based in Louisville, Ky. We produce investigative journalism that affects you, your neighborhood, your Commonwealth. Our mission is to protect society’s most vulnerable citizens, expose wrongdoing in the public and private sectors, increase transparency in government and hold leaders accountable. We promise to dig for the truth without fear or favor, cut through red tape and spark public conversation.
After NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden came forward with revelations of mass surveillance in 2013, journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill decided to found a new media organization dedicated to the kind of reporting those disclosures required: fearless, adversarial journalism. They called it The Intercept.
The Institute for Nonprofit News is a non-profit consortium of journalism organizations. The organization promotes nonprofit investigative and public service journalism through its association of member entities. It was founded in 2009.
President Richard Nixon resigned forty-four years ago today.
Here is NBC News’ coverage of the resignation.
It took two tenacious reporters with The Washington Post to take down the president. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward followed the corrupt political trail that started when five men were caught breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Complex in Washington D.C. in June, 1972.
Here is coverage of the break-in at Watergate.
The two reporters followed ever lead and never let up. At the time, Woodward’s source called “Deep Throat” help guide their investigation.
In October 1972, Nixon was informed that “Deep Throat” was Mark Felt, an associate director at the FBI. Nixon did not know how to deal with Felt.
The president often recorded many of his conversations in the Oval office. Here is a conversation he had about Felt.
On a talk show one month before Nixon resigned, Woodward and Bernstein discussed how the Nixon administration denied their stories and called their reports “character assassinations” and “shoddy.”
Interesting note, the two reporters were each making $15,000 a year when they started working on the Watergate story. The TV host revealed their salaries two minutes into this interview.
Bernstein and Woodward uncovered enough information that made it clear that the Committee to Re-elect Nixon was involved in attempts to sabotage the Democrats. Nixon lost much popular support including from those in the Republican party. He denied any wrongdoing and promised to stay in office.
The Senate Watergate Committee was a special committee established to investigate the Watergate scandal. Those hearings started in May, 1973 and were televised.
In the end, forty-eight people, many in the Nixon administration, were convicted of wrongdoing. Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment. Vice President Gerald Ford became president.
Here is how ABC News covered the resignation in August, 1974.
Woodward and Bernstein wrote a book, “All the Presidents Men” which was turned into a movie. Robert Redford played Woodward, and Dustin Hoffman played Bernstein.
In May 1977, Nixon talked to television host, David Frost. He defended his actions and claimed he did not have knowledge of some events.
Forty years after Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein reflected on their work.
Today Woodward and Bernstein’s reporter notes and documents about Watergate are archived at the University of Texas and they continue to investigate political stories including those connected to President Trump.
It’s nothing new to most of us that President Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants has fueled anger and hate against Latinos and people south of the border. So when I saw a recent story by The Washington Post, I thought when did the media get into the business of creating stories that fuel the same hate and division between the two sides: White people and immigrants.
The Washington Post has some of the best reporters in the country. No doubt about it. But the story by Terrence McCoy took the Post’s journalistic standards to a new low.
“White, and in the minority” is a story about a White couple who currently works in a chicken factory in Pennsylvania. The majority of their coworkers are Dominican and Puerto Rican. If McCoy was out to make the White people appear as victims and outsiders, mission accomplished. If the reporter was out to make immigrants appear like threatening, menacing thugs; once again, mission accomplished.
McCoy’s entire story was framed to put immigrants and Puerto Ricans in a bad light and make readers feel sorry for the young White couple.
“Heaven often feels alienated and frustrated…”
McCoy peppered his story with loaded words and phrases that only create fear among readers, especially those who are White.
“In a country where Whites will lose majority status in about a quarter-century…”
Journalist are taught when you make a statement, you should have attribution. McCoy made this statement, but never said who said “Whites will lose majority status?”
“Seven minutes left: Employees gathered around Heaven, first three, then four, then six.”
This phrase alone made it appear like the immigrants were ganging up on the White female. All they did was show up for work at the same time.
“Studies have shown how some whites, who are dying faster than they’re being born in 26 states…”
Again a statement made with no attribution. Who said this? What study revealed this information?
“Heaven, looking at the floor, heard laughter and jokes exchanged in the rapid Spanish of the Dominican Republic.”
This sentence made it appear like the immigrants were laughing at the young white female. The reporter only perpetuated the stereotype that Spanish-speaking people only speak in Spanish to talk about White people who don’t understand what is being said.
“They feel threatened, even if not directly affected by change…”
McCoy got this statement from a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, but did not bother to ask the professor to speculate how the immigrants feel?
“She felt more alone than she’d ever thought possible.”
Once again, McCoy made it appear the immigrants purposely isolated the woman. Did he share this with the immigrant workers? Do they have any idea she feels “alone?”
“There were days when Venson imagined what might await America. This would be a nation where whites weren’t only a minority, but disadvantaged.”
Another loaded statement that makes it appear like the couple will be stripped away of a good life and should fear minorities.
If the chicken factory was full of immigrants and Puerto Ricans, why didn’t McCoy ask them how they felt being the majority. Do they know that Heaven and her boyfriend feel “threatened?”
The couple’s story is important, but so is the point of view of their coworkers.
BACKLASH COMES FROM EVERYWHERE
This story is not sitting well with a lot of people. Latino Rebels posted “Why The Washington Post’s ‘White, and the minority’ Story is So Damn Dangerous.” The author of the blog said,
McCoy makes us all want to take out the tissues and cry for our two white tragic heroes (seriously, that’s how it reads), but it’s McCoy’s ridiculous depictions of the “foreign” Latino workers (who lack any humanity in any part of the piece) that stand out, while Engle and Heim (even with their racism) come across as these misunderstood figures who need sympathy.
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists issued a statement on Friday morning. NAHJ President Hugo Balta hopes to meet with the Post’s Editor-in-Chief to discuss the issue. The organization’s statement partly read:
The story, ‘White, and in the minority’ published on July 30, does not provide a variety of viewpoints at the center of the topic, but instead leaves readers focused almost entirely on one viewpoint. The national board has discussed the danger this poses and questions the journalism of the story.
McCOY DEFENDS HIS STORY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF IS STANDING BY REPORTER AND HIS WORK
Despite all the backlash, Terrence McCoy continues to defend his story via Twitter. He also continues to stick to the narrative about the poor, poor White couple.
A source who contacted Marty Baron, told me the Post’s Editor-in-Chief is standing by the reporter and the story, and even said that the story was approved by an editor who is a person of color.
I’d like to know how many Latinos or immigrants are part of the editorial staff.
As journalists, our job is to inform the public. It is not our job to create a racial divide and peg one group of people against another. The Washington Post failed the immigrant and Latino community. Let’s hope decision makers at the Post open their minds and look at it from our point of view.
The owner of Semanario Playa News Aquí and Ahora, Rubén Pat Cauich, was laid to rest today in Playa del Carmen. The journalist was shot to death Tuesday outside a bar in Playa Del Carmen in the southern state of Quintana Roo.
They told me to stop publishing articles about a local police chief, and that I knew what would be coming to me if I didn’t.
Pat started the digital news site on Facebook nine months ago with two other journalists. Playa News staff demanded state and federal authorities in Mexico help swiftly solve Pat’s murder and that of reporter, José Guadalupe Chan Dzib.
Chan Dzib was shot to death on June 29 in a bar in Sabán, southeast of Cancún. He also worked for Seminario Play News. One of his last assignments was the murder of a local political leader.
We demand that the Government of Quintana Roo and the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Quintana Roo investigate and find those responsible for the murder of the journalist and director of the Playa News Weekly, Rubén Pat and reporter, José Guadalupe Chan Dzib of Felipe Carrillo.
Killing journalists does not kill the truth!
Justice for journalists in Quintana Roo.
The Mexican authorities must draw the inevitable conclusion from this terrible event, namely that the Federal Mechanism for Protecting Journalists failed in its duty to protect Rubén Pat although his situation of vulnerability had been known for a long time.
Cristina Torres Gomez, Mayor of Playa Del Carmen said the reporter had requested protection for his home several months ago. She told Noticias Canal 10 that Pat’s request for protection had not been processed.
Warning the following video has graphic images.
CPJ reports Mexico is one of the most deadly countries in the world for journalists.