After almost fourteen years at KDFW-TV in Dallas, I was let go.
But guess what? I wasn’t devastated, hurt, sad or even afraid about my future. I didn’t think the world had ended.
The Fox station took my job, but not my talent, years of experience, many awards and my circle of trusted friends.
I knew I was going to be OK.
THE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES
If you ever get fired, remember you’ll be fine. Don’t blame yourself. I sure didn’t.
Don’t be embarrassed to tell people. It’s part of life.
Don’t be afraid to be judged. I never worried about what people thought of me losing my job.
Surround yourself with positive people you trust.
Stay positive and set goals.
Get out there and share your talent.
IT’S A NEW BEGINNING FOR SOMETHING BETTER
Getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to me. The opportunities I found and created have been endless.
I decided on four main goals: mentor, volunteer, consult and lead. Those goals have led me to jobs, opportunities and a paycheck. Here is some of what I have accomplished so far in ten years:
-I’m a successful freelance reporter/writer/producer. AARP was my first client.
-Served as Vice President of Online for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists better known as NAHJ. Volunteer position for four years. I sat on board for a total of six years.
-Currently serve as Vice President for the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter
-Founder of Wise Latinas Linked, the largest Latina networking group on Facebook and LinkedIn with combined membership of 10,000 women.
-Founder of Latinas in Journalism, the largest Latina journalism group of 1,800 women on Facebook.
-Public speaker on Latina and journalism issues. My favorite is “Surviving the Unexpected.”
-I’m a media and diversity watchdog. I fight for the rights of all journalists and push for more diversity in newsrooms across the country.
-Learned how to build websites from scratch.
-Learned how to code. Yes I know CSS and HTML.
-Continue to mentor girls in high school.
-Continue to mentor dozens of journalists at different levels in their careers.
-Served as social media manager for three years for NAHJ while VP of Online.
-Social media columnist for Latina Style magazine, a national publication.
-Social media consultant for nonprofits.
-Video producer for nonprofits. Thanks Rafael McDonnell for my first job.
-Offered $10,000 scholarship to get my Masters in Journalism at the University of North Texas. I am in my first year.
-Traveled to Israel on a journalism fellowship with Fuente Latina, a nonprofit news site.
-Serve currently and in the past as moderator and panelist on numerous journalism and social media panels around the country.
-Nominated in 2015 for Lone Star Emmy for “Best TV Commentator.”
-News consultant. Thanks Charlie Haldeman for my first gig teaching reporters how to report.
-Awarded two national awards for “Social Networking Leader” in 2011 and 2013 by Latinos in Social Media also known as LATISM.
I keep thinking how much I would have missed in life, stuck in the same newsroom, covering another crime or telling viewers as I stood on the side of the road “It’s cold out here.”
Don’t get me wrong, TV news is important, but sometimes you need a shove out the door to find something better. Today I continue helping people and telling stories.
More importantly, I also got to see my son grow up and go to college. I don’t know how many journalists have missed seeing their kids grow up. I’m lucky my son and I have great memories of me picking him up from junior high and going to McDonalds to talk.
I may not make the six-figure salary I earned during my TV days in Dallas, but then I was never motivated by money. My experiences as a TV reporter and a fired reporter have been priceless.
Thank you to John Boos, the best husband in the world. Thank you to some of my former coworkers like Saul Garza, Todd Eastman, and many others who stood by my side. Thank you to Rafael Olmeda who was president of NAHJ at the time and defended me. Thanks to many NAHJ members and a gazillion friends and fans who have been my support system since my firing. You helped me survive. Gracias!
Freedom feels good! Happy Anniversary to me.
FYI if you want the back story on why I was fired, go to Unclebarky.com. It’s was unfair, but I’m still standing.
The Albuquerque Journal is feeling the public’s hate. Many are threatening a protest in front of the newspaper’s building and readers are cancelling their subscriptions.
Wednesday, the newspaper published a cartoon that many are calling “racist.” The Executive Director of the New Mexico LULAC Council said on Facebook “The comic portrays three youths dressed as thugs and terrorists and the caption reads ‘Now, Honey…I believe they prefer to be called ‘DREAMERS’…or future Democrats…”
The newspaper has been bombarded with hate emails, social media posts and more. Unfortunately also hurt by the publishing of this syndicated cartoon are the good reporters and columnists at the paper.
One of them is columnist, Joline Gutierrez Krueger. She had nothing to do with management’s decision to put the controversial cartoon in the Journal, but she is also being attacked for it. Here is what she shared on Facebook:
Joline told me “This has been probably the roughest time I have ever dealt with, and I get criticism all the time.”
As I was writing this blog, Karen Moses, the editor-in-chief of the Journal issued an apology.
Political cartoons are often satire and poke at more than one point of view. I do not presume to know what cartoonist Sean Delonas was trying to convey in his cartoon that was published in Wednesday’s Albuquerque Journal. But on one level it appeared to us to be poking at President Trump’s rhetoric by portraying a quaking Republican couple who were painting Dreamers with a broad, totally false, brush.
Obviously, that was not the message received by many readers. Instead, many saw an extremely objectionable cartoon and thought that was the position of the Journal. It is not.
In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions. This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes
In my opinion, Ms. Moses needs to apologize to her staff, especially the reporters and columnists who are out on the streets dealing with people face-to-face.
One more thing. I’m not sure how many Latinos work at the Albuquerque Journal, but next time ask one of them if a cartoon like this would be perceived as “racist.” I know if I was in that newsroom I would have said “Don’t publish it!”
MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski is taking a stand. She has a three-year book deal with Harvey Weinstein’s publishing company, but she’s ending that relationship if he doesn’t resign. Saturday morning she took to Twitter to explain why.
A New York Times investigation “Harvey Weinstein Paid Off Sexual Harassment Accusers for Decades” uncovered three decades of sexual harassment allegations and at least eight legal settlements with accusers. They were everyone from two actresses to assistants.
Weinstein put together a legal team before the New York Times story came out.
It came as a surprise to many women that attorney Lisa Bloom had joined his team. She is known as a crusader for victims of sexual harassment who represented several of Bill O’Reilly’s accusers. Maybe she had a loyalty to Weinstein since his company is planning to turn Bloom’s book on Travyon Martin into a miniseries.
Bloom took a big turn on Saturday afternoon when she also quit Weinstein’s team of lawyers and consultants. She said the following on Twitter.
It is not known if Bloom’s decision was influenced by the backlash of angry women and no word yet on whether she still wants Weinstein’s company to produce the miniseries. I did send her a tweet with those questions since she made her resignation statement on Twitter.
Weinstein took a leave of absence after the Times published its story. He put out a statement trying to explain himself, blaming his behavior on growing up in the 60’s and 70’s when according to him the workplace culture was different. Here is part of his statement:
I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces
were different. That was the culture then.
I have since learned it’s not an excuse, in the office – or out of it. To anyone.
I realized some time ago that I needed to be a better person and my interactions with
the people I work with have changed.
Once again it takes Jimmy Kimmel to make us sit back and think about gun violence, the politics behind gun control and the senseless murders of innocent people.
Kimmel has become the voice of reason on late night talk shows. A few weeks ago taking on Republican lawmakers on a health care bill that he believed was not good for Americans. It appeared his influence had an impact. The Graham-Cassidy bill died when Republicans decided not to vote on it because they they didn’t have enough committed votes.
Monday night Kimmel opened his monologue choking back tears as he reminded us about the deaths, injured and wounded left behind in Las Vegas by one gunman.
Here is a transcript of Kimmel’s powerful and emotional message:
“No way to know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings”
As you know, at least 59 people are dead, hundreds of people are wounded in what they’re saying is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history coming about a year and a half after the previous deadliest mass shooting in modern American history in Orlando when 49 people lost their lives. And of course we pray for the victims and for their families and friends and we wonder why, even though there’s probably no way to know why a human being would do something like this to other human beings who are at a concert, having fun and listening to music. Jason Aldean was on stage, Luke Combs who was here with us tonight, he played the show, too. And obviously no one could have ever expected that something terrible would happen, but it did.
“…we have children without parents and fathers without sons…”
A very sick person smuggled 17 guns into his hotel room and smashed out the windows, started firing indiscriminately from the 32nd floor into a crowd of 22,000 people across the street. And as a result of that, this morning, we have children without parents and fathers without sons, mothers without daughters. We lost two police officers. We lost a nurse from Tennessee. A special ed teacher from a school here in Manhattan Beach.
It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to throw up or give up, it’s too much to even process. All these devastated families who now have to live with this pain forever, because one person with a violent and insane voice in his head managed to stockpile a collection of high-powered rifles and use them to shoot people. The guy was an accountant, he has no criminal record. His brother who lives in Florida seems totally shocked, genuinely dumbfounded, he said he saw no sign of any of this. The owner of the store that sold the killer some of the rifles said he passed the government-mandated background check when he was in the store. He wasn’t on any watchlist. He didn’t seem to have been a religious or political extremist. Came out of nowhere.
“Of course there’s something we can do about it”
Because of that, because there weren’t any of the usual signs, I’ve been reading comments from people who say, “This is terrible, but there’s nothing we can do about it.” But I disagree with that intensely. Because of course there’s something we can do about it, there’s a lot of things we can do about it. But we don’t, which is interesting. Because when someone with a beard attacks us, we tap phones, we invoke travel bans, we build walls, we take every possible precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But when an American buys a gun and kills other Americans, then there’s nothing we can about that.
The Second Amendment, I guess, our forefathers wanted us to have AK-47s is the argument, I assume. Orlando, Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, every one of these shootings the murderer used automatic or semi-automatic rifles, which are not weapons you use for self-defense. They’re weapons designed to kill large numbers of people in the shortest possible amount of time. And this guy, reportedly he had 10 of them in his room, apparently legally. At least some of them were there legally. Why is that allowed? I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen. Or better question, why do we continue to let them allow it to happen?
“…we’ll move on to the next thing, and then it will happen again and again”
Five people got shot in Lawrence, Kansas, last night, three of them died, it didn’t even make a blip because it’s just a regular part of our lives now. And you know what will happen, we’ll pray for Las Vegas. Some of us will get motivated, some of us won’t get motivated. The bills will be written, they’ll be watered down, they’ll fail. The NRA will smother it all with money and over time we’ll get distracted. We’ll move on to the next thing and then it will happen again and again.
Last night, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said this is not the time… actually it was today, this morning, she said it was not the time for political debate. I don’t know, we have 59 innocent people dead, it wasn’t their time either. So I think now is the time for political debate.
“lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because NRA has their balls in a money clip”
President Trump is visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, he spoke this morning, said he’s praying for those who lost their lives. In February, he also signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a number of other lawmakers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip, also sent their thoughts and their prayers today, which is good. They should be praying. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country, because it’s so crazy.
“These are the faces of the senators…voted against a bill that would have closed those loopholes”
Right now, there are loopholes in the law that let people avoid background checks if they buy a gun privately from another party, if they buy a gun online or at a gun show. So I want to show you something. These are the faces of the senators who, days after the shooting in Orlando, voted against a bill that would have closed those loopholes. These are the 56 senators who didn’t want to do anything about that.
“So with all due respect, your (Senators) thoughts and prayers are insufficient”
Ninety percent of Democrats, I’m not talking about politicians here, I’m talking about people and 77 percent of Republicans support background checks at gun shows. Eighty-nine percent of Democrats and Republicans are in favor of restricting gun ownership for the mentally ill. But not this gang! They voted against both of those things. So with all due respect, your thoughts and your prayers are insufficient.
By the way, the House of Representatives is voting on a piece of legislation this week. It’s a bill to legalize the sale of silencers for guns, this is what they’re working on. We have a major problem with gun violence in this country, and I guess they don’t care. If I’m wrong on that, fine, do something about it. Cause I’m sick of it.
“It feels like someone has opened a window into hell”
I want this to be a comedy show. I hate talking about stuff like this. I just want to laugh about things every night, but that it seems to becoming increasingly difficult lately. It feels like someone has opened a window into hell. And what I’m talking about tonight isn’t about gun control, it’s about common sense. Common sense says no good will ever come from allowing a person to have weapons that can take down 527 Americans at a concert. Common sense says you don’t let those who suffer from mental illness buy guns.
In June of last year, the NRA fought to make sure people on the no-fly list can buy guns. They aren’t allowed to get on a plane; they’re allowed to own a very dangerous gun. Who thinks that makes sense?! Them, I guess, the people who voted with the NRA. Maybe I’m nuts, but I would like to think we could put politics aside and agree that no American citizen needs an M-16 or 10 of them. And maybe that way, we don’t do this again. And that seems very reasonable to me.
You know, in 1980 we had a big fire at the MGM in Las Vegas. It was horrible, 85 people died, you could see the fire. I was 13 years old, I’ll never forget it. A man jumped out the window, it was a terrible thing to see. Then a few months later there was another fire at the Hilton and five people died. So you know what they did? They changed the laws. They made major changes to the fire safety codes and it hasn’t happened again. Why would we approach this differently? It’s a public safety issue, and something needs to be done already.
“Tell your congress people to do something”
So tell your congress people to do something. It’s not enough to send your love and prayers. We do, we send our love and support and whatever else is needed to Las Vegas, and to the families from all over the country and Canada who had the worst night of their lives last night.
Vegas is a funny town, it’s easy to forget people live there, but they do. Lots of good people. These people showed in droves today to donate blood, because it’s the only thing they could do, and so they did it. But there is more that we could do, and we need to do it.
“Don’t forget them”
Thank God for the police in Las Vegas, who risked their lives trying to locate the man with the gun. Thank God for the doctors and nurses and firefighters and paramedics who rose to the occasion, as they always seem to do when we need them to. And the concertgoers themselves who helped each other, who threw their bodies on top of each other, who drove their private cars full of people who were bleeding to the hospital. Don’t forget them.
“…don’t forget what’s going on in Puerto Rico…”
And don’t forget what’s going on in Puerto Rico, either. Just because they’re not the lead story today, they still need help. And if you want to help either one a good way to do that is to give to the American Red Cross … and we send all our love to our family and friends in Las Vegas and everyone affected by this terrible event.
I’m sorry for getting emotional, I’m not great with this kind of thing. But I just think it’s important, you know?
Hispanic Heritage Month starts today, September 15 and runs until October 15. It celebrates Hispanics in the U.S. It recognizes not only the Latino culture and history but also our contributions.
Congress started Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, and it was expanded to a month in 1988. The celebration coincides with the national independence days of several Latin American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica celebrate on September 15. Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16 and Belize on Sept. 21.
Topics to cover on Hispanic Heritage Month
OK for the record, Hispanic Heritage Month IS NOT about margaritas and tacos. Don’t be cliché.
Hispanic Heritage Month is about shining a light on good people and projects that profile the Latino community. Do more than one story. Produce a series of profiles or stories that run every other day or week. Here are some suggestions:
Studies being done on the Latino c ommunity by a local university or hospital.
Latino community projects that are aimed helping children, immigrants and the community as a whole.
The rise of bilingual schools and immersion schools. Who is learning Spanish as adults and children and why?
The story behind the leader: profile Latino community, church and political leaders. What in their background made them the person they are today?
The economy and Hispanic spending power
Political power and the Latino vote
Turn to resources to give you ideas
If the suggestions I have given you still don’t spark an idea for a few stories for Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some resources that can help: