Posted in Breaking News, Discrimination, Human Interest

How the Washington Post’s ‘White, and in the minority’ fuels racial divide, and more anger and hate against immigrants and Latinos

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Screenshot: Washington Post Website

 

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.

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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.

SOURCES

Latino Rebels
NAHJ 

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Posted in Human Interest, Latino Community, Professional Tips

How journalists should cover Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15- Oct. 15

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Courtesy: Mansfield ISD

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.

Background

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:

  • Hispanic entrepreneurs
  • Studies being done on the Latino c ommunity by a local university or hospital.
  • Hispanic philanthropists
  • 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?
  • Latino artists
  • Hispanic educators
  • 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:

Huffington Post Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month – Library of resources and topics

Facts about U.S. Latinos about Hispanic Heritage Month

Fun facts about Hispanic Heritage Month

Remember as Latinos we want to see our stories all year long. Recognize this important month but don’t stop telling our stories when Hispanic Heritage Month is over.

Posted in Breaking News, Human Interest, Latino Community

Mercado Bilingüe, the small Dallas newspaper with a big vision for our Latino community

It’s nice to see that two of my stories have made the front page of  Mercado Bilingüe’s online site. One was about the impact of Pope Francis’ visit and the other about a Texas group fighting to get water breaks for construction workers.

But this blog is actually a big shout out to Mercado Bilingüe and Editor-and-Chief Phillip Morales who allows me to write opinion pieces and cover stories that affect our DFW Latino community. Something I’ve always wanted to do as a journalist.

A while back I realized Mercado Bilingüe was making an impact in North Texas. It is a small weekly newspaper but one with a big vision. The vision is to cover stories that mainstream media often ignores. Stories that are impacting Latinos and their families. You can also read Mercado Bilingüe online.

When I worked in local television news in Dallas, doing a positive story on Latinos was nearly impossible. Breaking news and blood and guts feeds the local television news beast every day. The only Latinos I covered as a TV reporter were those accused of committing a crime or victims. I also covered many immigration stories. That was my job and I was good at it.

But Latinos are more than stories about immigration and undocumented workers.  We’re business leaders, scientists, doctors, lawyers, community leaders, teachers, fundraisers and much more. We are contributing every day in local neighborhoods and businesses.

Today small news outlets around the country like Mercado Bilingüe are giving readers, even non-Latinos a good and important choice. Would you rather watch another local crime story on television or read a story in Mercado Bilingüe that can inspire and empower you as a person?

I also applaud Morales for embracing this veteran news woman. At a time when many news managers are actually posting jobs that read “Looking for a young eager reporter to cover…”, Morales realizes that age has nothing to do with good journalism.

Funny story, a local newspaper manager turned me down for work because he claimed I didn’t have enough newspaper experience.  My decades of experience in television news didn’t count for him. Yes, doors are closed even for women like me with 50 journalism awards and nominations.

My last bit of good news, I will be covering the 2016 Presidential race for Mercado Bilingüe. I love politics. As Latinos we are a huge voting block and I will be finding out what the candidates have planned for us.

Posted in News Now

ABC News promotes Latinos to weekend anchors and 2016 election team

Big changes at ABC News.

The network announced today that two Latinos, Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas have been promoted to anchor ABC’s “World News Tonight” Saturday and Sunday editions.  Both are accomplished award-winning journalists with a resume of experience.

Also announced today: Vega, Llamas and Senior National Correspondent, Jim Avila have been named to ABC’s 2016 Presidential Election Team.

In my opinion this is HUGE!

Two Latinos named to anchor weekend news at the same time has to be a first in media history, and definitely at ABC News. Yes, Elizabeth Vargas filled the seat on her own a few years ago.

Naming three Latinos to the prestigious presidential election team has to be a first too. In 2012 you hardly saw any Latino journalists assigned to election coverage on any of the network or cable channels.  Jim Avila will be a great addition because he can cover any story and he knows politics. He’s also currently Fusion’s White House correspondent.

The promotion of Vega, Llamas, and Avila is a big deal to the Latino community, because finally we’re seeing people that look like us on network news and on big assignments. I’ve been watching network news for decades and finally I’m seeing good change.

ABC News has done a great job of hiring more qualified Latino journalists and now the promotions of these three correspondents is a sign that we are being included in all areas of network news. Congrats to Cecilia, Jim and Tom!  I know they’ll continue to do outstanding work.

More information:

ABC News announcement of promotions

Jim Avila biography

Tom Llamas biography 

Cecilia Vega biography