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:
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
ABC News announcement of promotions
Jim Avila biography
Tom Llamas biography
Cecilia Vega biography