Posts Tagged journalism
Are you ready for Unity Lite? Some thoughts on the Hispanic withdrawal and the future of the minority journalism group once known for its unity; (UPDATING with “Post-Racial” Unity)
I’m not sure if there is a point to Unity if two of the biggest groups have decided to abandon whatever sense of unity might exist among minority journalists.
When the black journalists left the group and weren’t at the convention last year I was dismayed. But I thought maybe Unity could still survive, especially if there was even a remote possibility of NABJ returning.
Now that the Hispanic journalists of NAHJ have pulled out, I think it’s really over.
Here was NAHJ President Hugo Balta’s message on its website this week:
“As I’ve repeatedly stated NAHJ is open to working with UNITY and look forward to discussing proposals that meet our mutual [associations'] mission.
“We wish UNITY good luck in their future endeavors.”
Sound like the kiss-off speech you get when you’re fired or laid off?
(Haven’t experienced that ever? Then you’re really a protected minority).
If two of the biggest groups aren’t represented, we have a different kind of “Unity” that is no longer unified, diverse, nor even necessary.
A group that includes AAJA, the Asian American journalists group, and the two smallest minority journalism groups from the LGBT and Native American communities, represents an organization with diminished numbers, resources, and power.
We should have figured something like this would happen when the tag line was changed last year from “Journalists of Color” to “Journalists for Diversity.” Diversity? Or some reasonable facsimile?
Diversity without the two biggest minority groups in the organization is just a joke.
It’s also disheartening, though not surprising, to see business and financial reasons come up as the wedge that divides the different groups over the common goal of diversity.
Of course, joining a bigger group makes perfect sense to the minority of minority journalism groups representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, and Native Americans.
But how can Unity make sense for everyone else?
What kind of formula would lure back NABJ, NAHJ?
What kind of arrangement is needed to keep even AAJA members interested?
The current president Paul Cheung has just sent an e-mail to AAJA members, saying that since July the remaining alliance members are working to restructure Unity to make it “more nimble, flexible, and financially sound.” Furthermore, it says AAJA has taken a leadership role in coming up with solutions.
I’ll be open to whatever the remaining Unity reps come up with. But if it doesn’t compel NABJ or NAHJ to re-join, then it may not be good enough.
The group certainly shouldn’t be called Unity.
I’ve been to every Unity convention and believe in the mission of bringing the power of all the organizations together to make our case for diversity together.
But what good is a new and nimble Unity without the blacks and Hispanics?
Do we really need Unity Lite?
(Clarification: NAHJ as of August had 1,279 members and was the second largest Unity partner. AAJA was the largest with 1,597 members in August. NABJ withdrew from Unity in 2011. It has nearly 3,000 members, according to Richard Prince’s Journalisms/Maynard Institute website).
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ADDENDUM: (10/24/13, 11:24 am PDT)
Without the blacks and Hispanics, you essentially have a GAAJANA (Gay Asian American Journalists Association/Native Americans). It would be a different organization, just not “Unity.” And probably not worth it to organizations to take time from their own specific concerns. Too bad the formal idea has already been built and established, but there’s no will to do what’s right for all. No one uses the good of the people argument here.
A “Unity” without all the groups is really like a Congress without 50 states. But Congress has its problems with gridlock and “doing the right thing.” Why did we expect anything different with our journalism organizations?
UPDATE (10/24/13 11:43 am PDT )
Disappointment but willingness to let go from a significant early member of Unity, who compared the situation to marriage, essentially saying sometimes it doesn’t work out and you move on. That’s a sign that the old Unity is really gone forever. Anything from here on will be brand new and be very different.
Initially, I called it Unity Lite. But it’s really a kind of “Post-Racial” Unity.
So here’s an idea:Why don’t we just try to diversify existing mainstream groups like SPJ, RTNDA, and the like instead of creating a brand new Unity?
I just started up on Facebook again.
Maybe it was because I just went to a journalism conference and there was more interest it seemed in the digital media than there was in any other form of media. Should I trust it, most of the people at the conference don’t even know what a typewriter was. But it’s a fact. FB is the internet, the better AOL, the place where people are. So I am now on Facebook:
I’m on “Emil Guillermo Media” https://www.facebook.com/emilguillermo.media Like me there.
And so as not to confuse my professional writing from my personal musings and pictures of food and stuff Asian Americans like me like to post:
You will note that I was an early adopter of FB, starting up when they opened to the general public in 2007. But I’m slow. I didn’t become addicted until last week.
That’s all as a preface to this note I posted on FB last week and that I repost here on my personal website. You see, I had an unintentional “life event” on FB, and I got to see how FB works so powerfully to connect people at the drop of the hat.
But as the Wall Street Journal would say, it required some “Clarification and Amplifcation.”
Here’s my note:
Dear Friends. I won’t bury the lead. I didn’t get married today. But hear me out, it’s kind of an interesting story. This is the first time I’ve been able to get to the computer to make amends for my errant post this a.m. As many of you know, I have “stayed away” from Facebook for many years. I was a bad FB’er. Maybe it was because I remember the original hardbound Facebook, where I would try to figure out how to meet some cute freshman from Radcliffe. But recently, I’ve been convinced that I should get on this thing (Zuckerberg will have Asian American babies and they will need help fighting any glass ceilings they might face). It’s also better than “aol” and where else can I go on the internet? www.amok.com? So I have become a “user.” But still a neophyte. As I adjusted my status from “nothing” to “married,” I was in the wrong update area. And so instead of simply saying “I’m married,” it posted I had a life event and “got married.” This, of course, was news to my wife of 26 years as well. So this is turning into a life event all the same. I am hearing from many people who wish me well. I am grateful for that and I’m sorry to alarm you, though it is a bit like a happier, cyber version of Huck and Tom attending their own funeral. My wife Kathy and I actually eloped and many years ago (26 years this month) and never had a big party, so this is a reminder that when we do get around to that big party, you all can show up on FB and real life. We weren’t registered anywhere for this, so no harm there. I’m just gratified to see so many well wishers and hope this explanation helps straighten things out. And please rest assured, I did not do this to get another column topic. Though, I will add this to my file of “Adventures in learning FB.” This is my personal site where you will get stuff like this.Go to the Emil Guillermo Media fb site to get my other writing. Best to you all, Emil P.S. and next time I get married, you definitely will be the first to know.
Diversity’s recession-era failure: The numbers show Unity was cash cow for all, but black journalists wanted more
As a journalist who attended every Unity and believed in the mission, I was concerned about NABJ pulling out of Unity. And I admit to being surprised I didn’t hear outcry from others.
Maybe people don’t care anymore.
In recession era diversity, where the buck matters more than the principle,it’s just not the same.
But a piece from the Poynter Institute sheds a little light on why no one on the Unity board is all that broken up about the black journalists’ withdrawal.
Everyone made money.
It’s just that NABJ wanted what it saw as its fair share.
According to the Poynter Institute story, NABJ chose solvency over solidarity. But it really wasn’t going broke. It wanted more money for extra programs and felt it should get more out of the Unity cash cow.
To me that’s a bit selfish when you’re talking about the kind of non-profit mission Unity was on.
Beyond that, Unity’s revenues were pretty healthy, about $6 million from the 2008 convention, mostly coming from registration (1.8 million), sponsorships ($2.5 million), and the career fair ($1.4 million).
Here’s the revenue split based on the Poynter story’s numbers:
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), $427,259.
The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA ),$396,011.
The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), $143,197.
NABJ felt that it deserved even more since it brought in 53 percent of paid registrants and 38 percent of the estimated 7,500 attendees. It amounted to $574,407.
With NABJ gone, the revenue split won’t be as robust. But the organizations working together still should make more than they would with individual conventions. That windfall has always helped to save all the journalism groups that have battled huge deficits in recent years.
Given that, what do you make of NABJ’s compromise ideas on redoing the revenue share? One of the proposals would actually hurt the smaller groups.
Doesn’t sound like NABJ was all that into solidarity from the beginning.
Still organizations are being very political.
“AAJA is disappointed that NABJ has withdrawn from Unity,” said AAJA President Doris Truong during a morning conference call today. “ But now we have to move forward. We wanted NABJ to stay in the alliance but we wish them well. We will never close the door to NABJ.”
So NABJ is gone, and all that’s left is a bigger share of a smaller pie for the journalism groups that remain. Not the end of the world, but the end of something.
Unity was the biggest model for how real diversity could work in America.
When Unity fails to unite, that’s sad.
NABJ, the National Association of Black Journalists, pulls out of 2012 Unity convention: Not a good sign for coalitions of color
Read my column at http://www.aaldef.org/blog to see why it’s a shock that the black journalists group has pulled out of Unity.
Established in 1994 to be a prime example of diversity in action, Unity’s biggest accomplish was just being there every four years, thousands of journalists of color all together.
When NABJ says it wants more of cut from the big confab that Unity puts on simply because it’s bigger, that’s a bad sign not just for diversity advocates in journalism but for any coalitions based on minority groups of varying size.
Who gets the bigger say? What happened to the greater good?
Greater what? NABJ essentially is saying don’t take it personally bleeding hearts. It’s just business.
And when the largest group pulls out of Unity, what are you left with?
Nether unity, nor Unity.