Posts Tagged journalism
I’ve been coming to these conventions since the very first one in the 80s. But the “convention” has evolved, as has the media itself. It’s more like a modest, yet big meeting. But still very valuable as it brings together veterans and young people who haven’t given up on journalism as a career, or as a way to make a difference.
The drive for diversity plays some role in that, but the young are less conscious about the civil rights aspect of journalism. Free speech? First Amendment? The new generation hates trolls slightly more than racists. (Sometimes they’re one and the same. But in this digital post-racial world, racism doesn’t quite compute. Until you experience it first hand).
Generational differences in perspective actually make AAJA more interesting. In DC, I said hello to old friends, some who met their spouses at AAJA, had babies while at AAJA. Some have kids who have entered journalism/media/writing.
My personal memory from my years of convention going? It’s not asking Connie Chung a question in an open meeting about her lack of involvement with AAJA. It’s not even our nice chat at the 2010 LA convention when we were both among the “Pioneers.” No, my personal AAJA story is about coming back from an opening night of the first Chicago convention, and then being forced to leave the next day.
I got a call. My mother had died.
AAJA. It’s journalism, life, and death.
These days at conventions, I speak more often to young people than the veterans. (Most of the best ones have retired, or like Dith Pran, have passed on).
In DC, I’ve met with young men and women who are working their way through the path we’ve left.
And with each one, comes a reminder of why we’re all in this game to begin with and why we stay.
We’re all yearning to have a voice.
Unemployed critic, a journalist of color gets aid from internet: Craig Lindsey shows minority journalists aren’t part of some protected class
I feel for Craig Lindsey, a laid off critic, who went on-line saying he will be “snarky” for food.
He’s also African American.
At least he didn’t have to go on traffic island and get red-light donations.
It was the first news story of 2014 that I saw, reported in Richard Prince’s Journa-lisms blog. (See link below).
When I got laid off at NPR, a top network TV exec had lunch with me and offered no job.
Said exec: “Time to be entrepreneurial.”
That’s what modern corporatists call” do-it-yourself welfare.”
That was in 1991, the beginning of the end of the notion of “safety net.”
Republicans have perfected the idea since then. More than a million lost their unemployment benefits last week. Another million could lose benefits by February.
Craig’s story reminded me how there’s some myth that journalists of color are spared from layoffs, as we’re somehow part of some “protected” class. You know, how minorities got their jobs to fill some imaginary quota to have diversity in newsrooms.
Never been my experience. There’s still a form of “last hired, first fired” at work out there.
Call it “Reverse Equality.”
As I was reading about Craig, I saw a network report on a morning show by a reporter, who 15 years ago was the hot female anchor on the network. Now she is rarely seen and plays utility reporter, national news quickies from the New York desk.
But she’s weathered all economic storms. She’s white, female. And protected.
See Richard Prince in “Journal-isms” on Craig Lindsey:
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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.