FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: BA Snyder
NAHJ Delegation Has Meeting with Newsroom Leaders at Albuquerque Journal
Washington, D.C., March 5, 2018 – National President Brandon Benavides today led a meeting with an NAHJ delegation and Albuquerque Journal’s leadership in New Mexico to address the racist editorial cartoon published on Wednesday, Feb. 7 in the paper.
Region 7 Director Dianna Náñez, New Mexico Chapter President May Ortega and Past NAHJ President Dino Chiecchi joined Benavides and met with Editor-in-Chief Karen Moses, Editorial Page Editor D’Val Westphal, Managing Editor Dan Herrera and Editorial Board Member Martin Salazar.
Moses took full responsibility for the cartoon being published. Westphal described their decision as an “epic fail” that has spurred continued efforts to ensure it never happens again. Journal leadership present at the meeting openly discussed a series of unfortunate circumstances – like having a employee absent the day of the cartoon’s publication – leading up to the final mistake. They also noted the Journal’s parallel responses to NAHJ’s requests and shared details about the newsroom’s recent staff-wide meeting, where leadership apologized and listened to internal concerns. Moses said she would continue to empower the newsroom’s journalists to speak up and voice any standing or future concerns.
Moses said the Journal leadership considers this incident a learning opportunity and she has identified measures to eliminate the possibility of similar future incidents. She said that editorial process changes instituted to serve as safeguards include:
- Fact checks of editorial content
- Several journalists will review a printed copy of all editorial cartoons prior to publication
- Seek feedback from a wider group of journalists in the newsroom, to ensure content and images meet journalistic standards for accuracy and fairness
Moses expressed interest and said she would consider implementing a diversity committee on the newsroom floor.
The paper’s leadership also emphasized they have published 31 editorial pieces supporting a path to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as “Dreamers.” Moses added that her Editorial team has hosted meetings with community organizations to hear feedback on how to strengthen coverage of diverse communities.
The NAHJ delegation today thanked the Albuquerque Journal for their time to speak about the significance of last month’s error and expressed their ongoing commitment to working with the newsroom leaders as the corrective process continues.
NAHJ has yet to hear from the Santa Barbara News-Press, which is responsible for publishing the same racist editorial cartoon last week. On Thursday, March 1, NAHJ expressed its concerns about a lack of communication. The national board hopes to hear back from the newspaper’s leaders to discuss journalistic standards of transparency, accuracy and fairness.
About NAHJ The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is the largest organization of Latino journalists in the United States and dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. The mission of NAHJ is to increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms and to work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has approximately 2,200 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals and journalism educators. For more information please visit NAHJ.org or follow on Twitter @NAHJ.