The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists.
NAHJ is governed by an 18-member board of directors that consists of executive officers and regional directors who represent geographic areas of the United States and the Caribbean. The national office is located in Washington, D.C.
NAHJ has approximately 2,374 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals and journalism educators.
- To organize and provide support for Hispanic Journalists.
- To encourage and support the study and practices of journalism and communications by Hispanics.
- To promote accurate and fair treatment of Hispanics by the news media.
- To further employment opportunities and career development for Hispanics in the news media.
- To foster greater understanding of the unique cultural identity, interests and concerns of Hispanic Journalists.
The beginnings of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) can be traced back to a 1982 convention in San Diego. Organized by the California Chicano News Media Association (CCNMA) and a few journalists from the rest of the country, the convention attracted 300 participants. Hispanic journalists throughout the United States had already started an informal professional network, meeting at seminars sponsored by other industry groups, such as the American Society of Newspapers Editors. The need for a formal national organization grouping all Latino journalists had reached full maturity by the 1982 San Diego convention.
At the time, the largest organization of its type was the Los Angeles-based CCNMA. Following the San Diego conference, CCNMA decided to take the leading role in building the national group. The California association lent its executive director support and resources to the emerging NAHJ. After obtaining 50,000 in seed money from the Freedom Forum (then the Gannett foundation), an organizing committee was formed. It included 15 men and women representing the Mexican-American, Cuban and Puerto Rican communities, the three largest Hispanic sub-groups in the United States.
Displaying extraordinary energy and resolve, the organizing committee held meetings in Miami, Denver, Chicago and New York, in order to promote the national group concept and work out the details of the organization. After two years of arduous work, the articles of incorporation for NAHJ were finally signed in February of 1984.
At first, NAHJ operated out of L A, but for three reasons, it became apparent that a different venue was required. First, NAHJ needed to acquire a separate identity from CNNMA. Second, California Latinos were and are majority Mexican-American, and that did not accurately reflect the diversity of the Hispanic community. And finally, NAHJ had to participate with other industry groups in common areas of interest. In 1985, NAHJ established its headquarters in the National Press Building in Washington, D.C.
What originally started with 120 members burgeoned to 600 by the second year. Today, there are more than 2,000 members nationwide. More funds were also attracted, from $150, 000 in the first year, to an annual budget of over $800,000 by the end of 2012.
Today, NAHJ is an organization with deep regional roots and strong national presence. An active network has been created linking Hispanic journalists regionally and across the country. Programs and activities develop by the association are widely recognized as groundbreaking and tremendously effective for our colleges. Most importantly, NAHJ is still growing, both in memberships and activities. NAHJ policies and projects are geared to foster the interest of Hispanics students in Journalism.