A virtual town hall open to NAHJ members in good standing will take place on May 21, at 8pm – 9pm EST

Washington, D.C. – A virtual town hall open to NAHJ members in good standing will take place on May 21, at 8pm – 9pm EST, to discuss the 2020 election cycle postponement.  

The registration link is noted at the bottom of this guide. In addition to answering member’s questions, the focus of the town hall discussion will revolve around the next steps to mitigate similar predicaments during any future national crisis by bringing the organization’s bylaws up to present times. 

A prosperous future for NAHJ is dependent first by taking the difficult but inevitable measures now. This is the time for unity as an organization. Our survival depends on it.

NAHJ is stronger than ever, financially sound, and with record membership. But the strength of the organization’s future is only guaranteed by decisions made today that afford us consistency and stability to navigate uncharted waters.  

 Persevering through a crisis means determining priorities in order of importance and urgency.  In the case of NAHJ, the primary issues lie in financial and operating capacity.       

In an effort to prepare members for an exchange of ideas and discussion points, please note these items provided by the national board of directors: 

Timeline: 

On April 16, and after much consideration, the board voted to suspend any radical change due to financial and time capacity limitations during the current pandemic. Additionally, the uncertainty with the annual gathering in July created an obsolete timeline per the current association bylaws.

The NAHJ National Board met in executive session due to the sensitivity of the organization’s (and that of conference partner NABJ) contractual obligations to the hotels and convention center. Discussing the matter publicly would have compromised NAHJ’s footing in negotiations.

The initial election date had to be postponed because the annual physical conference was in limbo. We were in the midst of negotiations with the convention hotel and at the risk of losing more than $1 million if we canceled. Thankfully, that matter was resolved but could not be shared publicly until a later date.  

With the recent confirmation of the #NABJNAHJ20 Convention dates — and following a robust discussion that included some concerns raised by members — the national board chose to review its determination to ensure the vote remained in the best interest of the association.

While a new date is scheduled for a virtual gathering, the challenge remains for us to be able to pull this off successfully. The national board has complete confidence in the limited staff, but time is of the essence. 

Not only with the election itself, but the onboarding of new directors requires additional resources NAHJ  does not have at this time and would cause disruption with the day to day operations that the association relies on to exist and move forward.  

To onboard a new group of 12 directors in a subpar fashion would be irresponsible. Traditionally, to bring a new board member up to speed and working for the benefit of the organization, is a five to sixth-month process that during a national crisis is far too much time lost and can quickly create instability within the organization.

In addition to the necessary due diligence, the proper management of a full digital election would divert the staff’s attention from the organization of the virtual conference and create an increased expense to the organization than any year prior. 

The next election’s call for nominations will begin in Spring 2021.  NAHJ Leadership is also recommending to all local chapters to temporarily keep leadership in place for one additional year.

The final evaluation by the NAHJ board of directors, although difficult and perhaps unpopular to some, determined the immediate priority during a national crisis to preserve our organization’s survival. 

We know consistency and patience through this uncertain period will provide a more solid association for the long term.  

We’ve lost too many Hispanic journalists to the demise of newsrooms, layoffs, and bankruptcies. We’ve lost too many Latino lives to wars and violence and now to COVID-19, the effects of which we are just beginning to experience. 

Our mission now is to ensure that we pave the way for the next generation of journalists, to continue to fight for diversity in the newsrooms, to ensure that our communities are fairly and accurately portrayed.

To attend the upcoming virtual town hall, you must be a member in good standing. You may register here, but please note the email you register with will be the one you must use for Zoom on May 21. 

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About the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (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 the news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has approximately 2,500 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. 

Media Contact: 

BA Snyder
Veritas Group for NAHJ
512.630.6337
BA@VeritasAustin.com