Skye Ray @theskyeray
For years, the biggest organization for Hispanic journalists in the nation has partnered with the country’s most watched cable network. However, this year those ties were called less than a month before the 2019 Excellence in Journalism Conference.
Every couple of years, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Radio Television Digital News Association receive a $50,000 sponsorship from FOX News for the annual Excellence in Journalism conference.
Each organization receives $16,666.00. This year NAHJ decided to return that money.
NAHJ President Hugo Balta says that his organization has had enough of FOX due to the use of words in commentaries. That includes FOX commentators using words describing the migrant community as illegal aliens and illegals. The last straw between NAHJ and FOX News was when Todd Starnes likend immigrants to Nazi.
“There’s a culture at Fox News where sirens and others feel they have a blank check in using that type of inaccurate, categorization of this community and in stamping opinion on it and saying it’s okay because it’s an opinion,” Balta said.
Balta does not want FOX to change their conservative narrative as a whole, but to make their commentary more factual.
“It’s about saying have the discussion, have the debate whether it’s right or left, but let it be based on facts,” Balta continued.
The bold move has been very visible throughout this year’s conference. Conference attendees have the choice to pick a FOX conference bag, or an NAHJ bag. EIJ ordered more than 1,000 convention bags with the FOX logo and no more than 600 bags from NAHJ. On Friday afternoon, there were plenty of Fox bags still on the table at the registration desk, while the NAHJ bags were gone the first day.
SPJ President, Patricia Newbury understands NAHJ’s decision but wouldn’t do it herself as a person,even though one of SPJ’s regional chapters SPJLA thinks they should.
“As the next president of SPJ, I stand with NAHJ in negating the truth of those comments. SPJ as a board does not support, rejecting Fox as a sponsor or giving back their sponsorship dollars.”
RTDNA Executive Director Dan Shelley declined an interview, but sent us a statement in part saying,
“In recent months we’ve heard from our members and many other journalists who have been impacted by a growing environments of hate in our country. RTDNA believes the best way we can fight Tate is by training journalists to produce news that will inform the public and shine a light on the truth.”
SPJ and RTDNA’s decision to accept FOX’s sponsorship was disappointing to Balta.
“I think there was a moment that they missed where we could have come together and have a longer discussion that words matter, that there are consequences,” Balta said.
Fox also declined interviews and Marsheila Hayes, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion, issued a statement that said in part, “It is unfortunate that the country’s main organization for Hispanic journalists has chosen to exclude Fox News from their upcoming convention,” the statement read.
“We are committed to fostering a diverse and collaborative workplace environment and have been recognized in the industry for our advancement in this area. Most notably with our multimedia reporter program, we are proud of our inclusive team and their achievements in journalism.
Newberry still has hope for the damaged relationship between the conference and NAHJ.
“I do hope that going forward we can repair any damage in the relationship and work together. if not on EIJ, at least in other ways to serve journalists and journalism,” Newberry said.
Tagged under: EIJ, EIJNews, Excellence in Journalism, Journalism, NAHJ, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, RTDNA, SPJ, San Antonio, Texas, eij news, eij19, society of professional journalists