The NAHJ board announced on Saturday that it will release a “cultural competency guide” in January.
The organization’s president said Dianna Náñez, NAHJ’s Region 7 director, suggested the idea. Náñez oversees members in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
The concern, according to President Hugo Balta, arose after a mass shooter drove to El Paso in an effort to allegedly target Mexicans. Members of NAHJ’s board felt that news coverage did not adequately capture the gunman’s intent.
“There was a missed opportunity in the storytelling of that mass shooting,” Balta said.
Balta said at Saturday’s membership meeting that the board has since created guidelines for “all media to consider using in covering the story that is very specific to the overt attack of the immigrant community and, by association, Hispanics and Latinos.”
The guidebook is meant to especially help newsrooms that need more Latinos.
“We also need to work with all journalists in better understanding our community,” Balta said. “A community that we know and, … the census next year will show, is not only leading in the population of this country, but the economic, political and cultural growth of this country.”
Náñez urged members to reach out to NAHJ if they feel like they’re not getting enough support from their newsroom.
“If nothing else, and, even if it doesn’t change,” Náñez said, “you have that conversation.”
Valeria Olivares is a 2019 NAHJ Student Project participant. She is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso and is majoring in multimedia journalism. She is the editor-in-chief of the Prospector, UTEP’s independently-run student newspaper. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @valeriaoliesc.