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Changing the complexion of news media calls for revolución

By Zita Arocha


It’s time to shatter the myth that young Latino journalists won’t leave home for jobs in news media.

This thought and others flashed in neon across my mind as I sipped white wine recently in a San Antonio ballroom to celebrate 30 years of tilling the soil to transform newsrooms into diverse work places by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

As the speeches and awards played out on stage, I recalled the offensive words of a top news media recruiter not so many years ago. The recruiter, in his early fifties, had come from Washington, DC to UT El Paso, where I teach journalism, to meet with our journalism students. We thought he was coming to talk about jobs and internships.

Instead he lambasted me and my journalism colleagues for producing journalism graduates who “aren’t aggressive enough, do not speak up and refuse to leave home for jobs elsewhere.”

Old stereotypes linger among recruiters While we were all too stunned to respond, his insensitive comments didn’t surprise me. I’d heard them before. Throughout many decades of championing diversity in news media and attending “minority” journalism conferences, other media recruiters and trainers have expressed similar sentiments, although in private, about Latino journalism students like the ones I teach on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The trope goes like this…

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