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Journalists Of Color Group, A House Divided

By Richard Prince, Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education 


BLACK	
AFRICAN AMERICAN
MINORITY
CIVIL RIGHTS 
DISCRIMINATION
RACISM
NAACP
URBAN LEAGUE
RACIAL EQUALITY
BIAS
EQUALITY, WOMEN
MINORITY
DISCRIMINATION
DIVERSITY
FEMALE
UNDERREPRESENTED 
EQUALITY
GENDER BIAS
EQUALITY, HISPANIC
LATINO
MEXICAN
MINORITY
CIVIL RIGHTS
DISCRIMINATION
RACISM
DIVERSITY
LATINA
RACIAL EQUALITY
BIAS
EQUALITYJoanna Hernandez says she knew of no 'gentleman's agreement.' (Credit: Washington Post)McLEAN, VA - In a contested election that is rare for the board of Unity: Journalists of Color, Joanna Hernandez, a Washington Post multiplatform editor who represents the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, was elected president of Unity on Sunday.

She defeated Barbara Ciaraof the National Association of Black Journalists, the current Unity president who was seeking a full term. Ciara told Journal-isms she felt a "gentleman's agreement" was violated: that she would win the seat unopposed.

"Obviously, there were other agendas," said Ciara, an anchor and managing editor at WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Va. She said she was told "there were those who felt that NABJ shouldn't have a second bite at the apple." The vote was 11-6.

BLACK	
AFRICAN AMERICAN
MINORITY
CIVIL RIGHTS 
DISCRIMINATION
RACISM
NAACP
URBAN LEAGUE
RACIAL EQUALITY
BIAS
EQUALITY, WOMEN
MINORITY
DISCRIMINATION
DIVERSITY
FEMALE
UNDERREPRESENTED 
EQUALITY
GENDER BIAS
EQUALITY, HISPANIC
LATINO
MEXICAN
MINORITY
CIVIL RIGHTS
DISCRIMINATION
RACISM
DIVERSITY
LATINA
RACIAL EQUALITY
BIAS
EQUALITYBarbara CiaraUnity, a coalition of the national associations of black, Hispanic, Asian American and Native American journalists, has rotated its leadership among the four groups. Since Unity's first convention in 1994, it has worked hard to overcome the cultural differences among the associations.

Still, it has been a challenge to ensure that each group feels fairly represented despite the varying sizes of their memberships. Within NABJ, the largest of the groups, there have been consistent grumblings that it was not receiving its due, considering its size.

The back story on Sunday's vote began a year ago, when Rafael Olmeda, former president of NAHJ, stepped down as Unity president, citing personal reasons. Ciara, who had been NABJ president, was chosen to complete Olmeda's term, which ends Dec. 31, and Hernandez was picked as Unity vice president. John Yearwood, world editor of the Miami Herald and chair of the Unity nominating committee, and Michaela Saunders, a reporter at the Omaha (Neb.) World Herald and board secretary, confirmed that Ciara said at the time that she did not want to give up the chance to run for a full term as president.

Traditionally, according to Ciara, the heads of the various associations would consult and agree on someone to run for each of the offices.

This year, when the board put out its call for candidates, Hernandez said, "I just took it at face value." She said she knew nothing of a "gentleman's agreement." As one who had been laid off by the New York Times in 2007, she said she believed that Unity needed to "get back to basics" — jobs, increasing diversity in newsrooms and "focusing on communities of color," she said.

"I'd like to go out to the mainstream media and get them recommitted to diversity," she said. "I'll reach out to the online world." She noted that there were contested elections in all the journalist of color elections this year and that this was a healthy development.

Ciara said she was given a heads-up a few weeks ago about a whispering campaign to deny NABJ the presidency.

"I am happy to serve in any capacity" that puts to use what she's been told are her leadership skills, Ciara said, especially as Unity prepares for its 2012 convention in Las Vegas. The convention was one reason that she sought the Unity presidency, Ciara said. No NABJ representative has presided over a Unity conference.

Ciara remains on the Unity board as a director. She said she would consult with NABJ President Kathy Times to find out how she can best serve.

Also elected to the Unity board were Leisa Richardson of NABJ, assistant metro editor of the Indianapolis Star, secretary; Sharon Chan of the Seattle Times, outgoing president of the Asian American Journalists Association, vice president; and Saunders, of the Native American Journalists Association, treasurer.


STORY TAGS: BLACK , AFRICAN AMERICAN , MINORITY , CIVIL RIGHTS , DISCRIMINATION , RACISM , NAACP , URBAN LEAGUE , RACIAL EQUALITY , BIAS , EQUALITY, WOMEN , MINORITY , DISCRIMINATION , DIVERSITY , FEMALE , UNDERREPRESENTED , EQUALITY , GENDER BIAS , EQUALITY, HISPANIC , LATINO , MEXICAN , MINORITY , CIVIL RIGHTS , DISCRIMINATION , RACISM , DIVERSITY , LATINA , RACIAL EQUALITY , BIAS , EQUALITY



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