The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is in crisis. The loss of this important organization would hurt the aspiring journalists our communities and nation need.
For almost four decades, NAHJ has offered Latino communications professionals in the United States and Puerto Rico a vehicle for training and networking. Thanks to the association’s programs, many Hispanic students and professionals have been able to acquire important skills that they may not have been otherwise able to afford.
No matter where they were educated or what type of Spanish they use, NAHJ also has brought a sense of cohesion to more than 2,000 professionals who on a daily basis tackle the two-fold mission of informing and advocating for the well-being of this country’s growing Hispanic community.
Despite its work in advocacy, training and job placement, in the past few years the Association has been battered by a tough economy and the challenges of adopting the technology that shapes the industry it represents. To remain afloat, the group has had to reorganize several times and is now looking for sustainable sources of income.
Organizations like NAHJ matter. Latinos represent 16% of the U.S. population, or 50 million. Yet, our representation in media remains abysmally low. And 60% of Latino journalists feel that there are fewer opportunities for them, as an NAHJ survey showed.
How Latino stories are unfolded to masses of people depends on the reporters, editors and producers covering them. So the role of NAHJ as a pipeline to newsrooms remains critical.
NAHJ is not the only key Latino organization swimming in rough waters, as private and foundation giving to these groups are scarce. But our community needs to redouble its efforts to channel resources to support and grow the organizations we need.