Tag Archives: CNN

Maria Hinojosa on Humanity and Journalism

It’s all about the humanity
      Not a love fest, but close.
     At the annual Journalism and Women Symposium 2010 camp  in Boerne, Texas this weekend, legendary broadcast journalist and keynote speaker Maria Hinojosa had the more than 100 attendees on her side Saturday night before she stepped to the podium and said hello. And then she took off her left black suede platform pump to show it off and the crowd of veteran, emerging and acclaimed traditional and nontraditional journalists was hooked.    
      “We’re working journalists in America, telling important stories, how can we complain?” The author, anchor and managing editor of NPR’s “Latino USA,” as well as WGBH’s “One on One with Maria Hinonjosa,”added, “The drama of American life is all around us, how do we not tell their stories?”
      In 25 years as a journalist, including eight years at CNN, Hinojosa has been lauded with awards from Emmys to the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award for her work telling stories and documentaries that represent “the drama of American life.”
      Born in Mexico City the youngest of four children, Hinojosa told the story of her petite mother convincing the customs officer to let the entire family go through to meet her father, a doctor already working in Chicago. It is that spirit of determination and confidence that drives her, she said.
    “My agenda is to make people feel things and to talk to people who don’t have a chance to be heard,” Hinojosa said. “My responsbility as a journalist is to find that humanity so we can all have hope.”
    Speaking candidly and without a prepared script, some journalists in the audience commented she could have arrived more prepared. But the standing ovation said it all.
    “I know I am seen as a role model,” Hinojosa said. “And I don’t want to walk away.”  
     
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Features, Media, News, Newspapers

From Dollies to PMS and More of the Same

Not even two weeks after International Women’s Day, when the website for the March 8 event urged women to click and tell their stories, I am left wondering why we don’t understand that half the world needs more than a day in our honor. And why then,  if by default, the other 364 days are automatically International Men’s Days.  And what in the world we are still doing with mostly gender-avoidant media.

The media coverage of the day about the day seemed gratuitious, especially since most of the online and broadcast stories were splashed with Sandra Bullock’s Oscar win that night.       As we all know now, that wasn’t even the real story. Never mind.

In the superbly reported and written Newsweek  story this week,  “Sexism at Work: Young Women, Newsweek and Gender,” the “dollies”  write:

“Female bylines at major magazines are still outnumbered by seven to one; women are just 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs and less than a quarter of law partners and politicians. That imbalance even applies to the Web, where the founder of a popular copywriting Web site, Men With Pens, revealed late last year that ‘he’ was actually a she. ‘I assumed if I chose a male name [I’d] be viewed as somebody who runs a company, not a mom sitting at home with a child hanging off her leg,’ the woman says. It worked: her business doubled once she joined the boys’ club.”

All of this points to what my finely feminist writer friends label the “pale, male, stale” (or what I call PMS) status quo.  And then CNN attacked Politico for doing more of the same:.

Politico’s John F. Harris is on the defensive over the diversity of his staff after CNN’s Reliable Sources showed an editorial meeting that featured an all-white crowd and few women.

The publication’s editor-in-chief told Journal-isms columnist Richard Prince that the camera shots didn’t reflect the diversity of Politico’s staff, especially when it came to the number of women who work at the organization. Harris, however, refused to discuss actual numbers with Prince, saying “our corporate policies don’t allow me to release numerical data.”

The Reliable Sources segment was designed to show Politico’s preparation for covering the vote over the health care bill.

Blogging about the PMS for editorsweblog.org, Alexandra Jaffe wrote:

“(The editorial meeting) was pathetic.  All white folks at the table deciding the stories to cover.  Not one African American or any other minority,” says a journalist in an e-mail to the National Association of Black Journalists e-mail list.
Another laments: “How can they consider themselves ‘new media’ when they look just like the old media?”

The lack of diversity at this meeting was striking because of the visual uniformity of the scene, but it reflects a developing trend in the newsroom.  Although minorities compose over 33 percent of the population in the U.S., in 2008, as reported by the American Society of News Editors in their annual census, only 13.4 percent of journalists were people of color.  

Women fare only marginally better, with seven male bylines printed at major magazines for every one female byline.  Newsweek, which has a 39 percent female editorial board, reports that the four most common jobs for women today are stereotypically “pink-collar” jobs, with 43 percent of women working as secretaries, nurses, teachers and cashiers.  Of Newsweek‘s 49 cover stories last year, men wrote all but six.  And only two women currently work as editors of top circulation dailies in the U.S.

I teach my students at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University about the necessity of inclusiveness, about diversity of thought and how it shifts content and how every source for every story must be considered for race, age, gender, ideaology, geography, disability, education, income and orientation. You can’t get a broad diversity of sources on all stories, but you have to try. Why? Because it improves the journalism. Stories cease to be flat and become fully dimensional.

And then I came home to see my son, Brendan’s, new issue of Men’s Health. On the cover? “Cars! Beers! Breasts! And 9 Other Things Worth Living and Dying For.”

What more can I say.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features, Media, News, Newspapers, Uncategorized