Union-Tribune agrees to a Latino advisory committee
One thing you can say about San Diego Union-Tribune editor Jeff Light is that he isn’t afraid to face his critics, whether that’s CityBeat, art patrons, or the National Hispanic Media Coalition.
Sometimes it doesn’t work out for him. Today it did.
This afternoon, representatives from NHMC and local Latino groups met with Light to discuss diversity in the paper’s newsroom and coverage.
“We’re very positive,” NHMC President and CEO Alex Nogales told CityBeat in a phone interview after the meeting. “We like Jeff, we like Hieu [Tran Phan, Topic editor] and we expect to have a fruitful partnership with them.”
As a result of the meeting, the Union-Tribune will work with the community to form a “Latino advisory committee” that will provide recommendations for how the paper may best serve the Hispanic community, Nogales said.
Earlier this month, CityBeat reported that NHMC was recruiting community members for an organized to response to the newspaper layoffs of columnist Ruben Navarrette and several other staffer who were Hispanic or covering Hispanic interests. Via email, Light told us he respected the NHMC and would be happy to meet with them.
The meeting with Light lasted an hour and a half and also included Border Angels founder Enrique Morones, Center for Academic and Social Advancement board member Olivia Puetes-Reynolds and Gus Chavez, the respected activist who took on filmmaker Ken Burns for leaving Latinos out of his World War II documentary.
Nogales describes the meeting as a first step that will lead to action in the “very near future.” The next move will be to assemble the committee to come up with specific recommendations ranging from the make-up of the editorial board to how best to cover minority communities.
“This is about inclusion, this about making sure that Latinos are included in not only the stories but the employment and management ranks,” Nogales said. “It is to the paper’s benefit to do exactly this… Jeff is willing to work with us to make sure that diversity does exist in terms of the Latino community as well as other communities of color.”
We’ll update with Light’s response once he returns our call.