In the spring of 2021, more than 35 Latino journalists from across the country gathered via Zoom as we held the first meeting of the newly created National Association of Hispanic Journalists Investigative and Data Journalism Task Force.
On the agenda: How do we create an investigative and data reporting pipeline to support Latino journalists, and how do we ensure that more Latino journalists lead investigative teams?
During the meeting that seemed at times like a support group session, journalists at various stages in their careers and working for different platforms shared stories of being shut out of promotions, big assignments and professional support. We came to an inescapable conclusion: Latinos and journalists of color are missing from newsroom investigative teams across the country.
It is a systemic problem.
The task force was created to address obstacles that prevent Latinos from producing investigations, including the lack of diversity in newsrooms’ investigative teams and the dearth of Latino investigative editors. We know that without a seat at the table where key decisions are made, it will be difficult to address the disparities that affect us all.
The need for us to step up was there right in front of us and we were ready to do something about it. Because many of us know well that diversity means nothing without power, equity and justice.
The task force created a demographic survey for newsrooms. The data, which we compiled in a diversity report, confirmed the anecdotal evidence that many of our members have shared.
This summer we unveiled preliminary findings that support what we’ve long suspected: Journalists of color are almost non-existent in investigative units. The trend is worse when it comes to LGBTQ+ editors and reporters.
Our work is far from done.
As we continue our advocacy and efforts to encourage newsrooms to complete our demographic survey, we decided to share our stories. Over the coming weeks, you’ll hear from our task force members, who have written personal essays about their journeys into journalism. We’re calling this series Latino Watchdogs: Fighting for diversity and equity in newsrooms.
Read the essays
- Stepping into the world of investigative journalism as a Mexican American reporter came with challenges, but also many rewards (Yvette Cabrera)
- My watchdog journey rooted in the lessons of the past and the battle for change and good trouble (Mc Nelly Torres)
- One constant in my life as a military kid was the news airing at dinner — and now I’m a journalist (Daniela Ibarra)
- Forging my own path as a journalist was all I knew (Francisco Vara-Orta)
- As a kid, I worked in the flower business. Here’s how I found my way into investigative journalism (Norberto Santana, Jr.)
- Guiar en vez de ‘ayudar’ a la próxima generación de periodistas investigativos latinos (Mercedes Vigón)
- Cómo los muertos de María me mostraron la importancia del periodismo de investigación (David Cordero Mercado)
- Cómo mi vida me reafirmó el valor de la diversidad y el periodismo investigativo (Luis Joel Méndez González)