NAHJ leaders cite Unity's 'financial disorganization,' ask board to vote to leave

NAHJ | Unity | Maynard Institute | CJR


National Association of Hispanic Journalists representatives on Unity: Journalists for Diversity's board "are asking the NAHJ national board to vote in favor of leaving UNITY," they write in a statement on NAHJ's site.

UNITY’s financial disorganization continues to be a frustration with the NAHJ reps on the UNITY board and the NAHJ executive director. It has been over a year since the August 2012 UNITY conference and we have not seen detailed financial reports for the 2012 conference.

The statement also says Unity "doesn’t have the resources to be an advocate for our organization and it usually is the last organization to issue statements on issues affecting the industry."

Unity "must show greater financial accountability," the organization's new president, David A. Steinberg, wrote in a message to members. "We can reduce costs and staffing needs by focusing the staff on planning the joint convention and garnering funding for UNITY and the alliance organizations’ work." Steinberg told Maynard Institute columnist Richard Prince, "The entire UNITY board, including representatives from NAHJ, approved the financial structure for the 2012 convention, which earmarked money for UNITY's operational costs."

Prince reported in August that NAHJ was considering an exit from the group.

If NAHJ leaves, the coalition would comprise "two of the original four journalist-of-color associations and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association," Prince writes. Besides NLGJA, the Asian American Journalists Association and the Native American Journalists Association would remain in the group.

Steinberg told Columbia Journalism Review writer Tracie Powell he didn't expect the National Association of Black Journalists, which withdrew from Unity in 2011, would be "in a position to say yes to rejoining tomorrow." NABJ President Bob Butler cited financial and organizational concerns and told Powell, “Once those issues are resolved, we can have that conversation. Until that time, we cannot have that conversation.”

Steinberg also told Powell he would look at Unity's staffing and "establish an advisory board made up of representatives of other journalism organizations—including NABJ and the Society of Professional Journalists as well as the American Society of News Editors—who share UNITY’s vision and can help promote media diversity."

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.

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