October 22, 2013

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ national board voted Tuesday to exit from Unity: Journalists for Diversity, the umbrella group that once housed all major minority journalists’ organizations.

The vote, 13 to 2 with three absences, followed a recommendation earlier this month by NAHJ representatives calling on the association to withdraw from Unity. The representatives cited Unity’s “financial disorganization.”

In a message to members posted on the group’s website, NAHJ President Hugo Balta said:

It’s a bitter sweet decision.The board believes in the concept of UNITY, but feels the organization needs to reform to meet the new challenges minority journalists are facing in an industry that is continuously changing.

As I’ve repeatedly stated NAHJ is open to working with UNITY and look forward to discussing proposals that meet our mutual association’s mission. We wish UNITY good luck in their future endeavors.

Unity President David Steinberg said in a statement on the organization’s website: “We are saddened by the loss of a key member of the UNITY alliance but will continue to work with NAHJ and its members in the fight to increase diversity in newsrooms and news coverage.”

The group said it remains committed to improving diversity in the news industry. “In 2012, people of color made up 37 percent of the U.S. population, and they are expected to become the majority in 2043. Yet journalists of color made up only 12 percent of newsrooms surveyed by the American Society of News Editors in 2012.”

With NAHJ’s departure from Unity, only the Asian American Journalists Association, National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association and Native American Journalists Association remain. The National Association of Black Journalists left Unity in 2011.


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