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Immigration focus of NAHJ 24 annual convention

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 29, 2006

NAHJ lunch 

Lunch panelists Ray Suarez, Rev. David Beckmann, Lou Dobbs, Jorge Castañeda, and The Honorable Bill Richardson

Photos: Elena del Valle and Melissa Gonzalez

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) hosted its 24th annual Convention and Media Career Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida recently. More than 1,400 print, broadcast and online media representatives from across the country attended eighty workshops and seminars and took advantage of networking opportunities during the four days of the event.

Several of the presentations, including a day long workshop and a luncheon, one of the events with the highest attendance, focused on immigration issues. Ray Suarez moderated “The Great American Immigration Debate” with panelists Rev. David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World; Lou Dobbs, anchor and managing editor CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight; Jorge Castañeda, professor New York University, and The Honorable Bill Richardson, governor, New Mexico.

There were sessions in English and Spanish on dealing with stress, changes in media, photojournalism, and even the downfalls of using Spanglish, a blending of English and Spanish. Speakers and panelists ranged from network executives to newspaper columnists. Maria Elena Salinas, an Emmy-award winning anchor of Noticiero Univision, and Henry Alfaro, a newscaster and founding member of the California Chicano News Media Association, were inducted into the NAHJ Hall of Fame.

Maria Elena Salinas

Maria Elena Salinas

Immigration reform was a constant theme throughout the Convention. Sometimes with so much emphasis the topic took over the seminar. This was the case in “Missing the Mark: Newsroom Diversity In a Time of Latino Activism” where Chicano activist Juan Jose Gutierrez called immigrant workers modern day slaves.

NAHJ immigration panelists

Panelists of the all-day workshop “Immigration-A Hand’s on Workshop for Better Coverage in Your Community”

A controversial interview took place via satellite with Ricardo Alarcon the president of the Cuban National Assembly. Among the topics discussed was the treatment of journalists in the communist nation.

The convention included a Media Career Expo where sponsors had booth space. Media represented in the exhibit space included South Florida newspapers the Sun Sentinel and The Miami Herald as well as national media such as ESPN and National Public Radio. — Melissa Gonzalez contributed to this article.