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Archive for the ‘Diversity’ Category
21 Feb

NENPA: My #realtalk presentation to newsroom leaders

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I was invited to speak at the New England Newspaper Publishers Association in Boston to talk about industry challenges, pulling no punches. “We would be quite interested in your views on what most newspapers appear to be doing right or wrong, and the best path forward,” the invitation said.

I had been invited to speak at a different newspaper publishers association in the past.

It didn’t work out. (I got uninvited when I told them my topic.)

But NENPA was committed and even wrote a piece on what I was going to say in my talk.

This talk, for me, was years in the making… one that I imagined giving when I was in the newsroom and one I wanted to give if I have a newsroom leader asking for advice.

Here, for those interested, is my talk*:
[ Hour and 15 minutes ]



Direct link: http://youtu.be/Hc6ZwLKDLP4

* Sadly, the projector changed the color of the slides… it’s not perfect, but it’s the content that matters, right? Right??

For those not interested in watching the entire video, here’s an animated GIF of the nutgraph from my talk:

realtalk-with-news-leadership

29 Aug

Change the ratio! But I’m auditing myself first

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NOTE: A version of this post ran on PBS MediaShift on Oct. 10, 2014. Lessons Learned from a #GenderAudit on Twitter

If I follow you on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve have added you to a Twitter list: Male or Female.

There’s also a private list for People of Color*.

Before you freak out, let me explain what I am trying to do.

A few weeks back I heard a great segment on On The Media with Buzzfeed writer Katie Notopoulos, who created a holiday called Unfollow a Man Day. The piece originally aired on the tl;dr podcast.

Check it out:

This ‘holiday’ came from Notopoulos’ decision from realizing she was following a ton of dudes on Twitter, rather than other females.

She explains it here: Why I Created The #UnfollowAMan Movement

Anyway, that got me thinking… for about a year, I have consciously been trying to diversify who I follow on Twitter.

I never want to be caught in an echo chamber, and I have learned that I get a beneficial edge when I hear outside voices, instead of hearing the same people from within the journalism industry.

But while my diverse follow was a conscious act, I still don’t know if I have struck the right balance.

So, why not find out?

And that’s where these lists come it.

By going through the 960+ people I follow and doing an inventory, I can achieve a couple of things:

1- What is my actual ratio? If I am preaching diversity and parity, am I practicing it too? I don’t know, and that’s what I am looking to find out. This self-experiment really is an audit.

2- In the interview with Notopoulos, she said she realized that some stories that were seen as newsworthy coming from “Twitter buzz,” were only a buzz for men. Meaning, because she followed dudes, dudes’ topics dominated. For me, inversely, I want to see what topics are not buzzing in my stream… or who is it buzzing with.

There is such a thing as Black Twitter. Latino Twitter, non-English Twitter… but most users don’t know (or care) because they follow people and communities they know… or reflect their experiences.

Side note: I wrote this post at 11:30PM-ish, because some people were weirded out by being added to a list. And one person, I feel, began to project some assumptions on what I am trying to do… hence this quick post.

But, let me be clear… just like Twitter, this is for me. I use Twitter for a tool that benefits my knowledge. And now I am using Twitter lists to benefit me as well. I am dying to know the results of this self-imposed audit and see if I can spot any patterns. I am coming in with NO ASSUMPTIONS, open to whatever results may come.

And, for the record, I don’t care if this is scientific or not. This is me grouping subjective follows along gender lines and see if anything emerges. I’m a hackademic, not an academic.

Now, after reading this post, I want to invite/challenge you to do the same thing. Find out if your stream is skewed by following one community more than another… hell, find out if you have a bias. Let me know if you try this thing… and, of course, feel free to share your thoughts on what I am doing. I’m trying to be open and transparent… and I am coming with good intentions.

UPDATE: At 12:21AM, I renamed my lists to be Gender Audit Proj: Female and Gender Audit Proj: Male, to be clearer on what I am doing.

NOTE: I started this “self-experiment” late this evening on a whim… and my brain is turning into mush as I add *everyone* to a list… so I assume I have made some errors. If you spot one, please let me know… thank you!

* The People of Color list is currently set to private, because there is a chance I add or leave out someone accidently and I don’t mean to offend.

// UPDATE & ADDITION (5/14/15)
A student recently told me about TWEE-Q, which analyzes which gender you retweet more. If you think about, having a balanced gender feed is a great step, but how you engage with the feed is an important metric.

What’s the point of following a balance if you only engage with one side?

So, I ran my Twitter name through the web app and got this result:
Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 10.49.04 AM

“@webjournalist retweeted 48% men and 52% women.” I am proud of this result!

// OTHER AUDITS
Feel free to tweet me your audit results as well!

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

03 Apr

My keynote for JACC 2014

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Tonight I gave one of the most important talks I have ever given in my life.

In 1996, while a student at Pierce Community College, I attended my first journalism conference: Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC).

Now, nearly 20 years later, I returned to be its keynote speaker.

This was an intense, historical talk for me… and I knew I wanted to document it. So, while the audio isn’t perfect, I did a screen capture of my talk.

NOTE: The first 30 minutes is my talk, the second 30 minutes is the Q&A.

Thank you to JACC for inviting to speak.

And thank you to everyone who has changed my life. I mention many of you.

I did not do this alone.

The video (unedited):

Some of the pics from the event:

A ‘helfie’ as the students walked into the room for the keynote.

I apologized and warned the attendees that I would probably break down from the feels.

Great photo as I talked about my life where ‘stuff happened.’.

Someone sketched a cartoon of me during my talk.

I took a (forced) selfie with my first journalism professor Rob O’Neil. This man changed my life.

16 Jan

Remembering Raul Ramirez

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Raul Ramirez Journal


Raul Ramirez

1946-2013

Raul was my professor.

Raul was tough.

I am not sure how I passed that investigative reporting class at San Francisco State… but he taught me about the integrity, the power and responsibility of journalism… and of those who practice it.

Raul was a mentor.

Raul was a friend.

The image above was from the back of the card handed out at his memorial held in Berkeley on January 12, 2014. It’s an excerpt form his journal, written in the early 1980s:

Yes. It is difficult, but not impossible if your heart and mind remain open to life, to people and to the possibility that Love can be. Not difficult, if you are willing to risk, to grow, and perhaps to hurt.

Raul was truly a great man… a mentor to so many… a role model, on many fronts.

He will be missed.


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Categories: Diversity, Journalism, NAHJ, Personal Tags:
01 Oct

USC Annenberg’s Ruben Salazar Project launches

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After a lot of work by the university, journalism school, faculty, but, most importantly, students, I am proud to announce the launch of the Ruben Salazar Archive site: http://www.rubensalazarproject.com

As part of an experimental directed research course, led by Félix Gutiérrez and myself, nine students had access to the legendary Los Angeles reporter’s personal archive, which was donated by his family to the university.

These students were among the first at the university to review the items, most was which were unknown to us, as part of the class to try to tell the private story of a public figure.

As the students indexed and digitized the content of these boxes, each one of them identified a story to tell to help bring this historical figure’s past come to life.

The work resulted in this rich site, which includes an interactive timeline (it looks amazing on a tablet).

The students were:
Elaine Baran, Melissa Caskey, Juan Espinoza, Regina Graham, Gustavo Gutierrez, Grace Jang, Elena Kadvany, Bianca Ojeda and Frances Vega

Learn more about the project here.

Categories: Academia, Diversity, Journalism, NAHJ Tags:
10 Sep

Why I’m running for the ONA Board again

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ONA logo
There’s more work to be done.

A lot more.

Simply put, that’s why I am running for re-election to stay on the Online News Association‘s Board of Directors.

As I said when I first ran, I believe ONA needs to be the center organization leading and guiding our industry forward. That goal and need is as strong as ever.

A core part of my work — from teaching/training to #wjchat to Learn Code for Journalism to Tech & Tools to Horizontal Loyalty — is in sync with the organization’s mission: empower journalists to move our industry forward.

I’m proud of the work we have done in the last two years with the board. The organization has added more training, offered more scholarships, expanded its programs and has taken important steps to solidify itself as an essential part shaping the future of journalism.

But please don’t think it’s easy.

It takes a lot of work and I am fortunate to work along side with incredibly smart and passionate board members and staffers that give it their all. You have no idea. (If you see them at ONA12, please thank them for their work. Hell, buy them a drink!)

I feel that I contribute to the organization. I bring diversity — culture, age, ethnicity, location and experience — to the group. I bring my Web/tech background and experience to the organization. And I… how do I put this? I’m that guy … that one who asks tough questions to keep us honest and hold us accountable. Some of you saw that with the Patch thing. It was not a fluke. Ask my peers, they see it in our board meetings.

We face other challenges too.

As an organization, we need to find scalable ways that tap into the diversity of our members’ skills/experiences to share them and help them grow.

Web journalism is a broad term. Because we are inclusive, it’s an incredible strength for ONA. But if we don’t take advantage of it correctly, we look unfocused and diluted.

I think ONA needs to be the place that brings the diversity of Web journalism together to grow stronger together… and I’d like to continue to be at the table to make this happen.

Please help shape the future of this organization and journalism by voting.

And, if you think me worthy, please consider voting for me. I’d truly appreciate it.

Thank you,

Robert
Read my bio here

06 Sep

UPDATE: Hartford Courant scraps Google Translate site

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Richard Prince‘s Journal-isms reports that Hartford Courant has killed it’s embarrassing Google Translate site. If you recall, I wrote about the horrible site last month.

Instead the Courant has developed Noticias, “a 100-percent Spanish language news site produced by our newsroom,” said Gary Weitman, spokesman for the parent Tribune Co.

Glad they came to their sense. And I sincerely wish them luck in their new venture.

17 Aug

My response to The Hartford Courant’s “Spanish-language strategy” with Google Translate


Como una cortesía para The Courant, por demostrando ignorancia y falta de respeto a su propia comunidad, déjeme decir: lo cagaron.


If you were to translate this using Google Translate, guess what… it would be wrong. Anyone who is bilingual wouldn’t be surprised. But they would be surprised in hearing that a news organization would solely depend on using this primitive service as their “Spanish-language strategy.”

Sadly, this isn’t a joke: Hartford Courant’s Spanish site is Google Translate by Poynter

But, instead of just being disgusted or insulted by The Courant’s “strategy,” let me offer some tips for an actual strategy:

1. Hire a diverse staff, and in this case, a Spanish speaker. Listen to them. Anyone in their right mind would have told you this was a bad idea.

2. I know resources are tight, as an affordable alternative to hiring more staff, partner up with the local Spanish-language news organizations. Believe me, they are there. And they’d love to help you inform the community. (Hey Courant, have to tried working with Connecticut’s Latino News Source: ctlatinonews.com?)

3. No Spanish-language news organization in your town? Look again. Think radio, newsletters or neighboring towns. Any of these will be better than an automated site.

4. Still confused? Reach out to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists to find local members in your area, including Spanish-language news organizations.

5. But, let’s say there are no Spanish-language news outlets. Partner up with the largest, Spanish-language local business. They know their community and are fully aware of the information network that is functioning now.

Lastly, apologize to the fastest growing demographic in your community for treating them with such little respect. It’s not a smart business move to belittle them, especially if you want to tap into their growing influence.

I preach experimentation, risk taking and embracing failure. You experimented and took a risk… and you failed. Oh, did you fail.

Learn from your big mistake and start genuinely engaging with your own diverse community.

Do you have any tips for The Courant or any other news organization trying to serve its Latino community? Please share them in the comments.

 

Oh, and if you are wondering, here’s how I’d translate my statement:

As a courtesy to The Courant, for displaying its ignorance and lack of respect to its own community, let me say: you fucked up.

23 Jun

Sign up for the Unity 2012 journalism conference!

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Friend and colleague Mekahlo Medina, who is the NAHJ Unity board representative and who is also running to be on the NAHJ national board of directors, has created a series of promotional videos to get people excited about this summer’s journalism conference in Vegas.

I’m Unity’s co-program chair (along with AP‘s Paul Cheung, who is running to be AAJA‘s next president), and one of our goals was to truly take advantage of the conference’s diversity and have a fully integrated and progressive convention.

Here’s a video Medina produced after a quick interview with me yesterday:

Unity 2012 Las Vegas Robert Hernandez from Mekahlo Medina on Vimeo.

In case you don’t know, the Unity conference brings the Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalism Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association together for a MEGA convention that happens only every four years.

Clearly I am biased, but take my word for it… this will truly be a progressive, diverse conference. Cheung and I did a BlogTalk radio discussing why you should attend UNITY12.

For the lastest Unity 2012 news, make sure you check out the conference Tumblr: http://unity12convention.tumblr.com/

12 Mar

My proof, my metrics, my ROI on Social Media: #WJCHAT

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It happens on occasion (okay, with this friend it happens a lot), but I battle with a friend over Social Media’s role in our lives and relationships.

I’m not a fan of the outsider, knee jerk reactions to Social Media that say we are getting dumber, we can’t focus and we are so lonely.

All those things may be happening, but it’s not because of Social Media… not solely anyway. These are, in fact, the same claims that have been preached about with every new development ranging from radio, TV and, I believe, even books.

So, I’m not a fan of those re-occurring, blame-the-newest-thing-for-our-bad-thing argument.

Nor am I a blinded super fan of Social Media… there’s crap out there (lots of it) and “gurus” making money by ripping people off.

I am, however, a fan of the true connections that have been made possible because of platforms like Twitter and Facebook. These platforms are just the latest evolutionary step from mail to telegram to telephone to Internet to e-mail, etc.

And, as you may have guessed, I am a SUPER fan of communities like #WJCHAT, that support and educate each other by harnessing these platforms.

The two-year anniversary of our little community was in February and, in my hopes to gets some attention to it, I asked a couple journalism sites to do a write up on us. To be honest, I didn’t really make a hard pitch.

Naturally, as good journos, the question led to why… but more importantly, what has #WJCHAT done? Where’s the proof?

I don’t have those metrics.

While we often talk about analytics, ROI and such, for me, I don’t really care about those when it comes to #WJCHAT.

All I care about is that people know that they are not alone in their struggle to find their place in journalism, that they are getting educated on how to improve journalism and that they are sharing their knowledge and experiences so we collectively “save” journalism.

My latest reminder of this was today’s ONA featured member piece on Tauhid Chappell.

I remember Chappell popping into the #WJCHAT stream and meeting him IRL at an ONA event. But I didn’t know that our little community played a role in his journalistic development… but it was enough that he felt compelled to mentioned #WJCHAT in his profile piece.

That is my proof. He is my metric.

Tonight I will be meeting “strangers” for the first time IRL at our now annual #WJCHAT meetup at SXSW.

I will be seeing old friends and making new ones (once we get over the awkward oh-yeah-I-know-you moment after we connect the avatar or handle to the face and name).

That is my proof. They are my metric.

Do you know that I have only met, maybe, half of the people who volunteer each week to run #WJCHAT. Never meet them outside of email, a collaborative document or Twitter chat.

These folks are my colleagues. They are my friends. They, too, are my proof… my metric.

Everyone in this diverse community is my argument proving that Social Media is an undeniably positive element in our modern lives.

And, my goal when Twitter life and real life merges later today, is to be present with this community of friends… and, on occasion, awkwardly look at my phone to see if I need to tweet out something.

Thank you for being part of this community. < cheesy >It’s been a positive element in my life.< /cheesy >

π