Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category
06 Jun

My NAHJ Class of 2020 speech

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The National Association of Hispanic Journalists held a virtual graduation for Latnix students who graduated this year and I was asked to join an incredible group of journalists to give a 5-minute speech.

The event featured Latino/a leaders and role models in the industry, including special remarks from keynote speaker María Elena Salinas alongside Maria Hinojosa, José Díaz-Balart, Fin Gómez, Obed Manuel-Estrada, Joy Diaz and more.

For those interested, here is my speech:

Hola todos,

It is a genuine honor to get to speak to you today… congratulations on your HUGE achievement.

I want to start with a simple statement: there is no pipeline problem.

Managers like to say they just can’t find qualified journalists of color when hiring for a position.

We know that is a lie… How? Simply because you exist.

You prove them wrong.

You have been proving them wrong before college… and you will have to continue to prove them wrong after college.

Look, you deserve to be hired.

Your voice deserves to be heard.

Your work deserves to be supported.

You deserve equal pay for equal work.

You deserve mentorship and growth.

You will deserve that promotion.

But, the reality is, you might not get it.

And that’s not okay.

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to settle for their answer.

You are going to have to continue to fight to get what you deserve… and it won’t be easy.

To quote a wise man: “We gotta be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time. It’s exhausting!”

For the record, I’m not Mexican. Pues, I’m Salvi. 🇸🇻

But the point is still the same… we have to work harder than others to get what we deserve.

It’s tiring.

It’s frustrating.

It is not fair.

But it is extremely important.

We need your voices.

Our diverse communities need your perspective – need your physical presence – in our newsrooms across the country.

I’ve been in newsrooms where the janitor and I were the only Latinos.

I’ve been in newsrooms – big ones – where me and a Korean guy were the only ones who spoke Spanish.

I learned, somewhat reluctantly, that I needed to own a seat at the table.

It is scary… to take that seat – I am talking about a literal seat – at the table during the morning meeting or A1 meeting.

But I took that seat.

And we need you to take that seat too… not only for our community, but for every community that isn’t at the table.

Yes, sometimes we will have to build our own table.

Sometimes we have to take a smaller seat.

Sometimes we’ll be at the head of the table.

But we have to make sure we’re in the room and at that table.

It’s exhausting, but important.

As you continue your journey and dive into your careers, I want you to remember two things:

1. As our Queen says: Always stay gracious. The best revenge is your paper.

2. And, lastly, don’t give up. You’ve still got a lot of motherf*ckers to prove wrong.

Congratulations Class of 2020, Class of COVID19, Class of The Uprising.

Continue to prove them wrong and Fight On!

Categories: Academia, NAHJ, Personal Tags:
02 Apr

Zoom Backgrounds

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We all cope in different ways. Me? I often turn to photoshop or make memes.

While COVID19 has us hunkered down in place, Zoom backgrounds can be one tiny bright spot to have fun.

Here are some that I made and/or collected.

BBC Interview Interrupted:
I rebuild this room by mashing up different videos to get it just right… and I added the chair. This is, by far, my favorite background. It works perfectly!

Now as a video!

It’s Fine:
Not mine and not my original idea, but I live this background.

Some Zoom accounts can use videos as backgrounds, so here is an animated/looped version.

Homer and the Hedge:
This meme makes for a great zoom backdrop.

IT Crowd:
The classic set from The IT Crowd

Groundhog Day:
These days feels like the movie Groundhog Day, so here are some backgrounds to match.

Mario Kart:
Itsame! Here are some backgrounds I’ve made relating to the classic game. Letsago!

Beautiful architecture is part of the award-winning movie Parasite.

Read more…

Categories: Personal Tags: ,
22 Jun

5 ways to have immediate impact on your industry

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NOTE: I quickly wrote up this post right before a flight and haven’t really copyedited yet.

Diversity and inclusion is a challenge that often feels like an overwhelming problem that we, as individuals, don’t seem to have the influence or resources to tackle.

We commonly say “I’m not hiring” or “I don’t have money to make an impact” and all these may be true.

But, as SXSW opens PanelPicker, CES calls for speakers, and conferences like NAHJ18 and ONA18 are quickly approaching, I wanted to share some practical things YOU can do to make a difference.

  1. Pitch a session! There is a difference between those on stage and those sitting in the audience, and often it’s not the level of expertise. It’s about who took the time to fill out a form and who didn’t. You are qualified to be on a panel about something you are genuinely passionate about. Invest some time to fill out a form increase the likelihood of unlocking some financial support to attend the industry conference, ranging from registration to travel and lodging.
  2. But don’t make your session about diversity. I have been on countless of diversity focused panels, typically presented to a nearly empty room. My most recent one was at SXSW and that will be my last “diversity” panel. My new approach, and one that I recommend to you, is to be on the leading topics of our industry. I – like many of women and people of color – are qualified to be on panels besides the topic of diversity. And being on non-diversity related panel helps normalize that women and people of color are naturally among the experts about the topic. And, let’s be real, more people will attend a non-diversity related panel.
  3. Recruit a reflect panel. If your session was selected, make sure your panelists are representative of our diverse community. Do you best to include panelists from diverse backgrounds to debunk any stereotypes. Don’t only think about gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation, but think geography, size of their organization, skill/experience level, etc. The panelists should not look all like you or share your background.
  4. Panelist rather than organizer. If you aren’t the organizer, you still have some influence about who is participating in the session. Ask how diverse the panelist group is and offer to recruit someone qualified that also looks different from the rest of the panel. Often you are help the organizer out. If it is all male, I really encourage you to give up your spot and recruit a replacement that reflects diversity. This simple and powerful step really amplifies others.
  5. Give away your registration. If you are employed, I highly encourage you to ask your employer to pay for your conference related expenses. And, if the conference is offering to cover your expenses STILL HAVE YOUR EMPLOYER pay. And giveaway your conference – and possibly the other resources – to someone else. Look, they were going to pay anyway and they were going to comp you anyway… why not pay it forward to someone who needs help. Everybody wins.

I have done each of these – multiple times for years. I have no money. I have a kid to fund. I am not hiring anyone. But these simple ways can have large impact.

If you truly care about inclusion and diversity in our industry – or any other industry – try a few of these tips to help make a real impact.

Please let me know if you have other tips and if you have done these too. We have more influence than we think.

01 Feb

The journalists’ (and my) struggle is real

NOTE: Let’s get this cleared and out of the way. I am not a typical journalist. I don’t have a regular byline nor do I have a media company having to deal with angry voices that value perception more than reality. So, these thoughts are “easier” for me to express than others in our industry. I’ll also add, these are just my thoughts… often thinking, speaking or tweeting out loud as I try to grapple how I fit in the world around me.

This wasn’t a new internal debate I’ve been having. In fact, since the middle of the primaries, I’ve been asking myself – and any journalist who would let me bend their ear – the question about how I, or we, as a journalist am feeling about the the tone and coverage as the country began to select the next president.

I, as someone who aims to be an informed citizen, couldn’t tell what was real. I didn’t know what was fact or what was “fake news.”

And, to get this on the record, this concern wasn’t limited to one candidate. In the end, both the Democratic and Republican candidates had some significant flaws that should force any voting citizen a moment to pause.

But, let’s also be honest, one candidate said and behaved contrary to some fundamental beliefs I hold dear. I am unapologetically against racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and anything that leads to discrimination of others.

I, like I believe many people have, have always thought about “what would I have done” if… if there were a robbery, would I be a hero? If I saw police brutality what would I do? And, the ultimate hypothetical scenario, if I were around the time of Hitler, would I do something to speak up and defend the Jews.

I am also a Catholic (although I do not agree with many of the church’s political stance) and this past Sunday’s set of readings really affected me as President Trump’s executive order banning the travel of Muslim immigrants was happening.

All this got me to tweet. Not saying it was a good or bad decision, but here they are with some context.

I keep my faith to myself. I hate preachy people. But I thought there was hypocrisy and discrimination with the Muslim Ban and these readings really called it out.

I then tweeted out quotes from the readings, which I will spare you. But here is Tweet 2, 3, 4 and 5 in the series.

This was the tweet that would spark a Poynter piece about this struggle.

This is the moment where I went off my planned topic and decided to be more open and share my struggle with our current reality.

There were lots of “likes,” retweets and replies, including this one from Joshua Johnson.

This led to an exchange with Katie Hawkins-Gaar of Poynter, who asked if she could use my tweets for a piece she’d write based on this struggle many of us seem to be facing.

That led to this:

I will admit, I was and still am nervous for sharing. I took a risk in exposing myself. So far I haven’t gotten in trouble.

But others aren’t so lucky.

Lewis Wallace wrote about his struggle in this new reality too. But he was then fired from his job at Marketplace.

Clearly I disagree with this move.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know this is something we need to discuss and examine. This is happening. This is a reality. This isn’t something we can simply ignore or kick out of our newsrooms. This is the time for journalism to embrace the diversity of perspectives from every side and find a way to factor them into our coverage, ethically and transparently.

This is part of the new journalism, and it’s going to get uncomfortable and messy.

I am ready. Are you?

Categories: Culture, Personal, Rant, Twitter Tags:
22 Nov

From Glass to Spectacles: A kid’s POV

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Over the weekend I was able to secure a pair of the Snapchat’s Spectacles (formerly Epiphany Eyewear for wearable nerds with a memory) and have been putting it through its paces.

I have had a past with testing out wearable glasses before.

In testing them, I let my kid give them w spin too.

Here’s video my son captured while drawing — it’s circular video because of the unique (and pretty cool) Snapchat circular format:

For context, here’s video of my son playing while wearing Google Glass:

12 Feb

#wjchat: Five years of thank you

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It’s crazy to think that every Wednesday for the past five years, the Web/Digital community has come together for 90 minutes on Twitter to talk about their craft, sharing their knowledge and experiences.

The most important thing I cherish about #wjchat is the community.

I am grateful to be a part of it.

The next important thing I cherish is the incredible team of volunteers who, over the years, make this weekly miracle happen, often from behind the scenes.

Your past and current team #wjchat crew members are:

(I hope to god I haven’t left anyone off the list… if so, please contact me!)

And, of course, there are countless people who have supported our weekly efforts along the way.

Thank you to each and every one of you. Here’s to five more years and temporary tattoos that are a bitch to take off!

Note: You can read about the making of #wjchat here:

06 Feb

The inspirational quote mystery

There are a million Robert Hernandezes in this world.

I should know, I’ve been accidentally confused with nearly half of them.

Some are tattoo artists and some are journalists (not to be confused with these Hernandi)… some have financial “issues,” some have children they’ve “forgotten,” some have arrest warrants based on interesting life choices that can pop up in background checks.

I’ve been put in awkward situations multiple times because my namesakes make bad decisions. (Ask me about Marisa sometime.)

I thought I would stand out when I became a professor at a prestigious university.

That lasted a few months until I got email for Professor Robert Hernandez from another school on campus. (The school actually added me to their faculty listserv!)

Like everyone, I google myself and I even have a Twitter search for “Robert Hernandez.”

Dude, some of them are creeps.

But the most dominate one on Twitter is known for this quote:

“It’s not about having the skill to do something. It’s about having the will, desire & commitment to be your best. -Robert Hernandez”

It’s an inspirational quote that gets tweeted every hour, every day and I have no clue which one of the namesake said it.

So, I googled.

And haven’t found anything.

I did find this site that collects quotes from people and makes them Pinterest-style images.

While the site had a couple from Robert Hernandez, I feel like this one is the most appropriate:

robert-hernandez-quote-i-havent-the-slightest-idea-who-he-is (1)

Whoever he is, I do agree with Robert Hernandez’ inspirational quote… so, I’d like to be credited with this one:

“‘It’s not about having the skill to do something. It’s about having the will, desire & commitment to be your best. -Robert Hernandez’ -Robert Hernandez”


//// UPDATE: This happened

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 7.56.06 AM

Categories: Personal, Social Media, Twitter Tags:
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!

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.

28 Feb

Launched! [blank] is the future of journalism

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[Blank] is the future of journalism is bar game for jaded journalists, created by Kim Bui, David Cohn, Maite Fernandez, Robert Hernandez and Matt Thompson at a DC bar in January 2014.

The premise is that you have two minutes to become a pundit and seriously preach/defend/sell the randomized concept, or [blank], to your jaded friends.

Go play and send us feedback: