NAHJ call to action regarding SB1070

National Association of Hispanic Journalists

National Association of Hispanic Journalists

I just received the following press release from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists today calling for the Justice Department to block Arizona’s SB1070 which allows for racial profiling of the reasonably suspicious.

Rest assured that your reasonably suspicious blogger at the Tucson Citizen is doing his part to bring facts back into the discussion, and a big thanks to the editors at TC for letting me post updates on these historic times in Arizona!

NAHJ Calls on Justice Dept. to Block Arizona Law

Rejects Racial Profiling; Calls on Media to Improve Coverage
of Immigration

DENVER, June 25, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National Association of
Hispanic Journalists today calls on the U.S. Justice Department to take
legal action to block Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, legislation that
invites racial profiling of immigrants and Latinos because of its
standard of “reasonable suspicion.”

And NAHJ, an organization that represents the nation’s Latino
journalists, calls on our members and all news organizations to provide
the kind of comprehensive, nuanced, balanced and accurate coverage that
this measure and the entire issue of immigration requires. Narrow
coverage that focuses purely on the passions excited by these issues
ill serves the cause of knowledge and an informed citizenry.

(Article continued below)

We speak out today as journalists in both this call for action by the
Justice Department and our call for comprehensive coverage. We believe
that our members, Latino journalists, are as prone to be subjected to
the requirements of SB 1070 as are immigrants or other Latinos. It is
difficult enough for journalists to do their jobs, often in already
intimidating situations, without being asked to produce “papers”
proving citizenship or legal residency.

We are also mindful that many of our members are threatened by a
subsequent proposal that would have the state of Arizona ignore the
clear language of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that
guarantees citizenship to all people born in this country.

NAHJ stands ready to lend its expertise in immigration coverage to news
organizations at this critical moment with such a polarizing issue. The
coverage the press provides can help or it can hinder. Using terms like
“illegal alien”, “illegals” as a noun, and “anchor babies” is
dehumanizing and by their bias and loaded nature, eliminate any
semblance of fairness when covering the debate. Language choices are
part of this picture, but the bigger picture involves the ability for
news organizations to provide the kind of comprehensive, nuanced
coverage that helps readers, viewers and listeners make the most sense
of what is undeniably a complex issue. This is not a story that can be
boiled down to a he-said, they-said type debate.

We have another fear. Because of the passions provoked by this debate,
it might be tempting for news organizations to shy from allowing Latino
journalists from taking the lead or participating in such coverage.
However, Latino journalists, who work under the same rules of ethics
and standards as do other journalists, often offer an understanding and
expertise that might otherwise go lacking. In any case, a reputable
news organization would not remove someone with an expertise in legal
or health matters from reporting on those issues because “they are too
close to the issue.” The same standard should apply to those who, by
virtue of study or life experience, can bring the same kind of
expertise to immigration coverage.

The Justice Department must act to block SB 1070 as a matter of equity
for all Latinos, Latino journalists included. And news organizations
must act in the interest of providing the kind of coverage that brings
the highest level of understanding to this complex issue.

Founded in 1984, NAHJ’s mission is to increase the percentage of
Latinos working in our nation’s newsrooms and to improve news coverage
of the Latino community. NAHJ is the nation’s largest professional
organization for Latino journalists with more than 1,400 members
working in English and Spanish-language print, photo, broadcast and
online media. NAHJ is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization.
For more information, visit


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