Archive for the ‘Latino Bloggers’ Category

Unity 2008: Photo courtesy NAHJ

How many times have you been at a conference and thought “I have an idea for a panel.”  Well if you have one, now is the time to propose that idea to the Unity 2012 organizers. The deadline is November 18.

Unity got more than 700 panel proposals for the conference in 2008.  I took part in a workshop put on by the Poynter Institute and was also part of a panel on “TV Live Shots.”  

I’ve been fortunate enough to lead or be part of a panel at every Unity conference since they started.  So how can you get your panel or workshop idea chosen” How can you be selected to be on a panel?


Here are some tips on how to make your idea stand out.

Panel Topic:  Come up with a topic idea that would be of interest to all journalists of different experience levels and media platforms.   For example reporters for newspapers, online, radio and television news can all learn from the following panels: Finding Stories and Sources, Covering Breaking News,  Doing Two Jobs: Journalist & Blogger, Owning a Beat, Freelance Work: Making the Connections.

Specific Panel Topics:  Unity is also looking for specific topics for each platform.  Do you have a fresh idea for television, radio, online or print journalism?   Techy topics are very popular; it’s also good to stick to the basics: Doing better live shots, Writing for the web, (Radio) Telling Stories with Sound, Using Twitter on the Job.  Unity is also looking for panels to be done in Spanish. 

Panelists: Choose panelists who are good public speakers—dynamic, interesting with lots of know-how.  Remember in some cases your audience will be more than 100 people.  A good panelist will keep them interested and off their smartphones.  

Show and Tell:  Do you plan to show samples of work on video?  Are you planning to pull up a website to get your point across?  Members  love to see examples of work on the big screen: video or audio reports. You can even pull up a website that is a good source of information.

Choose Panelist Now:  Start calling your friends to see if they’re planning to go to Unity.  It helps organizers know that you already have some names to go with your panel.  Also try to find panelists from each of the organizations participating in Unity: NAHJ, NAJA, AAJA, NLGJA .

GET ON A PANELUnity 2008: Photo courtesy NAHJ

Let the Unity organizers and NAHJ board members know that you’re interested in being on a panel.  List your areas of expertise.  Register for the conference.  That shows you’re committed in going.  Toot your horn!


I think my ideas for a panel have been chosen in the past, because of the interesting topic and because I also make sure it’s not going to cost Unity a cent.  I find people who are already planning to go to the conference.

If I can offer my knowledge and save Unity money—that’s fine with me.  In the end, it’s about paying it forward.

Let’s start sharing.  Now get your proposals in by November 18th

Good Luck!

Rebecca Aguilar is the NAHJ Officer-At Large. She’s also a board member with the Society of Professional Journalists/ Fort Worth Chapter and a member of the National SPJ Diversity Committee. Currently, she’s  a freelance digital journalist based in Dallas, TX.

63-year-old George Ramos passed away on July 23.  The former Los Angeles Times reporter and columnist made a difference in the world of journalism and the Latino community.  Guest blogger and digital journalist, Sandra Gonzalez shares her personal story about George and his impact on her career. 

Courtesy: Mustang Daily

I was taking a long Sunday nap during the rain when I noticed the phone was ringing. After I hung up, I checked my Twitter account. Yes I am a social media addict, and the first tweet I saw said: “George Ramos dead”. I thought, “No, not my George Ramos!” But it was.

My goodness this death hit me in the gut…through my bones. I just saw George a month ago in Orlando at the NAHJ convention. He was in great spirits, checking out the panels on blogging and working with the journalism students. We had caught up, hugged; I just knew I would be seeing him at the Unity convention next year. I even received a nice email from him out of the blue, encouraging me in my reporting in New Orleans.

 Wow, this giant in journalism is no more. I feel like I’ve known him forever. He had known me since I was in college competing for an award in Long Beach.  I remember being impressed that a Latino journalist was the keynote speaker at a competition by the California Intercollegiate Press Association (CIPA).  I just had to meet him.

Since that day, George Ramos had been my role model and friend.  Wherever I was in my career, George happened to be somewhere in my life.

When I worked in Santa Barbara as a radio reporter, he came to the CCNMA scholarship banquet to encourage journalists and students.  When I was working as a television reporter in Bakersfield, I remember George being our keynote at another CCNMA banquet.  Once again he shared his words of wisdom.

In the late 1990’s I was doing radio in Dallas and very active in the Hispanic Communicators DFW.  I’ll never forget when my friend Anna Martinez said “I wished there was a Latino journalist who earned a Pulitzer that could come to Dallas and speak at our scholarship banquet.”  I said “I know one.”   I called George and without hesitation he said he would be our keynote speaker.

At the banquet he did something I didn’t expect.  In front of the crowd, he pulled out his checkbook and wrote a check for a donation of $2,000 for our organization.  George challenged other journalists in the room to do the same.

George was a pioneer, for CCNMA and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ.) I remember him telling me so many interesting stories and experiences.  He talked about CCNMA and how it was first referred to as the California Chicano News Men Association.  He said that name didn’t sit well with the women, so they changed the name.

 He shared the tales of the CCNMA founding fathers meeting with ice chests of beer in the early days to discuss the problems of the lack of Latinos in newsrooms and other issues.  I was proud to be a CCNMA scholarship recipient, and one who would proudly carry the torch for years to come.

George also spoke of his childhood.   He said he and the other kids in his family would be watching episodes of Davy Crockett on TV, and in one episode Davy was fighting off the evil Mexicans.  George remembered he and his friends were cheering for Davy when suddenly his dad shut off the TV.  George recalled that his father gave them a lesson about their skin color.  That was George’s first exposure to negative images of Latinos.

George also spoke of a negative encounter when he was a teenager. He said when he was growing up in East Los Angeles, a man at a small newspaper told him not to pursue a newspaper career, but stick to janitorial kind of stuff.  That man actually lived to see George earn three Pulitzer Prize awards.

He and the team that won the Pulitzer for the stories about Latinos in Los Angeles was historic, and made Latinos around the country extremely proud of that achievement. I remember he told me “journalism is a noble career.” While sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, I still believe what he said.  And now posthumously, George inspires me as a journalist even more.

Written by Sandra Gonzalez, a digital journalist in New Orleans, La.  She’s also a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Related stories and blogs:

George Ramos: tough-guy reporter with a big heart

An Ode to George Ramos

George Ramos: Reporter and Friend—RIP

George Ramos dies at 63: former Times reporter and columnist

Remembering friend and journalist, George Ramos