The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is going through some tough times. I do not envy the current board for the difficult decisions they have had to make over the last two years, and I will not second-guess them. I applaud President Michele Salcedo and Vice President/Financial Officer Russell Contreras for taking their roles seriously and making tough calls without worrying that their decisions might not be popular.
Contreras is now running for president. If elected, I think he would do a good job and I would offer my support, counsel and assistance without hesitation.
But at this point, I think Hugo Balta would do a better job. He has my endorsement.
As I’ve looked at this campaign, I’ve seen Contreras point to his record in putting NAHJ back on a sound financial footing. We can bicker over how NAHJ achieved this worthy goal, but Contreras and the board did not have the luxury of just bickering. Their job was to do something about it, and they did.
The key question is, now what? And that’s where I believe that Balta represents the better choice.
I share his concern that we have not chosen a site for the 2013 convention and don’t have a clear idea what will happen.
I share his belief that we need to shift quickly from crisis-management mode to visionary-rebuilding mode.
I share his belief that we need to formally address the changes that have affected our membership. Our bylaws (with its then-appropriate restrictions) were written at a time when the journalism profession was growing and thriving. The contraction of the last decade and the societal changes that have redefined “journalism” compels us to rethink the way we categorize and limit the participation of members, especially those who made a “lifetime” commitment to its mission.
And I share his belief in transparency and responsiveness to members’ concerns and ideas.
Michele Salcedo and Russell Contreras saved NAHJ. But it’s going to take leaders like Hugo Balta to restore it.
Two years ago, when I endorsed Hugo’s opponent (Michele), I privately made it clear to Hugo that I would still do anything he asked of me if he won. I publicly extend the same offer to Russell Contreras. This is not about personalities. It’s about an organization of people we are committed to serve.
In addition to Hugo Balta, I support the return of Rebecca Aguilar to the board as VP/Online and the election of Mekahlo Medina, a relentlessly positive and enthusiastic supporter of our mission, for VP Broadcast.
With respect, I’m keeping my choices in other races to myself. I also do not want any of these endorsements to be construed as criticisms of the opposing candidates. You earned my respect the moment you put your name up for consideration.