Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rodriguez: Diversity need not always reference race

A common thread for many of the presenters and teachers at the Reynolds Institute is that many communication professionals got their start in journalism by working on the high school newspaper.

Rick Rodriguez, former editor-in-chief of the Sacramento Bee, is no exception to that rule. In fact, he said his high school years were so formative that they continue to inform his job now, working with the Southwest Borderlands Initiative.

He especially enjoyed his journalism teachers diligence and ability to reach out to students who show potential.

"Art Gallago was a task master," Rodriguez said. "But he really cared for his students."

Rodriguez is now modeling that role of task master and talked about how he had to push one of his best students to actually get out to the border between Arizona and Mexico and see for herself what his happening.

"When she came back," he said. "She came back weeping."

For me, diversity coverage in our publications is probably the diciest, most rewarding aspect of my classroom. It is never easy to push kids out the door, hoping they will come back with quotes and information from somebody they have never met before.

Image of Rick Rodriguez courtesy of Nicki Yokota.

Nate Thompson
Montezuma-Cortez High School
Corte, Colo.

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