Rick Rodriguez, Carnegie Professor of Journalism, Southwest Borderland Initiative Professor spoke to ASNE Reynolds Institute about diversity and the need to reach cover everyone's voice. (Photo by Tracey Ward)Are you comfortable telling a story about someone else? Or, do you have the FEAR of the UNKNOWN? "America is changing, it's the biggest transition period in a generation," Rick Rodriguez said, Carnegie Professor of Journalism, Southwest Borderland Initiative Professor.
Rodriguez was insightful and entertaining. As the former executive editor and senior vice president of The Sacramento Bee, having grown up in Salinas, CA, (John Steinbeck Country -- 100 miles south of San Francisco, which was mainly strawberry farming country), journalism did not come naturally to him. He grew up in a city that was largely Latino. Where he lived, things were never covered in the news. It was not a natural progression for him. He attributes his entry into journalism through the persistence of one of his teachers who believed in him and recruited him.
With the changing dynamics of journalism shifting to niche journalism, Rodriguez talked about how this changing of media to niche media that is drawing the battle lands drawn with a diversity of thought showing a diversity of people.
He also talked about some hot topics like border patrol, increasing changes in population, and how some news organizations were unprepared to cover the immigration issues. Some groups think that AZ should seal the borders (then all of the illegal immigrants will go away) . In reality, 45 percent come on student visas/visitor visas -- just overstay the visas -- no way to track the visas.
He predicts that the next fight that people believe will be in regards to the 14th Amendment (those who are born in the U.S.) who have babies that are born in the U.S. of illegal immigrants to make sure they are not be citizens any longer.
Rick was intriguing and engaging. I am amazed by his stories about he was encouraged to become a journalist by a high school teacher. Rodriguez also discussed how he covered Cesar Chavez in the 1970s as a privilege. He said it was HISTORY making—journalism is about recording history—“History through your eyes.”
Tracey B. Ward
Olentangy Liberty High School