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Forum Focuses on Media Coverage of Latino Issues

September 12, 2007

Media coverage of Latino issues will be the topic of a forum at Arizona State University Sept. 22.

Gilbert Bailon, president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and editor of Al Dia, the leading Spanish-language daily newspaper in North Texas, will kick off the program, entitled “Media Coverage of Latino Issues – It’s Not Only Immigration.”

Bailon will be followed by Raul Yzaguirre, executive director of the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights at ASU and a leading commentator on Latino issues nationally.

The forum also will feature a panel discussion with journalists from major media organizations around the Valley who will address how Latinos and Latino issues are covered in newspapers and on radio and television.

The forum is sponsored by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, La Buena Onda Radio 1190 AM and the Arizona Latino Media Association.

The event grew out of a concern that much of the media coverage of Latinos tends to focus on immigration issues, said Anita Luera, director of high school programs for the Cronkite School and former president of the Arizona Latino Media Association.

“We want to open up a discussion among a diverse group of journalists and non-journalists about this important issue,” Luera said. “The way in which ethnic groups are depicted in the press has a profound impact on both the people who are members of those groups and on the press itself.”

The panel discussion will be moderated by Richard Ruelas, a reporter and former columnist at The Arizona Republic. Panelists include Mark Casey, news director at KPNX-TV Channel 12; Melody Birkett, news director at KFYI 550 AM radio; Mayra Nieves, vice president programming for La Buena Onda Radio 1190 AM; Mark Scarp, columnist for the East Valley Tribune newspaper; Jeff Farias, talk radio host for KPHX 1480 AM radio; Kristen DelGuzzi, senior editor for The Arizona Republic; and Paul Espinosa, independent filmmaker and professor in the Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at ASU.

Featured speaker Bailon, an Arizona native, started as a reporter at The Dallas Morning News in 1986 and worked his way up to vice president and executive editor of the paper. He has been publisher and editor of Al Dia since 2004. He has served on the board of directors of the American Society of Newspaper Editors since 1999 and rose to the rank of president this year. He is past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and is a former member of the board of directors of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. He has twice been named “One of the top 100 most influential Hispanics” by Hispanic Business Magazine.

Yzaguirre has been a leader on many of the major issues facing Latinos nationally, including education, trade and immigration. He is past president of the National Council of La Raza, the largest national constituency-based Latino organization in the U.S. He was the first Hispanic to receive a Rockefeller Public Service Award from Princeton University and was one of the first Hispanics to be a fellow of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1993 Yzaguirre received the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor given by the government of Mexico to non-citizens.

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the forum, which begins at 10 a.m. in Room 170 of the Lattie Coor building on the ASU Tempe campus. At its conclusion, La Buena ONDA radio will do a live broadcast from campus on topics covered during the forum.

There is no charge, but reservations are requested. RSVP by e-mailing tashia.glenn@asu.edu.