NAHJ NM Homecoming

On Feb. 3, the New Mexico chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists was officially approved by national leadership. That day also ushered in the first event for the chapter, its homecoming party.

Members of the community and fellow journalists came to the Albuquerque Press Club to welcome the new chapter, show their support and consume tamales.

President May Ortega talked on why she decided to reinstate the chapter – to help New Mexico journalists flourish. And Treasurer Wheeler Cowperthwaite and Secretary Amanda Martinez gave a preview of other events and workshops the chapter has planned.

Raffle tickets were sold for a gift basket filled with Northern New Mexican goods, courtesy of the Rio Grande Sun and curated by the Romero Fruit Stand in Hernandez. All of the proceeds went to NAHJ NM. Chris Ortiz was the lucky winner, walking home with chile, honey, jerky and more.

Many thanks to those who came, donated and supported our new chapter.

Chris Ortiz claims his prize.

Open Letter to the ABQ Journal concerning their racist cartoon

I’m May Ortega, president of the New Mexico chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. I’m writing on behalf of our members to express our disappointment in an editorial cartoon published in the Feb. 2, 2018 issue of your newspaper, as well as our dismay at your response.

Statements given by Editor-in-Chief Karen Moses and Editorial Page Editor D’val Westphal in a story the Journal ran Thursday morning shows your highest-ranked staffers are aware of the issue, the damage it has caused, and that the image did not accomplish what was intended. Yet there is no sign that the cartoon will be retracted or that an apology specifically for publishing racist images will be issued. Frankly, the statement came across as “We’re sorry you were offended,” instead of “We’re sorry we published racist content.”

Moses issued an expanded statement a few hours later, in which she glazes over an apology on behalf of the Journal. Moses wrote, “In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions. This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes.”

This “apology” doubled down on the initial statement: “We’re sorry this upset you.” Moses takes no responsibility for what’s at the root of this issue, which is spreading racist and bigoted ideology.

More concerns arise when considering the artist behind the cartoon. If the Journal’s editorial board had truly done its research, they would have found that the cartoonist, Sean Delonas, has a history of creating racist images. Vanity Fair wrote a story about him and his ignorant work in 2009. Given this context, Delonas almost definitely created Wednesday’s image with racism in mind, and the editors who OK’ed it look naive for thinking otherwise.

Through publishing this image, you have failed your community and your staff – some of whom we represent. We demand a proper apology for publishing this racist image and a retraction of it. And we ask that you implement a better internal system to avoid these kinds of regrettable actions.

May Ortega

NAHJ New Mexico President