Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, associate professor in the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin, will be inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ (NAHJ) Hall of Fame next month.
She will be inducted along with New York Daily News columnist Juan González and 19th century journalist Francisco P. Ramirez, editor of Los Angeles’ first Spanish-language newspaper, El Clamor Público.
A former journalist who worked for the Boston Globe, WFAA-TV in Dallas and the Dallas Morning News, Rivas-Rodriguez has advocated for improved coverage and inclusion of Latinos in media. She was on the committee that organized and founded the NAHJ in 1982 and she established two of the NAHJ’s most successful student projects: a convention newspaper produced by college students and professionals, and a nationwide high school writing contest. The newspaper has become the model for other industry organizations such as the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association as a way to develop mentoring relationships and to train students.
Rivas-Rodriguez is the founder and director of the U.S. Latino and Latina WWII Oral History Project, which has collected interviews with more than 650 men and women throughout the country. She gained national prominence after taking a leading role in protests in 2007 against the PBS documentary “The War” about World War II. The film, which originally excluded the stories of Latino veterans, was eventually modified.
Created in 2000, NAHJ’s Hall of Fame is reserved for journalists and industry pioneers whose national or local efforts have resulted in a greater number of Latinos entering the journalism profession or have helped to improve news coverage of the nation’s Latino community.
“Our Hall of Fame Gala is one of NAHJ’s greatest traditions when we pause to celebrate the giants of our industry,” said Iván Román, NAHJ’s executive director. “Because of Juan and Maggie’s foresight and their activism, NAHJ is a leader in many ways, from creating innovative programs that serve as models for the entire industry to speaking out on Capitol Hill on legislation that impacts minority media owners. Fewer people know the story of Francisco P. Ramírez, but once you hear it, you will be inspired.”
Past NAHJ Hall of Fame honorees include such pioneering journalists as Rubén Salazar, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the news director of KMEX who was killed in East Los Angeles, Ignacio E. Lozano Sr., who founded La Opinión, the nation’s oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper and George Ramos, a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter with the Los Angeles Times.
The NAHJ Hall of Fame Gala starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 25 in Chicago during the UNITY ’08 convention.