Should Hispanic Papers Advocate for Immigrants Rights? (Part II)
While there is general agreement that it is appropriate for Hispanic papers to stand up for immigrants’ rights, a fair question is how best to do so. MST Latino’s Campagna says the answer on how to responsibly advocate for one’s readers in this debate is by adhering to the fundamental tenets of good journalism, fostering rigorous discussion, and by offering reasonable solutions to the problem at hand: “Investigative reporting, editorials and sponsoring community discussion forums are all legitimate advocacy strategies which do not compromise the journalistic principles of impartiality. While I was president of Reflejos, we developed a style of reporting called ‘solution-based journalism.’ It was based on the principle that we must address the top issues facing our community—starting with the factual elements, and then seeking out solutions for our readers.”
Alberto Avendano, associate publisher and editor-in-chief of Tiempo Latino, says one good way to present the issue is by offering a special forum in which to discuss it:
“There are spaces for advocacy in our newspaper: editorials, op-eds, a section we call “Voces”… but never in our reporting. El Tiempo Latino journalism is good because we report on issues relevant to our readers in a way that gives dignity to our community and opens up the social dialogue.” He adds that a reporter may have strong feelings about the immigration issue (some of them have family who are directly affected) but as a professional reporter, he/she cannot take sides. “A well-written story, with all the elements of a sound journalistic piece does not need to take sides to be effective,” says Avendano.
Another point on which there is widespread agreement is that advertiser concerns should never come into play when considering how to cover the story.
“One thing that never enters into the equation in terms of how we cover the debate is advertiser concern. I would also note that we’ve never heard any concerns expressed by advertisers,” says Vourvoulias.
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