Thursday, July 31, 2008

TAMUK at Unity Conference, NAHJ national convention

I had the privilege of traveling to the 2008 Unity Conference and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Convention in Chicago, Ill., July 23-27, with two Texas A&M University-Kingsville graduate students. The conference is the largest of its kind in the nation for journalists "of color." NAHJ held the conference in conjunction with professional associations for black, Asian and Native American journalists. Approximately 5,600 journalists were present.
The highlight of the TAMUK delegation's visit to the conference came during the NAHJ Hall of Fame Banquet, Friday July 25. During the banquet, two video/powerpoint presentations produced by the TAMUK Communications and Theatre Arts Department made their debut. The presentations were: "Los Periodiqueros: 200 Years of Spanish-Language Journalism in the United States" and "Francisco Ramirez: 19th Century Spanish-Language Pioneer." Both were met with much acclaim from the more than 2,500 present at the banquet. "Los Peridiqueros" is based on the research done for my book "Hispanis in the Media," but the work of putting together the presentation was all done by students and staff. Those who worked on the 17-minute "Los Peridiqueros" presentation and the 6-minute "Ramirez" presentation showed that our students and department were up to the task of preparing something for a prestigious national convention. Our students and I were seated right along other great journalism school like those at Northwestern, Columbia, USC, Notre Dame and others. It was fun to hear the names of the professors associated with these prestigious universities and than introduce us from Texas A&M-Kingsville. There were a couple of "uh?" moments in the audience but by the time our two students who attended the conference - Adriana Garza (left photo) and J.R. Quintanilla (right photo) - were introduced for having worked on the productions, they knew TAMUK was an integral part of the ceremonies that night at the Sheraton Chicago. Our students received a loud, long and appreciative ovation. It was very gratifying to see that. Adriana and J.R. were the two chief researchers for the project and also helped in compiling info for the book. Others who helped were Kirk Notarianni, radio-TV operations manager for TAMUK, Sam Eulenfeld, KTAI radio station director; Marco Iniquez, Spanish instructor; and Dr. Carl Saltarelli, assistant professor of communications. I served as producer and writer. Kirk was the director and production manager. Sam was in charge of sound. Marco and Adriana were the talent. The conference was well-worth attending, just for the information and networking possibilities. That we as TAMUK played an integral role in one of the key moments at the conference made our visit to the windy city that much more gratifying. TAMUK can now be counted on as a "player" in the field of journalism nationwide, especially in the eyes of hundreds of professional Hispanic journalists.

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