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The National Association of Hispanic Journalists

Latino journalists learn digital reporting skills

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists trains members in how to use digital tools for accurate news reporting and engaging storytelling.

Supporting Latino perspectives in news media

For David Peña, Jr., executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), representation is essential. NAHJ’s mission, he says, is to “Include more Latinos in the news and more Latinos in news as journalists.” The organization provides professional development and networking opportunities for working and student Latino journalists, with more than 4,000 members based in the U.S., the Caribbean, and Central America. “We advocate for more Latino inclusion in newsrooms to provide stories, perspectives, and an accurate and honest representation of the Latino community,” Peña says.

One challenge Spanish-language journalists face is the spread of misinformation in the Latino community. “How do we bring good journalism without the right training?,” says NAHJ Director of Training and Membership Yaneth Guillen. “A small, Spanish-language newsroom in New Mexico, for example, doesn’t have the resources to provide training to journalists.”

In addition, as the media continues to evolve — and journalism becomes more dangerous — “journalists go through a second-degree of trauma covering certain stories,” Guillen notes. In response, the NAHJ plans to provide not only technical training to journalists, but other programming in support of their mental health and overall well-being.

In fall 2019, the NAHJ partnered with the Google News Initiative to provide training in digital reporting, fact checking, and data-analysis tools ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

For journalists to be able to verify what was real and what was not, using Google tools, was essential to being effective during an election year.
David Peña, Jr.
Executive Director, National Association of Hispanic Journalists

Fighting misinformation, enlightening audiences

“Teaching journalists how to use tools to identify facts and use them in stories to enlighten communities and share the truth is critical,” Guillen says. With support from the Google News Initiative’s U.S. Training Network, the NAHJ developed a Spanish-language training for using tools featured in Google’s Journalist Studio. Beginning in January 2020, the two-hour in-person training was offered to 280 journalists representing Spanish-speaking newsrooms around the U.S.

“There's a lot of distrust of entities such as governments when [journalists] come from authoritarian regimes in South and Central America,” Peña explains. “We were looking for [ways to determine] what information was accurate from entities that were supposed to be trusted in Spanish-language media and among the Latino community. For journalists to be able to verify what was real and what was not, using Google tools, was essential to being effective during an election year.”

The training walked journalists through how to spot misinformation and seek out and verify factual material using tools such as Google Trends, Markup, and Fact Check Explorer.

Guillen says data search tools such as Google Public Data Explorer and Dataset Search, along with data visualization and storytelling tools such as Flourish and Data Gif Maker, helped participants find ways to bring their stories to life. They also learned to use Pinpoint for exploring and analyzing large collections of documents.

“Sometimes newsrooms don’t have high-technology graphic design software. With these tools, journalists can collect data and put graphics into their stories, which is helpful for visual storytelling,” Guillen says.

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Almost 500 members trained in 2020 and 2021
Almost 500 members trained in 2020 and 2021

Building a community of Latino journalists

The NAHJ offered a second, virtual training in both Spanish and English to 214 members in 2021, expanding to include journalists from Central America. And additional trainings are in the works.

Now, the NAHJ has expanded its technical trainings to include personal safety and online security for journalists. “Google’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion helps us add on this programming,” Peña says. “It supports our mission and moves the needle on our efforts.”

“For us, it's about providing member value and resources to our members, but also building a sense of community so they have a resource, not only through Google tools, but through us as an association and then peer to peer,” Peña continues. “Now, members can call upon each other for support while conducting their research or preparing for their own jobs as journalists, while leveraging the tools that Google provides. It’s about having that sense of community.”