New NAHJ Board Kills No-Tweet Policy

Journal-isms: The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has reinstituted social networking during meetings.


Vote in Tied Secretary’s Race Extended Two Weeks

On their first day on the job, the new leaders of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists voted 6-5 Saturday to reverse the previous board’s much-criticized policy barring tweeting during NAHJ board meetings.

Rebecca Aguilar of Dallas, the newly elected vice president for online, made the motion to reverse a policy that became widely known only this week after the board Tuesday asked a student journalist to stop live tweeting the board’s deliberations. Nadia Khan, who was reporting for the student convention news project, was told that she could stay but not live tweet. She left.

The issue exploded into cyberspace and outside the confines of the NAHJ meeting space.

On Saturday at a board meeting of the Asian American Journalists Association, AAJA National President Doris Truong was asked if live tweeting was permitted. “Of course we allow live tweeting,” Truong responded. “We’re not in China.” NAHJ and AAJA, along with the Native American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, were meeting in Las Vegas Saturday as part of the Unity Journalists convention.

In other business on the morning after a hard-fought NAHJ election, in which Hugo Balta, a coordinating producer at ESPN, successfully challenged board member Russell Contreras for the NAHJ presidency, the board resolved a tie in the secretary’s race by extending the voting in that contest for two weeks. The contestants are Sergio Quintana and Chris Ramirez.

In addition, Balta said, the association plans to explore holding its 2013 convention in Anaheim, Calif., in conjunction with the already-scheduled joint meeting of the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Society of Professional Journalists, perhaps adding CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California. The board was already considering a proposal from Albuquerque, N.M.

Then-NAHJ President Michele Salcedo told members Thursday that the 1,259-member association was justified in banning reporters from tweeting from its meeting because “we’re not a government entity” and “we’re not required to be open to the public.”

“If you have tweets . . . sent out at every point of the discussion, it doesn’t necessarily encapsulate the decisions that have been made,” Salcedo said. “It is misinformation because it is not complete.”