In this issue:
- President’s Message
- Writers Program Update
- Hate Speech Update
- Smart Television Alliance
- Impact Awards Luncheon
- Impact Awards Gala
- Maya Entertainment Update
- Media Policy Watch
Dear Friends of NHMC,
The first seven months of this year have been a whirlwind of activity. We started off on January 27th with a reception in Washington D.C. honoring then Labor Secretary Nominee Hilda Solis. The following day we held a press conference also in D.C. publicizing a Petition of Inquiry that our attorneys led by Jessica Gonzalez filed at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that same day. Hate speech and hate crimes against Latinos are at an all time high. We asked the FCC to open a docket to investigate the pervasiveness of hate speech and its possible casual relationship to hate crimes. Additionally, we requested the FCC explore solutions to mitigate the terrible effects hate speech in media is having in our community. As many of you may know hate speech and hate crimes against Latinos is our number one agenda item at NHMC.
At the press conference we also unveiled preliminary findings of a study conducted by our friends and allies at the U.C.L.A. Chicano Research Center which quantifies the types of hate speech utilized by three hate mongering talk show hosts in speaking about Latinos: Michael Savage, John and Ken here in Los Angeles and the infamous Lou Dobbs at CNN. We also made public a letter sent to the National Television and Information Administration (NTIA) asking for an update on a report issued in 1993 which explored the link between hate speech and hate crimes.
Former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani and I attended the US Hispanic Leadership Institute Convention in Chicago on March 18th and in front of 600 young people and adults gave a presentation on this horrible malady attacking our community. Later in May representatives from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for American Progress and the Asian Pacific Law Center joined me in meetings with the News Presidents of ABC and NBC and their executive staffs to ask that balance be adhered to in news reports and public affairs programs touching on immigration.
You will all remember that it was the immigration issue that brought the media right wingers and haters front and center taking their accusations and opinions to such incendiary and unsubstantiated heights that one would think Latinos were to blame for everything wrong with the country, the state of the economy included. We did the same with the News Presidents and their staff at Telemundo and Univision in Miami in June. In fact the President of Telemundo made it a point to be present. We visited CBS late last year and I’m happy to report that CBS and all the other networks visited have agreed to be balanced and fair in their reporting of the Latino community regardless of the issue.
More recently, 33 organizations signed a support letter submitted to the FCC on July 3rd, asking that the NHMC Petition of Inquiry be responded to given the terrible climate of hate crimes that have attacked the nation in just the last several weeks. We hope you join us in our efforts to insist that the FCC open a docket on hate speech in media and that the NTIA update its 1993 report “The Role of Telecommunication in Hate Crimes.”
As all this activity on hate speech/hate crimes was going on our Vice President of Media Policy based in D.C., Inez Gonzalez, worked hard on telecommunication issues that impact our community and other communities of color. Read the Media Policy section of our newsletter and you will see the incredible amount of work and action that Inez has generated.
Another issue that deserves mentioning is our continuous effort to diversify the entertainment industry. We continue to gather data on the number of Latinos working in front and back of camera. We encourage and sometimes prod the networks and other entertainment producing entities to diversify their workforce even more and faster. Although much has been accomplished in the last several years, communities of color have a long way to go before we’re even at 7% employment parity, proportionally speaking. Nevertheless at NHMC’s star studded Beverly Hills Impact Awards Gala held February 20, Latino artists turned out in force to celebrate their achievements. You can read and see pictures of our award recipients in this newsletter.
Finally, for those of you have complained about the terrible negative stereotyping that aired on the NBC pilot “Southland” in May, allow me to first give those readers who aren’t aware of the situation some background. Southland is a police show based in Los Angeles where the population is 48% Latino. Latino police officers make up 40 plus percent of the force at all levels. Additionally, for the first time in history the police academy has over 50% Latinos going through the rigorous course. In the Southland pilot, of the 10 plus leading roles there was only one Latino detective, but he was not identified as such. All the bad guys, however, over twenty were very clearly Latinos. We have met with the NBC leadership and are working towards a resolution that will eliminate this from ever happening again. This resolution is expected within the next couple of weeks and we will send you news as soon as we have it.
I hate leaving you with negative news so allow me to repeat to you what a wise woman once told me, “whenever there is chaos and disorder there is also opportunity for positive change.” My Grandmother Doña Lola la curandera told me this. I believe it and I hope you do too as we navigate the waters of these challenging and yet exciting times.
President & CEO
Latino Television Writers Program
The success of the NHMC-administered Latino Television Writers Program is measured simply by the number of American Latino writers that are placed on successful network shows. A recent example of such a success story is Mark Valadez. After the writers program, he was accepted into the ABC Writers Fellowship Program and is now a staff writer for the ABC show “Scrubs.”
Mark Valadez writes: “My experience in the NHMC Television Writers Program was life-changing in a couple of ways. To begin with, the workshop environment fostered a focus on craft that really made me fall in love with writing all over again. What’s more, the industry access the program provided was invaluable in paving career inroads I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I forged relationships that carried over into my current position as a 2009 ABC/Disney Writing Fellow. In a sense, the NHMC was a pleasurable creative boot camp that prepared me for the fellowship.
Finally, what I take away from the program is a great support system of nurturing peers in the people who participated in the program with me. I maintain and treasure those relationships, and that of course includes, Geoff Harris, whose tutelage and mentorship was invaluable. The program showed me the way to a new career path. For me personally, November 2008 was the dividing line between old and new chapters in my life. The key now is for me to work at following it through. I credit the program with positioning me to do that.”
Fall 2009 Television Writers Program Call for Submissions
This program is not for beginners. It is for writers who can write at least a one half-hour comedy or a one-hour dramatic television script in English within a five-week period of time. The program will take place in Los Angeles, CA from November 7 to December 12. Each participant is expected to complete at least one script by the end of the five-week session, which will then be read by network executives. Those writers whose scripts show promise will be interviewed and mentored by the network executives with the idea of placing them on a show. Nine of our writers from previous sessions have already been placed. A stipend of $250 per week will be given to each participant.
Flight, housing, and meals will be provided. The program will commence on November 7. If selected, you must be available to fly and stay in Los Angeles, CA from November 7 to December 12, 2009. Writing samples must be in English and television scripts are preferred. Please note that writing teams are ineligible. The deadline for submissions is August 28. Scripts will be evaluated and program participants announced on October 12.
For writing samples to be considered, please submit the following:
- Program application
- Writing sample (1) hard copy and saved on a CD (PDF format)
- Notarized release forms
- A paragraph explaining why you want to write for television
To download program application and release forms, please visit https://www.nhmc.org/documents/Writers_Program/WP09.pdf
Writing sample must be postmarked by August 28 and sent to:
National Latino Media Council
55 S. Grand Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105
For more information please call Acasia Flores at (626) 792-6462.
Hate Speech in the Media Update
This article was written by Joe Torres from Free Press- Stick and Stones posted on January 30th, 2009
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
Growing up, how often did your parents tell you this in their effort to protect you from school-yard bullies?
Despite their best intentions, you knew better. You learned that words can hurt. Now as an adult, you know that words have the power to inspire, as well as the power to tear people apart.
Many in the Latino community understand firsthand the power of words to bring out the worst in people. In recent years, hate crimes against Latinos have spiked by 40 percent sparked, in large part, by the hostile public debate over immigration. And many Latino leaders believe that right-wing talk shows have played a primary role in igniting the growing violence against their community.
This week, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), working with the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law Center, filed a petition for inquiry that called on the FCC to investigate the pervasiveness of hate speech on the public airwaves and its impact on the Latino community. The groups also called on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to update its 1993 Hate Speech report. At the time, the NTIA expressed concern that “the media may be creating an “atmosphere that encourages and legitimizes violence against minority groups.” But the report stopped short, stating “the available data linking the problem of hate crimes to telecommunications remains scattered and largely anecdotal.”
But the media landscape has been transformed since 1993. The NHMC’s petition provides several examples of the kinds of hate speech that are polluting the airwaves and creating a toxic environment that motivates violence.
Talk-show host Michael Savage ranted last year that undocumented immigrants have “raped” the Statue of Liberty and that the United States is being “overrun” by an “invading horde from another nation that wants to sweep you off the map.” Montana radio host John Stokes called for cutting off the limbs of anyone who cannot not speak English: “Romans 15:19 says that if they break into your country, chop off their leg. We have to forcibly get rid of them.”
It is this kind of rhetoric that the NHMC believes has fueled a recent string of hate crimes that ended in horrific murders.
Last year, 31-year-old Jose Sucuzhanay, a legal resident and a father of two, was beaten to death in Queens, New York by four men who hit him in the head with a bottle because of his ethnicity and because they believed he was gay. In Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, teenagers yelled racial epithets at 25-year-old Luis Eduardo Ramirez Zavala, saying, “Go Back to Mexico,” while beating him to death. In Patchogue, New York, several teenagers killed 37-year-old Marcelo Lucero after they spent a day targeting Hispanics, including firing a BB gun at a Hispanic man in a car and beating up another Hispanic man who was fortunate to escape.
NHMC is optimistic that with Obama’s election, the FCC will examine the issue of hate speech on the public airwaves. Last September, Obama told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during a campaign appearance:
“This election is about the 12 million people living in the shadows, the communities taking immigration enforcement into their own hands, they’re counting on us to stop the hateful rhetoric filling our airwaves, rise above the fear and demagoguery, and finally enact comprehensive immigration reform.”
Obama should understand as well as anyone how words can stoke hatred and threats of violence. Newsweek reported that in the lead-up to the presidential election, death threats against Obama spiked. It was during this time that conservative TV and radio talk-show hosts pounded away daily at Obama, claiming he wasn’t coming clean about his relationship with William Ayers, a terrorist from the 1960s and 1970s. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin even accused Obama of “palling around with terrorists.”
The rise in hate speech also coincides with an increase in the number of hate groups in the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) found that close to 900 hate groups now exist and that 250 nativist groups have been founded in recent years. In addition, the Anti-Defamation League found that nativist groups have increasingly appeared on news programs as legitimate opponents of immigration.
The NHMC petition is not asking for the FCC to pass new rules that regulate speech or to bring back the Fairness Doctrine. Rather, the group is seeking to shed light on the connection between hate speech and hate crimes.
One area that needs to be examined is the impact of media consolidation on the increase in hate speech. The 1996 Telecommunications Act led to massive consolidation in the radio industry, lifting the cap on the number of stations a company can own. Consequently, the consolidation reduced the diversity of voices on the air and made it easier for a syndicated talk program to be carried on more stations.
For example, a study conducted by the Center for American Progress and Free Press in 2007 found that 91 percent of the talk programming that airs on the top five commercial radio station owners — CBS, Clear Channel, Citadel, Cumulus and Salem — is conservative.
The FCC should not delay in investigating the link between hate speech and hate crimes. As it turns out, sticks and stones may break my bones, but name calling may also kill me.
Smart Television Alliance
Last September, the NHMC joined the Smart Television Alliance (STA), a new coalition of national nonprofit organizations united by a shared commitment to improving what our nation’s children watch on television. STA’s mission is to help parents and caregivers use technology, online tools, and program recommendations from trusted children’s media experts to make smart television viewing choices. By promoting the viewing of educational and informational programming, STA will build a market for more high-quality children’s television shows.
STA’s summer campaign “Smart Summer” has just been launched. Over the summer months children’s television viewing increases by 150 percent, according to Nielsen ratings. With school out, this new effort will provide busy parents peace of mind knowing that they can control what’s being watched on television, video games and the Internet, while still offering their children fun and engaging ways that will add to what children learn over the summer.
Television is one of the most powerful mediums in the world. It can educate, inspire, and entertain us. At the same time, the alarming increase in violence, indecency, and sexual content on television sends our children a very different message — one that undermines the positive values parents and caregivers are trying to instill in young people today. Change starts at home and STA is working with parents to make sure that they are part of the movement to take control of their televisions.
“Kids watch more television during the summer than any other time of the year. The Smart Television Alliance is an excellent resource for families to make better choices for their kids. Television can be a powerful educational source, but it’s the content that makes a difference and the alliance advises parents on good content for their children to watch.” – – Alex Nogales, President and CEO, National Hispanic Media Coalition.
STA summer tools and resources can be found at www.smarttelevisionalliance.org. STA offers parents and children numerous summer tips:
Television: Tips on how to take control of television by using home electronics (DVDs, TiVo, On Demand).
Find Great Television Programs: We list children’s programs recommended by experts. You can also visit the STA web site and write your own reviews.
Video Games: Find out the parental controls that are on home video game systems
Online Activities: Sprout, Smithsonian, and WordWorld are great places for kids to hangout online.
Local Impact Awards Luncheon
12th Annual Impact Awards Gala
Hollywood Luminaries Gather to Recognize Outstanding Latino Talent at the 12th Annual Impact Awards Gala
Click on picture above to watch Gala video
The National Hispanic Media Coalition
held its 12th Annual Impact Awards Gala on Friday, February 20 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. The annual event celebrates outstanding Latino performances and recognizes outstanding service and commitment to the Latino community. NBC stars Nadine Velazquez, who stars as “Catalina” on “My Name is Earl,” and Yancey Arias, most recently seen on the NBC drama series, “Knight Rider” were the masters of ceremonies for this star-studded event.
2009 Impact Award Recipients:
Rosario Dawson: Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture. A native New Yorker, Rosario is best known to her legions of fans for her work in such films as Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse” and Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation of “Sin City.” Dawson is being recognized for her work opposite Will Smith in “Seven Pounds,” but her work in “Voto Latino” to empower the Latino community through voter registration and other community activism makes her a rare talent indeed.
Outstanding Director for a Motion Picture.
Born in Palo Alto, California, the Emmy-winning director/choreographer admits that his “first love” has always been the theatre. Mentored by the great Gene Kelly, Ortega has developed an astute understanding of what it takes to create and sustain entertaining, dramatic moments that continually exceed an audience’s expectations as evidenced in his direction of the highly successful Disney movies, “High School Musical” and “High School Musical 2 and 3.”
were also presented to: Wilmer Valderrama
, Outstanding Performance in a Television Series
, for his work in voicing the title role on the popular Disney Channel animated series, “Handy Manny;” to award-winning actress, Lauren Velez
, Outstanding Performance in a Television Series
, for her convincing portrayal as Lt. Maria LaGuerta on the hit Showtime drama series, “Dexter;” to Emmy-nominated actor, Freddy Rodriguez
, Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture
, for his role in “Nothing Like the Holidays” as youngest brother Jesse. Rodriguez also co-executive produced the film. And an Impact Award for Outstanding Marketing in Film and Television
was presented to Santiago Pozo
, CEO of Arenas, one of the leading Hispanic entertainment marketing companies and the Hispanic AOR for Paramount Pictures.
Congratulations to Joaquín Alvarado
, Named Senior Vice President for Diversity and Innovation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced the appointment of Joaquín Alvarado as senior vice president for Diversity and Innovation effective June 30, 2009. As senior vice president for Diversity and Innovation, Alvarado will provide strategic guidance and leadership for strengthening the corporation’s capacity to serve as a catalyst for innovation and inclusion within public media, as well as for broadening the reach and diversity of the public media’s audience.
"In a world of shifting demographics and fast-paced technological change, the concepts of inclusion and innovation are business imperatives for public service media," said Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of CPB. "Joaquín is a talented executive who understands the link between leadership and innovation, and innovation and the development and sustenance of a talented, diverse workforce."
Alvarado holds a B.A. in Chicano Studies from UC Berkeley and an M.F.A. from the UCLA School of Film, Television and Digital Media. He has served on the board of directors for the Bay Area Video Coalition, the California Council for the Humanities, CineGrid, TechSoup Global, and Latino Public Broadcasting.
Congratulations to Ronald Gordon
, Named President of the Telemundo Station Group. Ronald Gordon, co-founder and President of ZGS Communications has been named President of theTelemundo Television Station Group. The announcement was made this past April by Don Browne, President, Telemundo Communications Group. In his new role, Gordon will report directly to Browne and oversee the operation of all the Telemundo local stations within the continental United States and Puerto Rico.
“This is a win-win opportunity for ZGS and for me personally. It is an important step for ZGS in every aspect of our relationship with Telemundo, and it provides me a unique opportunity to share what I have learned over the past 25 years in Spanish-language broadcasting. I am excited about what the future holds for ZGS,” said Ronald Gordon.
Julissa Marenco has been named ZGS President.
Congratulations to Myriam Marquez
Milestone for Latina Journalist.
Miami Herald columnist Myriam Marquez has been named editorial page editor at the Miami Herald.
Myriam Marquez has worked at The Miami Herald since October 2005. As an assistant city editor, she coordinated coverage of South Florida’s Latin American and Caribbean communities. She became deputy metro editor in December 2007. She has overseen award-winning projects, including coverage of torture suspects at Krome and Gitmo, higher education and the evolving face of Miami’s Cuban exile community.
She is a graduate of Miami Senior High and Miami-Dade Community College. Born in Havana, Myriam grew up bilingual and bicultural. She is married and has two sons.
During her 18 years at the Orlando Sentinel, Myriam received numerous awards as a columnist and editorial board member. She also served as the Sentinel’s enterprise editor. She’s a graduate of the University of Maryland, with a bachelor’s in journalism and a minor in political science.
Maya Entertainment Teams Up with Blockbuster to Advance Latino Films with Film Festival
Maya Entertainment, the Latino-owned film entertainment company that brought "How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer" to the big screen, is teaming up with Blockbuster, a global provider of home movie and game entertainment, to support the growing Latino filmmaking industry in the U.S. and spotlight quality examples of its work.
"We recognize the growing Hispanic marketplace and the massive opportunity to further capture those consumers with the launch of these projects," commented Keith Leopard, director of film content for Blockbuster. "Maya is a great company for us to work with to promote the Latino film category and further Blockbuster’s focus on delivering diverse entertainment to a broad consumer base."
Maya Independent sponsored by Blockbuster will take Latino-themed films and exhibit them theatrically as part of a mid-year, 10-city tour including theaters owned and operated by Maya’s sister company Maya Cinemas. Following the theatrical tour, the films will be available for rental exclusively at Blockbuster stores beginning with Hispanic Heritage Month in September 2009.
"Historically, these films might not have been released theatrically and as a result not be seen in the format for which they were created," added Jose Martinez, Jr., executive VP of Maya Entertainment who oversees acquisitions. "We are happy to offer this unique opportunity to filmmakers who want to showcase their work and offer the U.S. audience an opportunity to enjoy high-quality films."
Media Policy Watch
NHMC in Washington, D.C.
We can expect great change with President Barack Obama in office. On June 25, the Senate approved Julius Genachowski as chairman of the FCC and Robert McDowell to a new term as FCC commissioner.
Genachowski’s leadership at the FCC is likely to be a positive change since he has direct knowledge and experience in communications and technology, both in government and in the private sector. He worked at the FCC during the Clinton administration, and later served as a technology executive and an industry entrepreneur.
The confirmation hearing for the additional two nominees for the FCC panel took place on July 15. Mignon Clyburn, a South Carolina public utilities commissioner, the daughter of Congressman James Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker, former Commerce Department official and daughter-in-law of former Secretary of State James Baker. The FCC has been in good hands under Acting Chairman Copps, but we need the Senate to act quickly and confirm these two FCC nominees in order to have a full commission that needs to start working on its agenda including distributing $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus funds and developing a national broadband plan by 2010.
Former FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein will be moving on to the U.S. Department of Agriculture pending Senate confirmation as the head of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency that will be awarding $2.5 billion in broadband stimulus money. We will miss working with Commissioner Adelstein who has been a champion for diversity issues and inclusion and wish him great success at RUS. Nuestros mejores deseos a usted y su familia (Adelstein is fluent in Spanish, by the way).
The Obama campaign’s Technology and Innovation Plan now is incorporated in the President’s agenda. While on the campaign, the President talked about encouraging diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promoting the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarifying the public-interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation’s spectrum. His track record so far has been about fulfilling his campaign promises and we are excited to finally have the issue of diversity in ownership front and center at the FCC.
In other news from Capitol Hill, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller created a new Communication and Technology Subcommittee and named Senator John Kerry (D-MA) chairman. The ranking member in the committee is John Ensign (R-NV). We expect Senator Kerry to be a strong ally for the NHMC’s work. John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable wrote on February 12, 2009, that Kerry has been critical of media consolidation and pushed the FCC to allow unlicensed devices in TV white spaces. Last year, Kerry teamed up with then-Senator Barack Obama to try and block the FCC’s relaxation of the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership ban.
Finally, we are pleased to announce that the Media and Democracy Coalition elected a new 13-member board at our 2009 annual meeting including Inez Gonzalez, NHMC Vice President of Media Policy.
As always, we share with you the list of current media issues that the NHMC, with your support, continues to advance for the benefit of the American Latino community.
- Minority Media Ownership
- Community Radio
- Public Interest Obligations for Broadcast Lincenses
- A la Carte