The San Diego City College chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists met for the first time this semester on Feb. 27.
NAHJ is a group dedicated to supporting professional and student journalists within the Hispanic community. The organization is multicultural, and accepts anyone interested in journalism or communications, according to chapter adviser Professor Laura Castaneda.
Based in Washington D.C., the NAHJ was founded in 1984 and has over 2000 members. There is a professional chapter based out of the San Diego-Tijuana area and a student chapter on campus. City College is the only student chapter listed on the website that is not a four year university.
NAHJ provides student journalists with networking opportunities, scholarships, conferences and many other resources, according to the group’s website.
“It’s a great way to make connections and to be able to show your work. They are an amazing support to the Latino community as well.” Said Gabby Fernandez, a content producer for Telemundo Phoenix.
“The first time I went to a job fair, I was discriminated for being Latino, and because of my accent. I was about to give up on my dreams, “ Fernandez said.
Fernandez, a former City College student, is a current NAHJ member and was previously a part of the college’s student chapter. She credits the association with helping her land her first job in broadcast journalism.
Students involved with NAHJ are connected with Newscene, City College’s weekly newscast produced on campus.
Laura Castañeda is the department chair for City College’s Radio, Television and Film department. She has been a professional member of the NAHJ for more than 20 years. As the adviser, she ensures the students follow the rules for on-campus clubs, and also works closely with members to ensure they take advantage of scholarship opportunities.
“Since I’ve been teaching at City College, now 16 years, at least ten of my students have been selected from thousands of applicants for scholarships, and have been selected to take part in a unique week long student project. NAHJ flies them out to their annual national conference where they cover the conference as part of the convention student journalism team,” Castaneda said.
At the NAHJ meeting, they also discussed panels they hope to hold on campus ranging from local broadcast news outlets taking tours of the City College studio, to editors of well-known fact checking organizations giving discussions on fake news.
A potential fundraiser for the group was dubbed, “Real News, Alternative Pies,” by Vice President Jake Domecus, the idea being a classic pie-in-the-face stand, with student journalists as the target. The fundraiser is still in the planning phase. The next scheduled meeting for the City College chapter of NAHJ is Tuesday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m., in C-204.