Washington, D.C. - The National Association of Hispanic Journalists will hold today “A Conversation with Ricardo Alarcón,” the president of Cuba’s national assembly, via satellite from the Caribbean nation to open the association’s 24th Annual Convention and Media & Career Expo to be held June 14-17 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The annual convention will also take on the hot topic of immigration with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, CNN host Lou Dobbs and Jorge Castañeda, the former foreign minister of Mexico, exchanging views on the implications of immigration reform.
Univisión anchor María Elena Salinas will moderate a discussion with other journalists, academics, activists and radio personality Rafael “El Pistolero” Pulido, who helped mobilize the massive pro-immigration marches in Chicago, to explore the quality of news coverage about immigration reform and its impact on the community.
The unprecedented interview via satellite with Alarcón, president of Cuba’s National Assembly of the People’s Power and a member of the Communist Party Politburo, at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14, kicks off the convention’s full line-up of hot topics including immigration, attacks against the press in Latin America, the fundamental changes in the news industry, coverage of Latinos in natural disasters, and Latinos in the Iraq War featuring a conscientious objector and a representative of the military.
From CNN’s Havana Bureau, Alarcón will be interviewed via satellite by Mirta Ojito, a New York Times contributor and professor of journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. A Cuban exile herself, Ojito will interview Alarcón before hundreds of journalists at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. The audience may also submit questions for Alarcón in writing that evening.
“It’s a chance for hundreds of Hispanic journalists from throughout the country to hear directly from a top representative of the Cuban government on many matters that so often factor in to the strained relations between the U.S. and Cuba,” said Iván Román, NAHJ’s executive director. “Part of our mission is to have our journalists hear what newsmakers have to say about a myriad of issues. And whether people know a lot or just a little about Cuba, no one can deny that Cuba is news.”
NAHJ has often used this conversation/interview format to kick off the annual convention, most notably in recent years with Mexican President Vicente Fox and the then newly-elected mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa.
With more than 2,000 journalists and media executives expected to be in attendance, the NAHJ convention is the largest annual gathering of Hispanic journalists in the country. Most of the convention activities will take place at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, including on-site registration that will begin on June 14.
With the theme “NAHJ in Fort Lauderdale: Fuente de Diversidad Hispana,” the convention will feature programming that highlights the diversity of South Florida's Hispanic community and its unique geographical position to South America and the Caribbean, while also focusing on the overarching themes relating to the future of journalists, diversity and the changing role of the media industry.
Other highlights of this year’s convention include:
P. Anthony Ridder, chairman and CEO of Knight Ridder, will join other executives and analysts to discuss the dynamic financial, social and technological changes in the news industry that are affecting how we receive news in our society. Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and former publisher of The Miami Herald will moderate this session titled “Brave New World,” the overarching theme of convention workshops and professional development programming.
Journalists from Cuba, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico who have been imprisoned, faced death threats and witnessed atrocities will share their experiences on a panel about the dangers of journalism in Latin America. Participants include Ramón Cantú Deandar, publisher of El Mañana newspaper in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, whose newsroom was bombed by a drug cartel a few months ago, and Manuel Vásquez Portal, an exiled Cuban journalist.
Latinos in sports will be highlighted with an interview by the NewsHour’s Ray Suarez of Pulitzer-Prize journalist David Maraniss on his new book Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Heir. Also, a super session will focus on whether soccer can became a major U.S. sport as the World Cup takes place in Germany.
National Public Radio will air its Talk of the Nation broadcast live from the convention’s expo hall on Thursday, June 15th. Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan will also lead a mini-workshop on Wednesday to discuss being a news talk show host.
For more information about the convention and its programming, go to www.nahj.org. On-site registration will be available at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center starting on June 14. Questions about this year’s convention can be addressed to the NAHJ office at 202-662-7145 or email@example.com.