NAHJ Boston, you’re on the air at WBUR

For those of you who missed last night’s NAHJ Boston meeting (and you know who you are and we know who you are and where you work) here’s a quick recap.

Sitting three stories above bustling Commonwealth Avenue, eight NAHJ members and three WBUR officials met inside the radio station’s dining hall. WBUR “Con Salsa” host Jose Masso led the meeting by introducing Paul La Camera, general manager;  Sam Fleming, managing editor of news and programming; and John Davidow, news director and managing editor.

They briefly talked about WBUR’s presence in Boston and nationally. The station employees 130 staffers including eight local journalists such as general assignment reporter Bianca Vazquez Tonness. They help  produce local shows such as “On Point,” “Radio Boston,” and “Car Talk.” The station operations on a $21 milllion annual budget, with $7 million coming from listeners and six percent from the federal government. As La Camera pointed out, the station is self-sufficient despite its affiliation with Boston University. “We really are as populist as an institution can be,” he said. They also spoke about the importance of diversity on the dial.

As he, Davidow, and Fleming left skid marks on the tile floor as they dashed out the door to make the Red Sox game, the meeting continued. Several servings of cheese-topped pasta and tender chicken breasts later, new goals were presented.

Among them:

Create a printed facebook of Latino media professionals in Boston. This would serve as an historic narrative, a thoughtful catalog of reporters who worked in TV, print and radio in Boston in the past 30 years or so. This will provide a time frame of which reporters worked where in Boston and where are they now. We would have a printed record to hopefully present a year from now for NAHJ Boston’s anniversary gala. The printed version would be complemented with an online database. The narrative part of the project maybe morph into a student intern project or thesis.

Establish a speaker’s bureau, a resource for local community leaders and institutions to go to when they need a Latino media personality to speak on his or her craft or a specific topic.  As we gather the information about our currrent journalists, we will catalog their talents and skills for this bureau.

Brainstorming ways to raise money for student scholarships or projects. One idea mentioned was a gala dinner, perhaps a one-on-one interview with a popular visiting musician and followed with a meet-and-greet dinner at a college such as Berklee. The goal is to have some ideas of where and when to do this in 2009 at the upcoming November meeting.

Network with other local professional networks such as Latino Professional Network and the local chapter of Independent Latino film producers. Have at least one NAHJ member attend their events to establish our presence and spread the word.

Reach out to journalism departments at local colleges and universities to make our presence known. One idea was to have a future meeting at a local college newspaper. (Northeastern, Emerson, etc.)

Create an E-newsletter to let other members and potential members know what we’re doing. (I think I am doing this now with this entry.)

Create an online calendar (perhaps on this blog or our facebook page) of future meetings, which will take place the second or third Thursday of every month and at various local news organizations. (NESN, WCVB or WBZ-TV, etc.)



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