Monday, August 08, 2016

"Just a Thought" Column continues-La Prensa of San Antonio, 8-7

Just a Thought: SA Association of Hispanic Journalists
By Steve Walker

As an active dues paying member of the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists (SAAHJ) for a few years, I am proud of what our organization accomplishes in promoting the next generation of young aspiring journalists and honoring its own.

Established in 1987, the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists is composed of local Hispanic, African-American, and Anglo journalists, public relations professionals and students interested in communications or the public relations industry. In the past three or four years we have noticed the increased interest of local college students as well as high school students wishing to pursue a career in journalism joining our ranks as members.

Our organization takes great pride in our effort to continually raise funds as part of our charter to offer young students an opportunity to qualify for scholarships for college and pursue a career in one of the communications field.

This year on August 19th we will host our 18th Scholarship and Awards Gala at the Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market.

One of our notable success stories is a SAAHJ former past President Francisco Vara-Orta who served two years ago, who was also a past recipient of more than one scholarship from the organization over the years.  Our three immediate past presidents are Express News Columnist Elaine Ayala, Express-News Metro Editor Nora Lopez, and Express-News Reporter Diane Fuentes who will officially step down after the gala. Univision Reporter Gary Cooper will take the helm of the chapter as President.

During our gala we will award well over $25,000 in scholarships to the next generation of media and communications professionals as well as spotlight three honorees.

This year’s honorees include: Singer Little Joe Hernandez is the Corozon de Oro Award recipient, Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez is the Henry Guerra Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Journalism recipient and the Community Service Award recipient is former Councilwoman Maria Berriozabal who I have previously written about in my column.

Some former recipients are Univision-41 Anchorwoman Monica Navarro who was named the recipient of the Henry Guerra Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Journalism and Fox 29 News Anchorwoman Karen Martinez who was named the recipient of the Community Service Award. That Award was presented posthumously to Martinez’s family at that Gala since Martinez lost her battle with cancer.

Others include: KSAT-12 Reporter Jessie Degollado who was the recipient of the Henry Guerra Award and Father David Garcia recipient of the Community Service Award. On a personal note, I was privileged to work with Degollado in 1983 at the ABC affiliate in Weslaco where she anchored the five o’clock news, while I served as a general assignments reporter.

With more Hispanic media markets opening up and competing with the mainstream media for the Hispanic viewers, and a push for more Hispanic Journalists working in the mainstream media, the SAAHJ is doing its part to promote quality and excellence over quantity.

Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”

Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.

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