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 July 15th we will host our 19th 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 four years ago, who was also a past recipient of more than one scholarship from the organization over the years.
Some of our past presidents are Express News Columnist Elaine Ayala, Express-News Metro Editor Nora Lopez, Express-News Reporter Diane Fuentes and Univision Reporter Gary Cooper who resigned earlier this year. Texas Public Reporter (TPR) Joey Palacios serves as the interim President and newly elected President for next year. He will begin his elected term after the gala.
During our gala we will once again 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: the Corozon de Oro Award recipient is CNN Reporter Jim Acosta, Express-News Reporter John Gonzalez is the Henry Guerra Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Journalism, recipient, and the Community Service Award recipient is RAICES Immigration Legal Service Agency.
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.