Ex-Murdoch Tabloid and Phone-Hack Scandal Hack Axes Latin@s


SPECIAL TO THE DAILY NEWS: (NEW YORK) The minions of Colin Myler, a cold-blooded fiend posing as a Good Samaritan announced this Saturday that the Daily News’s weekly Spanish-language publication Hora Hispana will cease publication, and that the editor of the Viva section, which focuses on Latino/as and has been edited by veteran journalist Maite Junco, was let go. Hora Hispana editor Rodolfo Quebleen and sales rep José Santiago were also sacked.

Only in America, where tanorexic Octomoms make millions when wardrobe malfunctions expose their most recent vajazzle can a bloke be censured for lying to Members of Parliament about who was hacking whom and land on his feet in New York and “take on” his ex-boss’s New York Post. Bloody bloody, ain’t it, and guess why he was accused of misleading the MPs of the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee? He said that the phone hacking was “limited to a sole ‘rogue’ reporter.” It’s never about a culture of corruption, it’s always a ruddy rogue that mucks up the coverts in a Fox hunt.


Myler’s men insist that the barely breathing Viva section will be retained, but with no “advertising support” its eventual fate is uncertain. The Viva section, which was in English, was the bigger loss for folks like us, and the increasing majority of English-speaking or bilingual Latinos. Full disclosure: The Viva section was home to my piece about the Taller Boricua controversy, another one about Calle 13 and a major arts show at the new uptown location of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, and for many Latinos in the arts and culture scene in New York Viva was responsible for much-needed exposure. It was a rare dedicated space to Latino arts and culture within a major newspaper in the media capital.

Daily News spokespeople say Viva will continue, but I’m highly suspicious that this will go like it has in other major newspapers, where Latino stories become deprioritized by virtue of reduced dedicated space and staffing. When I first started writing for major media there were Latino arts critics on staff at most of the major newspapers across the country, and now there are very few and almost no dedicated columns or sections devoted to Latino arts. You hear the same stories about Latinos and other people of color (a case in point–the recent buyout at Newsday a couple of years ago that resulted in the departure of several African-American staffers) who say nobly that it was time to leave, time for a fresh start, but these papers never make a serious effort to make sure these people stay, and letting an editor go is often the first step to letting several writers go.

This is what Viva editor Maite Junco was referring to in her quote: “It’s hard to be surprised after what we have seen in journalism the last few years.” And of course she might say she meant that there have been increasing cutbacks, but the subtext is that journalism directed at groups like Latinos has been denied a guaranteed space that was fought for in the civil rights era, and older Latinos who have had these jobs are let go because they make better money, and their space is filled by less experienced staffers who work for a reduced rate and without a space the stories get lost.

Relatively subtle erosion of the representation of our experience are paralleled in the academic world when unprincipled ex-WSJ hacks attack African-American studies departments and get fired for it, but those departments can’t simply be wiped out because there’s not enough of an advertising base to continue their existence. The elimination of academic disciplines can only be accomplished through a long, painful process that can cause widespread embarrassment to the champions of their dissolution. Of course vigilance is always required to ward of such attacks, as there has already been a serious truncation of related fields.

I imagine we could just give up on major media entirely, or cling to a false notion of journalistic objectivity that our stories will get through on “merit” in a normal competitive pitching process.

But you and I know they won’t unless we push back.


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