Region 2 Update: Upcoming Changes Within NAHJ

The theme for the 2011 NAHJ national convention is “Un Nuevo Amanecer: A New Day for Our Story.” These words have become more fitting than we initially envisioned.

As you may have heard, NAHJ executive director Iván Román submitted his resignation to the board of directors at our meeting in New York City over the weekend. Iván will stay on through the 2011 convention in Orlando and is committed to working with the board during this transition. As a board, we recognize and appreciate Iván for all he has done for our organization.

I first met Iván when I was a member of the NAHJ student campus, an experience that would go on to shape not just my role within this organization, but ultimately my career and my life. In many ways, Iván has been the face of this organization. He helmed NAHJ through one of the most trying times in our industry’s history, and his commitment to the Latino community, journalism and NAHJ is unquestioned. For those of you that have had the pleasure, he is also quite a salsa partner.

Now, it is up to NAHJ to move forward. I am incredibly confident and optimistic about our ability to do so. While board members may have differences of both opinion and personality, we are all committed to this organization and share similar visions for NAHJ.

NAHJ has struggled to rebound from the economic challenges of the last few years, and getting us on firm financial footing is a top priority for the board. We approved a budget that projects surplus revenue of roughly $171,000, based not on optimistic projections, but on realistic information and achievable goals. My appreciation goes out to financial officer Russell Contreras for all of his efforts on this front.

This also means we will be making cuts at the national office, a decision we as a board did not take lightly. However, our commitment as board members is to act in the best interest of you, our members. And I truly believe that grounding our organization financially — so that we are not making year-end pleas to attempt to close a six-figure deficit — is the best way to do so. A financially healthy NAHJ will allow us to best serve our members.

More changes will be coming. I will do my best to keep you informed of them, and as always, feel free to contact me for any questions.

It has been a rough few years for NAHJ, but I truly believe that this board has laid the groundwork and enacted the necessary changes to emerge from this time stronger. The core of this organization is our membership, and I have been incredibly fortunate as Region 2 director to get to meet many of you and see firsthand the commitment, talent, resilience and spirit of the incredible individuals that comprise our organization.

We all know that journalism has entered a new era, and NAHJ is adapting and evolving to meet these changing times. For NAHJ, it is “Un Nuevo Amanecer: A New Day for Our Story.” And in the next chapter of that story, I have no doubt we will emerge a stronger, more unified organization.

Maria Burns Ortiz
Region 2 Director and Sports Task Force Chair
National Association of Hispanic Journalists