NAHJ proudly announces the 2016 Hall of Fame inductees. Every year, NAHJ recognizes individuals who are making a difference for Latinos in the newsroom.

This year, the NAHJ board of directors voted to induct four individuals, one posthumously. They will join 46 distinguished journalists who have been previously honored.

The induction takes place during the Hall of Fame Honors Luncheon on Friday, Aug. 5 at the annual convention in Washington DC which takes place Aug. 3-7.

The 2016 inductees:

Zita Arocha, educator, founder of Borderzine and former NAHJ executive director

“Zita has been the soul of NAHJ and continues to be a beacon for diversity and journalism,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “Zita not only helped lead NAHJ in its early days, but she has been committed to training and developing hundreds, if not thousands, of Latino journalists. She has been a leader in journalism on the border, developing a platform for stories that are uniquely situated for the region and necessary for the country and world.”

Hugo Balta, ESPN senior director of multicultural content, past NAHJ President 2012-2014

“Hugo saved NAHJ. He brought back an organization that was near bankruptcy – both monetarily and emotionally,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “We honor him this year not only for what he has done for our organization and Latino journalists, but what he continues to do through his career, mentoring and leadership.”

Veronica Villafañe, founder, editor and publisher  of, past NAHJ President 2004-2006

“Veronica led the organization as the industry shifted and she paved the path for our organization to adapt and grow,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “Her work during her tenure as NAHJ President tackled net neutrality, lack of minority ownership and Lou Dobbs. Her presidency was among the first to focus directly on Spanish-language media. Her own entrepreneurship, passion and determination has led her to a new career in digital journalism and today is the most valued source of news about Latinos in our industry.”

Robert Montemayor (posthumous induction), former educator at Rutgers University, LA Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner and Texas Tech graduate

“Mr. Montemayor was part of the team of Latino journalists that, in my opinion, showed the world our value, our perspective and who we are as Latinos,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “The team members, all Latino journalists, produced a series of stories that countered the stereotypical coverage of Latinos then in the news media. Because of their efforts, the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded to the Los Angeles Times. Montemayor also taught hundreds of journalism students at Rutgers University and authored, ‘Right Before Our Eyes: Latinos Past, Present and Future.’”

Created in 2000, NAHJ’s Hall of Fame is reserved for journalists and industry pioneers whose national or local efforts have resulted in a greater number of Latinos entering the journalism profession or have helped to improve news coverage of the nation’s Latino community.

Past honorees include such pioneering journalists as Rubén Salazar, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and the news director of KMEX and Ignacio E. Lozano, Sr., who founded La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish-language daily newspaper. Last year’s inductees were Juan D. González, New York Daily NewsColumnist; Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, Ph.D., professor at the University of Texas at Austin; and Francisco P. Ramírez, editor of El Clamor Público, Los Angeles’ first Spanish-language newspaper.