NAHJ Sends Tech Equipment to Puerto Rico, Launches Collaborative Journalism Project

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 3, 2017) — The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) announced the most recent updates on their ‘Puerto Rico Emergency Communications Access and Journalism Initiative’ (PRECAJI) with tech equipment being delivered to Puerto Rico and the launch of their collaborative journalism project: #ConnectPuertoRico.

The association’s announcement of PRECAJI in October, began with a crowd funding campaign to raise money to purchase “communication stations” made up of satellite phones, solar power chargers and wi-fi hubs.  To date, the crowdfunding campaign has raised $29,000.00; $9,000.00 generously came from members, colleagues and NAHJ supporters in a range of monetary values and $10,000.00 contributed by Ford Foundation.  The remaining amount was a commitment made in October by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to match the first $10,000.00 raised.   Yesterday evening, ten satellite phones, ten solar power chargers and five wi-fi hubs were brought to long time NAHJ member Mc Nelly Torres and national board member Rafael Mejia to distribute throughout the island to designated local journalists.

“Our community really stepped up when we called on them,” commented Brandon Benavides, NAHJ president.  “What started from nothing, has gained great momentum from people’s support as well as the Ford Foundation.  Our growing relationship with the Knight Foundation has helped turn a short term goal, into a long term initiative.”

The grant amount from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to NAHJ totaled $75,000.00 to help additionally launch the collaborative journalism project.   Aside from people being able to track which region the communication stations are located, the two social hubs on Facebook and Twitter will help keep communities informed, play a significant roll in a higher quality of journalism following the devastation and also potentially provide opportunity to local journalists on the island.  Partners in the collaborative journalism project include the Miami Herald, Univision, Telemundo and industry leaders like Charo Henriquez, Alberto Cairo and others.  The Facebook group can be found here and the Twitter profile @ConnectPRnews.  Social media users can join the conversation, follow updates of the journalism collaboration and the entire NAHJ initiative using #ConnectPuertoRico.

“As we’ve mentioned before, it’s extremely important to us that we are not solely providing a temporary solution,” stated Alberto B. Mendoza, executive director at NAHJ. “While we have been working as quickly as possible to address the immediate needs of communication, the other elements of the overall initiative provide an opportunity to explore how we can best provide long term support for journalism on the island.”

In the initial press release, NAHJ made a commitment to bringing future training, resources and complimentary memberships to working journalists for the next three years.  Since then, the association has also confirmed they will be donating the tech equipment in a few months to the local journalists to be used in the future for emergency communication access.

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About NAHJ: The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) is the largest organization of Latino journalists in the United States and dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. The mission of NAHJ is to increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms and to work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has approximately 2,200 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals and journalism educators. For more information please visit NAHJ.org or follow on Twitter @NAHJ.