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Veritas Group for NAHJ
NAHJ, NABJ Discuss “Must-Read” Messages with Sinclair Execs
Washington, D.C. April 4, 2018 – The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) relayed concerns to Sinclair Broadcast Group Wednesday morning regarding the airing of company-wide scripted messages, which puts journalism at risk. NAHJ President Brandon Benavides, Executive Director Alberto B. Mendoza and NABJ President Sarah Glover spoke by phone with Sinclair President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Ripley and Senior Vice President of News Scott Livingston following the media backlash.
The company officials said Sinclair’s “must-read” message read by anchors at its local television stations last week got lost in translation and the backlash was a “teaching moment.” Sinclair owns or operates approximately 173 television stations.
Livingston explained the company’s intent behind the recent news promotional message. He cited a Sinclair campaign commissioned to reconnect and gain trust by reinforcing the broadcast company’s journalistic standards, commitment and promise to local viewers. He described it as “a message of integrity, accuracy that fit perfectly with our local brand and editorial mission.”
The conference call was requested to discuss Sinclair’s company-wide on-air statement, the chairman’s commentary on print media and the potential impact of the pending Sinclair-Tribune merger.
Sinclair reached out to the local teams involved with broadcasting the scripted message to encourage open dialogue and feedback. Ripley noted the company’s “open door policy is real and Sinclair employees shouldn’t worry about retribution when speaking to the company about concerns.”
Reports of Sinclair Chairman David Smith’s comments about the lack of credibility in print media was also discussed. Ripley said he sees future opportunities for collaboration between television and print as news organizations seek to grow their businesses. He added, “It’s no secret that we’re a traditional outlet, but we think that together the challenges we face will be easier to overcome than alone.”
NAHJ and NABJ asked Sinclair to commit to ensuring diverse staffing in front of the camera, and behind the scenes in executive and decision-making roles. The Sinclair executives said the company is seeking to grow its news staffing by about 100 journalists, with a focus on investigative journalism.
Sinclair will be recruiting at the NAHJ Convention in Miami and the NABJ Convention in Detroit this year. NABJ and NAHJ memberships represent about 6,000 journalists, media professionals and students in the U.S. and worldwide.
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.
About National Association of Black Journalists
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists
of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information, please visit www.nabj.org