The Society of Professional Journalists, hearing an emotional plea from Rebecca Aguilar, a member of SPJ and of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, voted Tuesday to recommend that newsrooms discontinue using the terms "illegal alien" and "illegal immigrant." The resolution from the 7,800-member organization says only courts can decide when a person has committed an illegal act.
Aguilar argued that using those words insulted Latinos and all those who are or had once been in the United States illegally. She used the example of her mother, who became a "proud American" in 1980. Her mother felt insulted "every time she heard that word," Aguilar said of the phrase "illegal alien."
"She turned the tide," the new president-elect, Sonny Albarado, projects editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, said of Aguilar. "She delivered the statement with such passion. After that, there was just a great overwhelming outpouring of support." Aguilar, a freelance broadcaster in Dallas, is a board member of NAHJ and of the Fort Worth SPJ chapter, was an SPJ "diversity fellow," and is a new member of SPJ's Diversity Committee.
The resolution, introduced by the SPJ Diversity Committee at the Excellence in Journalism convention in New Orleans, was originally rejected by the Resolutions Committee. Its members recommended that objections be brought to the stylebook committee of the Associated Press, Albarado said.
That did not sit well with members who argued that not all news organizations use the AP stylebook. Jeremy Steele, a member of the Diversity Committee who is director of media relations for the John Truscott Group in Lansing, Mich., tweaked the language into something more acceptable, said Albarado, who would follow Fred Brown and Robert Leger as an SPJ president of Latino heritage, Alborado said Thursday.
The motion passed on a voice vote.
"I hope that it makes a statement about sensitivity to language. It has an effect on the people it refers to," Albarado said. "I hope it shows people that journalists are concerned about being accurate when they refer to people, plus I hope it helps shape the discussion."
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Society of Professional Journalists votes to end terms "Illegal Alien," "Illegal Immigrant"
Another example of the Mainstream media trying to shape their news stories to their liberal views and make the illegal seem legal.