Future of Hispanic journalism takes center stage at this week’s NAHJ conference

The highly anticipated National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference will take place at Miami’s InterContinental Hotel this week.

The 39th annual convention, which runs from Wednesday through Sunday, will operate this year under a “Reaching Higher Ground, Elevando Nuestras Voces” theme, and it aims to inspire, educate, and foster meaningful connections within the Hispanic journalism community.

“We have seen an incredible amount of support this year,” said Iván Briones, a spokesperson for the NAHJ. “We sold out before the registration deadline.”

Since its inception in 1984, the NAHJ has exponentially evolved, growing in size, scope and impact. From 120 members in its inaugural year to more than 4,000 members today, the association has become one of the largest of its kind.

The conference has blossomed into an established career fair and event for Hispanic journalists nationwide. This year’s convention — partly planned several years ago by the National Board of Directors — is expected to surpass expectations, thanks to the commitment of NAHJ and its members.

Renowned journalists and industry leaders will be present at the NAHJ conference as keynote speakers and panelists. Their diverse backgrounds and experiences promise to illuminate pressing issues and offer unique perspectives.

Daysi Calavia-Robertson, an award-winning journalist from New Jersey’s Star-Ledger and NJ.com, is set to be a part of the “Top 5 Secrets to Success (And Common Mistakes to Avoid) for Early-Career Journalists,” a panel dedicated to teaching students and recent college graduates how to secure their dream jobs.

“We have so much great experience between us [the panelists],” Calavia-Robertson said. “We learned things the hard way, but new journalists don’t have to.”

Calavia-Robertson has a long history with the NAHJ, attending her first conference as a student in 2006. That year, Calavia-Robertson covered the conference for Latino Reporter, and during her coverage, she met Aisha Al-Muslim, now of the Wall Street Journal. The pair were assigned to the same hotel room. They became friends and stayed in touch after the conference.

“Connections are important,” said Calavia-Robertson, who recalled learning about a job in the New York media market several years ago. “It was Aisha that told me about the opening at Newsday.”

Calavia-Robertson moved from Miami to Long Island, New York after wanting to try a different reporting beat. Thanks to her connection and willingness to try something new, she went from writing about reality television for Telemundo to covering business news at Newsday.

Her biggest piece of advice for attendees is to be an active participant in the conference.

“Too often, I see people attending the panel, and they don’t take advantage of the moment,” Calavia-Robertson said. “Be present, ask questions, connect with people and seize the moment!”

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference has blossomed into an established career fair and event, in which renowned journalists and industry leaders are keynote speakers and panelists. (Photo courtesy of NAHJ)

The NAHJ conference will offer various sessions and workshops catering to diverse interests and career paths. Attendees can look forward to thought-provoking discussions on a range of subjects.

“From discussions on AI to addressing misinformation, disinformation,” Briones said. “We have an incredible lineup of workshops.”

The sessions will equip attendees with the tools to navigate the ever-evolving media landscape. With workshops on LGBTQ+ and BIPOC issues, these panels aim to provide journalists with the skills to tell stories that resonate with diverse audiences.

“We need more journalists that can represent marginalized communities,” said Daniella Hakim, a student journalist at Florida International University. “Having more representation in a newsroom is so important. It could help prevent stereotyping and make these communities feel more comfortable with the coverage.”

NAHJ has forged exciting partnerships and collaborations for this year’s conference. Workshops with IRE and SciLine have been added to expand the workshop offerings. Along with these collaborations, several panels are sponsored by high-profile organizations like CBS Sports and ESPN.

For aspiring journalists, the NAHJ Convention is the nation’s largest job fair for Latino journalists. Countless career development resources, mentoring opportunities and job fair activities will be available to attendees, enabling them to forge connections, seek guidance, and explore pathways to success in the industry.

“This conference allows us up-and-coming journalists to make connections,” Hakim said. “These connections open up a whole new world of opportunity.”

This year, more than 70 companies and organizations will attend the career fair. ABC, CNN and NBCUniversal are just some of the established news organizations on the roster. More information can be found at the conference’s website, www.nahj2023.org.

Alejandra Carralero is a Miami based senior majoring in digital journalism.  She has passion for cats (especially hers), the environment, and artsy movies. After graduating she hopes to travel the world to search for interesting stories the world needs to hear.