FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: January 31, 2013
CONTACT: Ann-Marie Adams
HARTFORD, CT — The National Association of Caribbean-American Journalists (NACAJ) is dismayed by the lazy and inaccurate coverage of the controversy surrounding a Volkswagen’s commercial, which features white and Asian male office workers speaking with a noticeably Jamaican accent.
We agree with many in the Caribbean-American community that the one-minute ad for Super Bowl Sunday is not racist and lay the problem not at the feet of Volkswagen and Deutsch but at the feet of mainstream journalists, who erroneously branded the ad as racist. On the contrary, many Jamaicans agree that the Volkswagen ad recognizes the Caribbean’s impact on American culture, while several journalists showed ignorance of world history, Jamaican culture and the rest of the Caribbean. Jamaicans are people from many cultures, including Africans, Indians, Chinese and Caucasians.
“The comments by mainstream journalists is one of the many reasons we founded this organization,” said Ann-Marie Adams, founder and president of the NACAJ.”This controversy is a reminder to us to continue our campaign to give our community a voice.”
It’s ironic that the most vocal and offensive critic comes from the New York Times, where the NACAJ met in June 2012 for its regional meeting to do just what we sensed was lacking in the media landscape. There, we stressed the need for education about this growing population in the U.S. And while the Times executives gave us a warm welcome, a few reporters embraced us with the ignorance and arrogance displayed by NYT columnist Charles Blow and Mediapost.com editor Barbara Lippert.
The same ignorance was on display in a Washington Post article by Paul Fahri, who writes:
“Except some people think the cross-national (and potentially cross-racial) portrayal sounds a little racist.”
“Blackface with voices,” declared Charles Blow, a columnist for The New York Times, in an appearance on CNN just a few hours after Volkswagen released the spot Monday. Veteran ad critic Barbara Lippert, on the “Today” show, branded it “so racist.”
Fahri quoted Richard Prince, who writes about media diversity but often neglects media issues in the Caribbean and its diaspora. While we commend Prince for his accurate remarks, we would like to speak on issues that impact us directly. Prince, which Fahri fails to note, works at the Washington Post as a part-time copy editor.
There are more than 500 Jamaican associations and organizations in the U.S. And like other Caribbean-American organizations, we are asking reporters to exercise better judgment and reach out to the community most impacted by the issue. One call to the Jamaican Embassy in Washington is not considered due diligence but lazy journalism. Calling Caribbean-Americans in the District is just journalism 101 as displayed by Ad Magazine in its coverage of the controversy.
As we continue to build our organization, the NACAJ will continue to advocate for visibility and voice on issues that impact our community. And if there are any more questions on this matter, we wish to plead our own cause.
The National Association of Caribbean-American Journalists advocates for Caribbean-American Journalists in the United States of America. Formed in 2007, the NACAJ provides educational and other support to Caribbean-American journalists who unequivocally embrace their identity. For more information, please visit, www.nacaj.org.
See links to better coverage of the Volkswagen Ad
NEW YORK, NY — The New York Times’ Award-winning Investigative Journalists Andrew Lehren and Ron Nixon will join the National Association of Caribbean-American Journalists’ program line-up for its 2012 conference in New York City.
Both journalists will lead workshops at NACAJ’s third bi-annual meeting at The New York Times’ headquarters in New York City on May 31 and June 1, 2012. The theme is “Styling Caribbean Identities: Reclaiming the Past, Building the Future.”
The two-day conference includes the John Russworm Excellence Award luncheon June 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m., and will convene about 50 journalists, scholars, and community advocates from the Caribbean and the United States.
About 50 local and international journalists are expected to attend the professional workshops, plenary session and Russworm Excellence Award luncheon.
Andrew W. Lehren is a reporter at The New York Times, and has worked on a range of national, international, and investigative stories. He was one of the newspaper’s lead reporters analyzing the Wikileaks trove of diplomatic cables, Afghanistan and Iraq war logs, and Guantanamo detainee dossiers.
Before joining The Times, he was an investigative producer at NBC News. His worked included covering 9/11 and terrorism. His investigative documentaries examined racially biased policing, defective automobiles, and how a major insurance company worked with an elaborate system to defrauded its own customers. He has won numerous awards, including a Edward R. Murrow investigative awards, Emmys, three Investigative Reporters & Editors awards, an Overseas Press Club honor. He has written for Reuters, the Philadelphia Daily News, JazzTimes, and The National Law Journal.
Ron Nixon is a domestic correspondent in the Washington Bureau of The New York Times. He is the former computer-assisted reporting editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a former training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors.
According to his biography on the Great Lakes Media Institute’s board of directors page, Nixon “has reported from Rwanda, Uganda and Nigeria” and “also trained journalists in Rwanda, Kenya and Nigeria in investigative and other reporting techniques. His work also appears in the International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the New York Times.”
The New York Times’ Dec. 5th 2011 article “Drop a bomb and wipe them all out” served as a rallying cry for some Caribbean-Americans to voice concerns about the New York Police Department’s conduct in their community. But unfortunately, the story is not new. The luncheon plenary will examine the aftermath of the story and discuss ways to keep the community and the NYPD accountable.
The article will be the center piece of a plenary session on June 1.
Other presenters and attendees include journalists from The New York Times, New York Daily News, The Hartford Guardian, Everybody’s Caribbean-American Magazine, Caribbean Life newspapers and other regional publications.
Confirmed speakers for the June 1 plenary session at the NACAJ conference are Herman Hall, editor and publisher of Everybody’s Caribbean-American magazine; Kenton Kirby, Editor-in-Chief of Caribbean Life newspapers, Founding Editor and Publisher of The Hartford Guardian Ann-Marie Adams; Wendell Jamieson, Deputy Editor Metrodesk, The New York Times, and Ambassador Denis Antoine.
Modertaor will be Vinette Pryce, columnist with Carib Life.
Other invited panelists include journalists from the New York Daily News, Amsterdam News, and The New York Times.
NACAJ TO HOLD THIRD-ANNUAL CONFERENCE AT THE NEW YORK TIMES
The National Association of Caribbean-American Journalists will hold its third bi-annual meeting at The New York Times’ headquarters in New York City on May 31 and June 1, 2012. The theme is “Styling Caribbean Identities: Reclaiming the Past, Building the Future.”
December 5, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sherice Beevas 202-415-6155
NACAJ’S BI-ANNUAL CONFERENCE TO TACKLE INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM
In an effort to build a solid investigative reporting tradition in the Caribbean and to increase visibility of the region and its Diaspora, the National Association of Caribbean-American Journalists will hold its second bi-annual meeting at the Mayfair Hotel on December 16-19. The theme is “Common Cause, Common Solution: Shaping Investigative Journalism in the Caribbean for the 21st Century”
The three-day conference includes the Excellence Award luncheon and will convene journalists from the Caribbean and the United States, especially from Miami, Tallahassee, Washington D.C., New York, Virginia, New Jersey and Connecticut.
“I’m excited about this conference in Jamaica. Our venue gives us the opportunity to tackle issues of ethics and excellence in journalism, topics currently in public discourse on the island,” said NACAJ President, Ann-Marie Adams. “Many in the Caribbean Diaspora desire the benefits of good journalism, not only in our communities in the U.S. but in our homeland. We deserve a free and fair press.”
Workshops include strategies and legal advice for navigating access to public meetings, documents and data in the Caribbean and the US; ways to produce high-quality investigative stories, and watchdogging government at all levels in the Caribbean and the Diaspora.
About 50 local and international journalists are expected to attend the professional workshops, plenary session and Russwurm Excellence Award luncheon. The three-day event will feature a day and a half of professional development in investigative journalism workshops, bringing journalists, students and journalism educators together to hear from top international and local experts on best practices to sustain excellence and ethical journalism practices in the Caribbean and the Diaspora.
The 35-year old journalism organization, Investigative Reporters and Editors have joined in our effort to help our members attain excellence and relevancy in a changing business. “We’re excited about working with journalists at the NACAJ conference, said IRE Executive Director Mark Horvit. “We’ll be focusing on skills and tool that help reporters and editors provide better coverage and did deeper. And we are looking forward to learning from our colleagues from Jamaica and other islands.”
The conference will also allow local and international journalists to network and will honor outstanding coverage of the Caribbean and its Diaspora.
The conference is supported in part by the Press Association of Jamaica, The Jamaica Sunday Herald, the Mayfair Hotel, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Jamaica Observer, the Gleaner, and Poynter.
“NACAJ’s central focus is to garner interest and visibility on issues that affect the Caribbean and the Diaspora year round,” Adams said. “It’s not based on whether someone in a particular organization gets elected and decides to reach out to us. We want to ensure the Caribbean region and its Diaspora are almost always a priority.”
Founded in June 2007, the National Association of Caribbean-American Journalists is a non-profit organization based in the U.S.A. for Caribbean-American journalists, journalism professors, public relations professionals and students. NACAJ provides ongoing professional educational and networking opportunities for members and advocates visibility for regional and diasporic issues.
What: NACAJ Bi-Annual Conference
Where: Mayfair Hotel, 4 West Kings House Road, Kingston, Jamaica
When: December 16-19, 2010
Why: visit www.nacaj.org