If being a watchdog were easy, then journalists would have it made. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple, because many employers nowadays have very conflicting views about what is right and what is wrong.
If there were a journalistic code of ethics (and, come to think of it, there is!), seeking out the truth would be the first tenet of the document. Unfortunately again, many people apply a double-standard to these rules, and one can get twisted up in knots trying to please everyone.
Nearly three years ago, my friend Rebecca Aguilar found herself the victim of this malicious double-standard. After seeking out the real story behind two suspicious incidents, Rebecca was fired from her job as a reporter for KDFW-Channel 4 in Dallas. She knew she had been wronged, and the slight hit her right on the heels of a distinctive honor– Ms. Aguilar had just been named by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists as one of their Broadcast Journalists of the Year. (See a post in the Dallas Observer‘s blog for the story.)
Instead of moping around and feeling sorry for herself, she decided to do something productive for herself– and for so many others. While watching the coverage of the intense confirmation hearings for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, noting how she was criticized for her comment that a “Wise Latina” might have more diverse experiences to draw upon than someone who wasn’t a Latina, Rebecca realized the injustice of the way Sotomayor was grilled.
Rebecca then was compelled to find a way to bring together Latinas from all over in an online social network where they could exchange ideas, job opportunities, ask questions and advice, and share their stories. The result of Rebecca’s brainstorm was Wise Latinas Linked, a Facebook group where Hispanic women from all walks of life can begin and contribute to discussions about everything from health to politics, from work to education, from family to culture. Indeed, nothing is off-limits in this informal yet fiercely supportive forum!
This past October, Rebecca Aguilar and her achievements with Wise Latinas Linked were profiled in USA Today.
Rebecca and some of her friends have been extremely supportive of my own efforts for the spina bifida cause. I hope to officially reach out to her and ask if there is a way that WLL can help to promote the cause.
Like I mentioned before, sometimes doing what you believe is right is the hardest thing you will ever do. But, more often than not, it is the most liberating experience ever, and in Rebecca Aguilar’s case, it came with a network of caring supporters that she probably never anticipated.
Felicidades, amiga. You mean a lot to all of us.