With a goal of raising the visibility of long-form journalism by Latino writers, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists has launched a new digital storytelling outlet.
Freelance work is a fact of life for many journalists, whether they like it or not. Amid this shift to more gig work in media, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists sees opportunity for its members.
NAHJ’s new digital publication, palabra, which launched last week, is designed to give long-form journalism by and for Latinos a place to shine.
“It is a necessary response to a new reality in our business and in our association,” NAHJ Executive Director Alberto B. Mendoza, who also serves as palabra’s publisher, told Remezcla. “More and more journalists find themselves practicing our craft as freelancers or independent journalists. This is often by choice, but these days there are more journalists going out on their own because of the tragic disintegration of the news business model that had worked so well for so long, but no longer applies. We have to be proactive.”
As an in-house digital publication written for a general audience, palabra will also help NAHJ advance its broader mission to highlight stories about the Latino community. “Palabra is a strong and proactive continuation of NAHJ’s mission: to give a voice to Latinos/Hispanics and to create a new standard of excellence in representation and coverage,” Mendoza wrote in a letter to members, published in the first issue.
Initially, palabra will publish quarterly, although additional stories may appear intermittently. Frequency will increase as additional funding is secured. And although most content is currently in English, all stories will eventually be published in Spanish and English, according to the publication’s website. Submissions will be accepted by all types of freelancers, including students, and writers will be paid.
NAHJ hopes to eventually offer administrative assistance to freelancers in the form of bookkeeping, billing, marketing, and possibly even discounted health insurance.
Ricardo Sandoval-Palos, palabra‘s managing editor and its only full-time employee, says a key goal is to improve representation of Latino writers in journalism.
“I want to eliminate the excuse from mainstream editors and managers that they just can’t find journalists of color who are able to pull off long-form or investigative journalism, or who don’t have the right broadcast chops,” Sandoval-Palos told Remezcla.