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During Wednesday class I became so distracted by arguing that Latino media is indeed advocacy media that I failed to bring up a point I consider even more important. Why are the Latino journalists mentioned so eager to prove they are not “advocates”? What’s wrong with advocacy journalism?

It was beautiful to see CNN reporters finally do their job when they angrily confronted government officials after they failed to rescue stranded Katrina victims. Indeed, they were advocating for them. Their new found courage was so successful that the network instituted — at least for a while — a segment called “Holding them accountable.”

Isn’t that what our job is supposed to be about? Holding government officials and other people in power accountable? Isn’t that what advocacy journalism is all about? I suspect that in the media’s efforts to be “objective” we became “detached”, which in turn the audience translated as “uninterested.” (I’m quoting somebody here, I think maybe Geneva, but I’ve done so much reading about the topic lately it’s all become a blur). What if the audience is responding by turning away, by folding the newspaper and switching to non-objective outlets, like Fox News and the Daily Show?

I sure hope Latino and other ethnic journalists do not abandon their decades-old practice of speaking up for their communities and promoting civic participation and engagement. Indeed, that may be an important reason why they are not suffering as much as the mainstream media is.

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