June 1, 2003: Headlines: COS - Venezuela: Journalism: University of Nebraska: Alberto Ibarguen joined the Peace Corps. He lived in Columbia while training, then in the Amazon jungle in Brazil for a few years

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Venezuela: Peace Corps Venezuela : The Peace Corps in Venezuela: June 1, 2003: Headlines: COS - Venezuela: Journalism: University of Nebraska: Alberto Ibarguen joined the Peace Corps. He lived in Columbia while training, then in the Amazon jungle in Brazil for a few years

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-43-253.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 3:43 pm: Edit Post

Alberto Ibarguen joined the Peace Corps. He lived in Columbia while training, then in the Amazon jungle in Brazil for a few years

Alberto Ibarguen joined the Peace Corps. He lived in Columbia while training, then in the Amazon jungle in Brazil for a few years

Alberto Ibarguen joined the Peace Corps. He lived in Columbia while training, then in the Amazon jungle in Brazil for a few years

Diverse news staff gives media context

By Tessa Jeffers
J Alumni News staff

When Alberto Ibarguen was asked to speak with University of Nebraska-Lincoln journalism students about diversity, his initial response was, “You want me to talk about what in Nebraska?”

But diversity needs to be addressed virtually everywhere, he said — especially Nebraska, where the Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing groups in the state.

Ibarguen, publisher of The Miami Herald since 1995, has been dealing with issues of diversity his entire life. He was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States when he was 8 years old.

After earning the bachelor of arts degree in modern European history from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., Ibarguen joined the Peace Corps. He lived in Columbia while training, then in the Amazon jungle in Brazil for a few years.

“Early on I think I figured out the great value of diversity,” he said.

The Brazilian way of life is very different from that in American, he said. But being immersed in a different culture can be a very rewarding experience.

“It broadens you, and it gives you context,” Ibarguen said.

After he left the Peace Corps, Ibarguen earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a legal aide lawyer for the Puerto Rican Center for Justice and also had his own private practice for 10 years.

His experiences in the world of law contributed to his awareness of differences among people. Many times he dealt with issues of discrimination and equal opportunity.

“I always thought I’d wanted to be a lawyer because I felt the law affected every aspect of life I was interested in,” he said.

He was attracted to the process of quality legal thinking, he said, or the legal analysis that takes the emotion out of an argument and forces one to be ultimately rational.

Journalism is similar to law in this way, Ibarguen said.

In 1960, Miami was only 5 percent Hispanic, similar to what Nebraska is currently, he said.

After Fidel Castro took over in Cuba in 1959, hundreds of Cubans fled to the United States. A huge influx of Cuban immigrants settled in Miami between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s.

More than a third of The Miami Herald’s readers were Hispanic, creating a strong need for a Spanish newspaper in Miami.

“If I cannot read Spanish, and you make me, you have cheated me on my money,” he said.

He said it was like going to the meat market to buy food and not getting what you demand.

“Why are you forcing me to buy a pound of roast beef when I need bologna?”

The editors of The Herald knew they needed to do something in Spanish. At first it was just a few pages of the paper translated into Spanish. As the Latino population grew, an entire section was devoted to the Spanish community. Eventually that developed into a separate newspaper.

For almost seven years, El Nuevo Herald has been serving the large Hispanic population in Miami as an independent mainstream newspaper. The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have entirely separate staffs.

Martin Baron, news editor of the Boston Globe, worked with Ibarguen at The Miami Herald as editor for a year-and-a-half, starting in January 2000.

“To say you’re covering the Hispanic community in Miami is to say you’re covering the community,” he said.

Baron said the key to covering diversity issues successfully in journalism lies in a diverse staff, language training and awareness.

“The staff needs to get out into the community and have conversations with people,” he said.

However, when doing so, it is important to stick to the facts, Ibarguen said.

“The newspaper’s role is to inform the community and give citizens enough information to manage their community well.”

It needs to be good, reliable and complete up to the extent that it’s humanly possible, he said.
“I’m far less interested in a paper taking sides,” said Ibarguen. “I always tell people to set out for the facts.”

Ibarguen gets frustrated when journalists are compared to or confused with the government. Sometimes citizens see their local newspaper as a political voice. That’s what opinion pages are for, he said.

Will Norton, dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at UNL, contacted Ibarguen and told him he was taking a group of depth reporting students from UNL to Cuba in early January, to report on the situation in that nation.

Ibarguen recommended that the group stop in Miami on the way, so the students could interview Cuban immigrants living in Miami and other locals who might give them another perspective.

Ibarguen arranged a place for the group to stay and also met with the students to discuss their endeavors.

Norton also invited Ibarguen to speak at the Nebraska Press Association’s banquet in Lincoln on April 11.

Coming to Lincoln gave Ibarguen the chance to reunite with the students who had traveled to Cuba.

He said it was an absolute joy to visit with them about their experiences and opinions.
“Mainly, I just enjoyed talking to smart journalists,” he said. “Listening to how well students responded to Cuban people and the culture of Miami and Havana, how open they were and how smart they are — it made me feel good,” he said.

However, Ibarguen said some of the feedback he heard was disheartening. The students told stories of being lied to by spies and other citizens of Cuba.

“I’m glad they had that experience but sad. It gave them a real life example of the kind of world these independent journalists (in Cuba) are trying to operate in.”

He asked students what a newspaper meant to them and then told them his views on the subject.

“Journalists need to think about what the underlying narrative of their community is,” he told them.

Lincoln’s about as close to Mexico as the man in the moon is to Mars, he said, but Lincoln also is home to people from many cultures.

Ibarguen, who loves baseball, passed along a piece of advice from Yogi Berra, who once said, “You can observe a lot of stuff just by watching.”

That approach will get you far in journalism, Ibarguen said.

He added that he stops at the same place every morning to get coffee, mostly to visit with local folks and hear what they’re talking about.

“You can hear a lot just by listening,” he said.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Changing of the Guard Date: December 15 2004 No: 330 Changing of the Guard
With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.

December 18, 2004: This Week's Top Stories Date: December 18 2004 No: 334 December 18, 2004: This Week's Top Stories
RPCV remembers Deborah Gardner's murder in Tonga 17 Dec
Maoist insurgents in Nepal release Swiss aid worker 17 Dec
RPCV Alison Williams exhibits portraits of Malian people 16 Dec
Former Brazil Medical Director convicted of drug charges 16 Dec
RPCV Joseph Opala researched slave trade in RI 15 Dec
Vasquez sees resurgent interest in PC 14 Dec
Senator who wanted duel with RPCV joins Fox 14 Dec
NPCA planning National Day of Action for PC funding 13 Dec
RPCV "Harry" Chandler votes in Electoral College 13 Dec
Critic says Moyers delivered neo-Marxist propaganda 13 Dec
Micronesia RPCV Walter Cavanagh has 1,496 credit cards 13 Dec
PC "Survivor" Julie Berry headed for California 11 Dec
more top stories...

Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."
RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.
Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.
Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes
Take our new poll. NPCA members begin voting this week on bylaw changes to streamline NPCA's Board of Directors. NPCA Chair Ken Hill, the President's Forum and other RPCVs endorse the changes. Mail in your ballot or vote online (after Dec 1), then see on how RPCVs are voting.
Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying
Congressman Norm Dicks has asked the U.S. attorney in Seattle to consider pursuing charges against Dennis Priven, the man accused of killing Peace Corps Volunteer Deborah Gardner on the South Pacific island of Tonga 28 years ago. Background on this story here and here.
Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: University of Nebraska

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Venezuela; Journalism



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.