Meet the 2016-2017 NAHJ DC Chapter Candidates

Our chapter election is here! We have an enthusiastic group of candidates working in a wide range of media outlets around the city. You will notice several familiar faces. Cast your vote by the close of business this Friday, August 26th by emailing


Melissa Macaya – President

Producer at CNN en Español
MACAYAPICMelissa Macaya is a bilingual multimedia journalist who is passionate about covering political and international issues especially focused on Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic community. Born and raised in Venezuela, Melissa has gained journalism experience on the local, national and international level. She currently serves as a producer for CNN en Español where she produces content for two shows and across digital platforms. Prior to CNN, Melissa was a fellow at NBC News in their Washington bureau and worked with Univision locally in Texas. She completed a Master’s degree from Georgetown University in International and Political journalism. Melissa loves to travel and has worked and lived in 5 countries: Venezuela, Spain, Mexico, Argentina and the United States.

Patricia Guadalupe – Vice President

Bilingual multimedia journalist

unnamed-13Raised in Puerto Rico, Patricia Guadalupe is a bilingual multimedia journalist based in Washington, D.C. She has been covering the capital for both English and Spanish-language media outlets since the mid- 1990s. She previously worked as a reporter in New York City. She’s been an editor at Hispanic Link News Service (where she still writes political news), a reporter at WTOP Radio (CBS Washington affiliate), a contributing reporter for CBS Radio network, and has written for NBC and Latino Magazine, among others. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and has a Master’s degree from the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. She specializes in business news, politics and cultural issues, and also freelances as a translator/interpreter.

Iscar Blanco – Vice President

Spanish Service Chief at the Voice of America

unnamedAs Service Chief, Mr. Blanco oversees all platforms, including social media, to the Spanish speaking countries of the Americas. He is also responsible for determining content for the social media accounts as well as developing website’s new initiatives.

His commitment in modern journalism has taken him to obtain special courses to cover different political, economic and social events in different countries. Iscar obtained his degree in Sociology at the Florida International University, and a Masters in Journalism at the University of Miami. With a strong editorial background, Iscar worked as a reporter, producer and presenter for CNN and BBC.

He believes in the power of information and the new technology, believes in Freedom of Press and how to help democracy using social media tools.


Aileen Schlef – Secretary

Freelance reporter for Hispanic Link News Service and LATINO

1780731_10152225509478599_2128776117_nAileen Schlef established Creative Alliance Communications (CAC) following more than 20 years of executive experience in corporate, government, university and community settings. Aileen has also has chronicled Latino life since the 1970s launch of La Luz Magazine, Hispanic, Nuestro, LatinaStyle, among others. She is currently a freelance reporter for Hispanic Link News Service and LATINO. She was a founding member of the pioneering National Latino Media Coalition in the 1970s and headed the Latino Media Task Force of Washington, DC.An active member of the National Press Club (NPC), Aileen was honored with Vivian Awards in 2011 and 2013.

Beatriz Pascual– Treasurer

Foreign correspondent at EFE

unnamedBeatriz Pascual is a multimedia journalist with five years of experience in the media industry. Born and raised in Spain, she crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 2014 and arrived in Washington with a Training Scholarship program sponsored by EFE, the leading Spanish-language news agency and the fourth largest news agency in the world. Now, working as a foreign correspondent in EFE, she covers Justice, National Security and Immigration news. Defined as multitask-er, she likes to portray the different angles of reality in different formats: written stories, photographs, video and radio pieces.

Ed O’Keefe – At-Large Member

Politics reporter at the Washington Post

toKwTRns_400x400Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, a journey that’s included a focus on Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio’s campaigns, the Republican delegate fight and the growing influence of Hispanic voters. He’s covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he’s covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies, the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

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Join the NAHJ DC Board! Call for Chapter Board Nominations

Thank you for making this past year a successful one for our chapter!
Now is your chance to volunteer and serve on the NAHJ Washington, D.C. Chapter Board. We are taking nominations now until Friday, August 19th.
We are looking for enthusiastic members to run for the NAHJ DC 2016 2017 Chapter Board. Joining the board is an exciting leadership and networking opportunity. Please consider running and let’s continue planning amazing events in our nation’s capitol.
We were the first official NAHJ chapter in 2006 and we have thrived for the past 10 years. Our chapter has planned events and training opportunities all around the city including press briefings at the White House, job fairs, workshops, fundraisers and meetings in the country’s most influential newsrooms.

Here are the Chapter Board positions available:
At-large Officer

Anyone running for an executive position must be a regular NAHJ member, must have paid this year’s dues, and must continue to pay them while serving on the board.
Chapter members will vote the week of August. 22-26th. Each officer will serve from September 1, 2016 until July 31, 2017.
To nominate someone or yourself send an email to with this
following statement:

I ( STATE YOUR NAME), of (EMPLOYER OR FREELANCE) nominate ___________
for (position) __________ in the 2016 election of the NAHJ DC Chapter
Board of Directors. This statement counts as my virtual signature and
I have included my full contact information below.
Azhar Alfadl will chair the elections committee. She will verify the nominees’ eligibility and collect information for the ballot.
If you have any questions regarding the election or a board position, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
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NAHJDC recognized with Presidential Award at NAHJ/NABJ Convention

NAHJ DC was presented with a Presidential Award at the opening ceremony of the NAHJ/NABJ joint convention held in Washington DC from August 3-6. Past national president Mekahlo Medina recognized the work of the chapter during its last 10 years of existence and applauded the current and past leaders.

As a chapter, we want to thank our members for their support and commitment to increasing diversity in newsrooms across the District, Maryland and Virginia. We also want to thank past chapter presidents Diana Marrero and Brandon Benavides who paved the way and implemented programming that continues to have a positive impact.


The NAHJDC board alongside past DC chapter president Brandon Benavides and past NAHJ National president Mekahlo Medina. 


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¡Mil gracias! Noche de Periodistas a great success

Thank you for helping make our 5th annual Noche de Periodistas on Sunday, July 31 a great success! The raised funds will go towards our Charlie Ericksen Internship supplement, convention registration assistance, projects and workshops in the District.

To everyone who bought a ticket, brought food, and drinks: Thank you! Our chapter fundraiser was a success because of you. We want to thank our special guest Janet Rodriguez. We appreciate the D.C. Chapter President of NABJ Donna Walker and NAHJ national president Mekahlo Medina for coming.

A big thank you to Ray Suarez and his wife Carol for hosting our 5th annual chapter fundraiser at their home. Thanks to NAHJ member Felix Contreras for donating his musical talents for our chapter also for a fifth time.


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Save the Date: Noche de Periodistas July 31

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for our 5th annual chapter fundraiser, Noche de Periodistas on Sunday, July 31 from 3-6pm! This is our biggest chapter fundraiser of the year and will also serve as an NAHJ/NABJ pre-conference celebration. Ray Suarez will graciously host us again at his home in the AU Park neighborhood in the District.

Come relax after the party conventions, listen to music, mingle with other journalists and enjoy delicious food. We will also have a live auction.

Tickets are $25 if you bring a side dish. The full price is $50.

The deadline to buy tickets for the reduced price is July 27. Once you buy your ticket, you will receive an email with Ray’s home address. We ask that you keep his address private.

You can buy tickets here:



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Apply now for convention assistance to NAHJ/NABJ convention

We are excited to announce that convention assistance is available for our members to attend the NAHJ/NABJ convention. You don’t want to miss this great training and networking opportunity! The assistance covers registration fee only.

The convention is August 3-7pm at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

NAHJ members in the District, Maryland and Virginia can apply by emailing

Send a resume and write a one page letter on what you hope to learn at the convention. Also describe your financial situation. Winners must pay their national dues.

The deadline is one week from today: Thursday, July 7th at midnight

Here is more info on the convention:
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Meet our Summer 2016 Charlie Ericksen supplement recipients

NAHJ DC is pleased to announce our two Summer 2016 Charlie Ericksen Journalism Supplement winners  Issmar Ventura and Ileana Ruiz. They will receive a supplement worth $335 to be placed on a Metro SmarTrip card and pay for their NAHJ membership. The board was extremely impressed by their passion and dedication for journalism.

Issmar Ventura, intern at Voice of America

I4d3e78b8-d977-41f7-90c2-4bcf40286f7dssmar is a bilingual news broadcaster living in Northern Virginia. Ventura is a young
professional aspiring to become an international news correspondent. He migrated from his country El Salvador at the age of six and has been living with his family ever since.

Ventura is a senior at George Mason University who is majoring in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Homeland Security. He holds outstanding news writing, reporting, and anchoring skills and is competent in camerawork and video editing. He loves to interview and do on-air broadcasting.

He holds leadership positions at Telenoticias Mason, Mason’s first Spanish newscast which he created in August 2015. There he serves as the executive producer and lead news anchor. Also, at the IV Estate, Mason’s newspaper as a staff writer, and the Society of Professional Journalists as the membership and events chair. He enjoys covering stories on immigration, politics, social issues, technology, and the environment.

He has had the opportunity to intern with BBC News, Mason Dreamers, Telemundo Washington, La Voz De America this summer, and has shadowed reporters in CNN, NBC News, Univision Washington and Noticiero Estrella TV.

Issmar strongly believes that telling a true story to the world makes our society better. That the best media is the one that is fair in our Constitutional values and tells a great story by giving those who are voiceless a voice. He wants to continue to make the Latino community grow by helping other student journalists achieve their dreams.

Ileana Ruiz, Intern at the Hispanic Heritage Foundation

a97f7220-8dc1-4696-8a8c-7866fcaabfedIleana is a first generation college student from Chicago, IL. She is a rising senior at Bradley University, studying Political Science and Spanish. Currently, Ileana is a content intern at the Hispanic Heritage Foundation headquarters in DC.
Ileana’s journey to become a journalist started when she participated in the Washington Semester Program at American University her Spring 2016 semester. Her concentration was journalism and new media, where the exposure to journalism intertwined with her passion for writing and Latin American politics leading Ileana to take action in pursuing a journalism career.
She was a able to create a strong network during her semester in DC to gain experience in the journalism world. Ileana wants to become a multimedia producer and bridge the media gap Latin America has. Her hopes are to be the voice for the Latino community through media.
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