We are pleased to announce the candidates running for the chapter board! Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations. We have an enthusiastic and diverse group working in a wide range of media outlets in the nation’s capital. All positions, except that of president, have multiple candidates.
Cast your vote by this Friday, August 31st before midnight by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. NAHJ members in good standing, with dues paid, are eligible to vote. Please select only one candidate for each position:
Here are the candidates:
Bilingual multimedia journalist
Raised in Puerto Rico, Patricia is a bilingual multimedia journalist based in Washington, D.C., covering the capital for both English and Spanish-language media outlets, including NPR’s Latino USA, NBC Latino and Latino Magazine. Before coming to Washington, she worked in California and New York City. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and has a Master’s from George Washington University.
I am running for President of the DC Chapter of NAHJ because I want to continue to be involved in a very vibrant chapter and help guide it as it continues efforts to expand its scholarship program for interns and greater networking opportunities for members. I am also interested in expanding the membership to include more journalists working in Spanish-language media, including those in DC who work for overseas media as correspondents in the nation’s capital. As a freelancer myself, I would like to reach out more to the freelance committee at the National Press Club and the Society to Protect Journalists, among other groups, to help members in that growing field of the industry, and continue to push for greater diversity in newsrooms in Washington.
Azhar AlFadl Miranda
The Washington Post
Azhar works at The Washington Post, where she helps elevate journalism in the media relations department. Prior to The Post, she worked as a producer in the Al Jazeera English D.C. bureau. She is a graduate of both the George Washington University and Columbia University.
Azhar AlFadl Miranda has served in different NAHJDC leadership roles since 2014, and is proud to be considered for the vice president position. For the last two years, she has organized the Washington, D.C. Journalism Job Fair, which has connected hundreds of diverse candidates with major news organizations, and has landed several people jobs in some of the top newsrooms in the country. She’s especially enjoyed planning workshops that help NAHJDC members strengthen their skills, such as a data journalism workshop taught by members of IRE. As vice president, she hopes to organize more learning opportunities that will help members of different professional levels become more competitive in their field. She would also pursue ways to grow the chapter’s scholarship fund. She’d also like to continue to build on the chapter’s efforts to connect candidates with recruiters and top newsroom management.
Video journalist at BBC
Miguel Amaya was born and raised in Miami, Florida where he attended the University of Miami and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Administration. Professionally, Miguel has worked in the public sector for organizations like: the Miami Dade County Health Department, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Department of Transportation. He also attended Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, where his focus was video reporting, newsroom production and multimedia storytelling.
Currently, Miguel is a video journalist at BBC’s Washington, DC Bureau , where he has covered U.S. Politics and the immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border. He will be joining CNN in their Washington, DC bureau in September.
Serving as the President of the Columbia NAHJ Chapter, I was able to bring industry leaders to the table to discuss important issues that concern Latino journalists. Under my leadership, CJ-NAHJ coordinated multiple discussion panels, networking and cultural events, as well as media company visits, in which we highlighted the importance of diversity in the newsroom and the need of opportunity for Latino journalists at all levels of news gathering and storytelling. If elected, I will work alongside the board and chapter members to promote these ideals and ensure that our community is represented and covered accurately.
Freelance reporter for Hispanic Link News Service and LATINO
Aileen 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.
I have been Secretary of the NAHJ DC board for three years, with a focus on building partnerships and special events. These are growth areas that must continue with the new board. The ideas that have kept my interest require beginning with a board meeting dedicated to our own development and working with the new NAHJ board as a team. My own area of focus will be to build on initiatives that we had started and still need to be developed. We need to build our own online presence and attract established Latino journalists to join and assist with events that can attract new members and resources for scholarships.
Journalist, Fox News
Erenia is a booker for America’s Newsroom hosted by Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith from 9am to 12pm on Fox News Channel. Prior to starting at Fox News, she was an assistant editor at WTOP News, an all-news radio station that covers the entire Washington, DC metro area. Before coming to Washington, she was an associate producer at KITV4 News, the ABC News affiliate in Honolulu, Hawai’i. She’s also a writer for DISFunkshion Magazine, founded by fellow Latina Hugette Montesinos. She is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where she received her B.A in Journalism, and was a senior staff reporter for the school newspaper, Ka Leo.
I’m interested in running for the position of secretary to become more involved in our local NAHJ DC chapter. As a new member of NAHJ, I want to help motivate other Latino journalists, like myself, to get involved and get educated on ways we can come together and be a stronger voice in the news industry. It’s vital in our career field to network, and I’d like to open up more opportunities to network for journalists beginning their careers to veteran journalist who also want to stay connected. Not only that, but to create an even bigger sense of community to what has already been established, so that we all feel like we have someone to turn to during this very important time for media and the press.
Washington correspondent, Caracol Radio
Lead writer, The Hill Latino
Rafael Bernal has been the lead writer for The Hill Latino since 2016. He was previously managing editor at United Press International. Rafael has a master’s degree in journalism from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree in law from Universidad Iberoamericana in his hometown of Mexico City.
I want to be on the board of NAHJDC to help the organization advance what I see as its top three priorities: Recruitment, fundraising and opening newsroom doors to Hispanic journalists. I propose that NAHJDC board members meet with newsroom leaders, unaffiliated Hispanic reporters and potential donors at least once a month. Those are simple goals that can make a big difference for the organization. And I propose that funds raised go primarily to fellowships and scholarships that will allow young journalists to break into the DC news world.
Senior Producer, NBC Washington
Jennifer Vasquez is a senior producer for NBC Washington. She manages news coverage from Capitol Hill to the White House for the 11 NBC Owned Stations across the country. As a bilingual journalist, she collaborates with Telemundo on big stories happening the nation’s capital. She’s assisted with the planning and coverage of large events like Pope Francis’ visit to DC, State of the Union addresses, presidential inaugurations, and multiple Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremonies. Vasquez began her career at the BBC News in Washington. She’s a first-generation college graduate and a native Washingtonian. She recently finished grad school at Georgetown University.
I would like to run for office to continue strengthening network relationships between the DC Chapter and Capitol Hill. I’d like to collaborate and be a part of the continued success of a very active chapter. I think that giving back is important and having a seat at the table would allow me to import ideas to help make a difference. The events / activities that NAHJ DC puts together are so important for our fellow Latino/Hispanic journalists in the DMV area.
Director of communications, Roll Call
Pablo is a comms guy at Roll Call from Chile who was raised in Missouri and lives in DC. He’s worked a variety of jobs in DC but Roll Call is his first newsroom job. Previously in news he was a blogger for Huffpo and Fox News contributor.
Faculty at Towson University (Lecturer in the Mass Communications Department)
Barbara Benitez is an award-winning journalist with a focus on international news. In 2006, and was one of the original team members to establish and launch the Washington bureau for Al Jazeera International, an award-winning English news channel. Barbara’s work focused on issues of poverty, inequality and social justice and her work carried her throughout the United States and Latin America. She has led teams in the field from places as farflung as the Miskito Coast of Nicaragua, as well as reported on several stories from “Main Street” America.Barbara has lived in Stockholm, Sweden and the United Kingdom but is orginally Los Angeles where her career began with CNN’s bureau there before she moved on to Atlanta and was an Associate Producer for CNN International.
Barbara Benitez is now a member of faculty at Towson University where she is a lecturer in the Mass Communications Department. Her courses include News writing and Digital Journalism, Introduction to Mass Communications, and Media and Society. In addition, Barbara has just been named a Diversity Faculty Fellow for 2017-2018 where she will develop a course on news writing for a diverse and global audience.
I am interested in running as abn “At-Large Officer” as I would like to become more involved in this important organization. As an educator and researcher, I am well aware of the lack of Latinx represenation within news outlets. This in turn leads to stories that come from the ‘outside in.” I find it more important than ever to develop young talent and that can help to shift the ‘narrative’ we often see and hear in American news. It is also important that role-models visible. As for NAHJ I like the work they do and would like to do all that I can to take part in planning and idea creation that will continue to raise the profile of this every important organization.