Paragon Awards honor leaders from Comcast, NBC10 and AL DÍA News Media
Diversity in the media and communications industry is the topic of many conversations these days. We talk about it a lot, in all honesty, because we really stink at it.
The statistics released annually by the American Society of News Editors are dismal — only 13.34 percent of newsroom staffers are people of color, and while 63 percent of newspapers have at least one woman among the top three editors, only 15 percent have a person of color at that level. Buzzfeed, the online numbers juggernaut, recently released stats that show its staff is a solid 52 percent women, but also 72.7 percent white.
Which is why the three communications industry leaders who received the Paragon Awards from the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) last night deserve the recognition the awards represent — they have each devoted their energies to making the businesses of which they are part exemplars of inclusivity.
The Paragon Industry Award was given to Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen, whose diversity efforts within the cable telecommunications giant were noted by Comcast colleagues Diana Choe Peruzzi and Mindy Kang, and through a congratulatory video featuring notable Philadelphians like Mayor Michael Nutter and former School Reform Commission chair Pedro Ramos.
The Paragon Trailblazer Award was given to Anzio Williams, vice president of News at NBC10 and Telemundo62. It was presented to him by NBC10 broadcast journalist Nefertiti Jáquez who, along with NAMIC Philadelphia-chapter President Yasmine Ndassa, had offered the evening's welcome and opening remarks.
The Paragon Legacy Award winner was AL DÍA News Media founder, publisher and CEO, Hernán Guaracao. It was presented by the Rev. Luis Cortés of Esperanza, who in his comments recalled the early years of AL DÍA News, when it was produced from the Guaracao living room in Olney. It was a labor of love and skill not only of its journalist founder but also of Guaracao's wife and co-publisher, Elizabeth. Cortés spoke of those early years as laying a foundation for a vision that has expanded to encompass both a national foundation to foster the development of more multilingual, multicultural and multi-platform journalists, and a fully bilingual website that is driving a new American narrative.
Clearly, as managing editor of AL DÍA News, it is impossible for me to write about the award given to our CEO with any sort of detachment. What first convinced me to take on my post at AL DÍA was Guaracao's expansive vision and his commitment to developing new talent. In the years I've been here, the young journalists and communications professionals who have spent time honing their skills at AL DÍA have included Filipino-Americans, African-Americans, Palestinian-Americans, Anglos, and — of course — a wide-ranging number of Latinos. Our CEO's belief in the excellence that emerges from a multiplicity of voices striving together to produce excellent content is not a new mission but an integral and enduring part of the nature of the business he built from the ground up.
I offer him my congratulations for an honor truly deserved.