Borderzine Director Zita Arocha named to National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame


The  National Association of Hispanic Journalists this week named Borderzine founder and director Zita Arocha a 2016 Hall of Fame inductee for making a difference for Latinos in the newsroom.


Zita Arocha

Arocha, an associate professor of practice teaching journalism at UT El Paso, is former executive director of NAHJ.

“Zita has been the soul of NAHJ and continues to be a beacon for diversity and journalism,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “Zita not only helped lead NAHJ in its early days, but she has been committed to training and developing hundreds, if not thousands, of Latino journalists. She has been a leader in journalism on the border, developing a platform for stories that are uniquely situated for the region and necessary for the country and world.”

This year, the NAHJ board of directors voted to induct four individuals, one posthumously. They will join 46 distinguished journalists who have been previously honored.

The induction takes place during the Hall of Fame Honors Luncheon on Friday, Aug. 5 at the annual convention in Washington DC which takes place Aug. 3-7.

The other 2016 inductees are:

Hugo Balta, ESPN senior director of multicultural content, past NAHJ President 2012-2014

“Hugo saved NAHJ. He brought back an organization that was near bankruptcy – both monetarily and emotionally,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “We honor him this year not only for what he has done for our organization and Latino journalists, but what he continues to do through his career, mentoring and leadership.”

Veronica Villafañe, founder, editor and publisher  of, past NAHJ President 2004-2006

“Veronica led the organization as the industry shifted and she paved the path for our organization to adapt and grow,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “Her work during her tenure as NAHJ President tackled net neutrality, lack of minority ownership and Lou Dobbs. Her presidency was among the first to focus directly on Spanish-language media. Her own entrepreneurship, passion and determination has led her to a new career in digital journalism and today is the most valued source of news about Latinos in our industry.”

Robert Montemayor (posthumous induction), former educator at Rutgers University, LA Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner and Texas Tech graduate

“Mr. Montemayor was part of the team of Latino journalists that, in my opinion, showed the world our value, our perspective and who we are as Latinos,” said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. “He was honored with the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for meritorious Public Service for his work with the LA Times group of Latino journalists that created a series of stories that would counter the stereotypical coverage of Latinos then in the LA Times. He also taught hundreds of journalism students at Rutgers University and authored, ‘Right Before Our Eyes: Latinos Past, Present and Future.’”

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