Recognition for journalist Ruben Salazar is long overdue in his home town

EL PASO – Before taking a Chicano Studies class this semester, my knowledge of Ruben Salazar was pretty weak. I think most residents of El Paso are also uninformed about the success of the legendary Mexican-American journalist who was killed inside a bar in East Los Angeles during a Chicano anti-war demonstration in 1970.Should the city of El Paso be blamed for this lack of historical information about the prominent journalist, who was born in Ciudad Juárez and raised in El Paso?Why haven’t our city fathers taken time to recognize this ground-breaking native son who became a national and international correspondent for one of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers? Why aren’t any parks, public schools or other public spaces named after Salazar or other prominent El Pasoans? Here are a few others:
Marcelino Serna, immigrated to El Paso illegally in 1916 at age 20, became a decorated solider during the first World War. Another nationally recognized figure, Sandra Day O’Connor, was born in El Paso and graduated from Austin High School.

Ruben Salazar questioned his own ethnic identity and the role of journalism in American society

EL PASO — Writing in his personal journal shortly before newsman Ruben Salazar was killed by cops during a 1970 Chicano Anti War march in Los Angeles, the now legendary Mexican-American journalists asks:  “Why do I always have to apologize to Americans for Mexicans and to Mexicans for Americans?”   

His question sounds almost innocent against the turbulent anti-establishment tone of the times. Yet it still resonates for most U.S. journalists with hyphenated identities, myself included. As I watched the PBS documentary, “Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle,” a few weeks ago at a packed auditorium on the University of Texas El Paso campus, it felt like I was looking into a mirror and witnessing my own ambiguity about my Cuban and U.S. identities. It seems to me that ambiguity about identity frames the existential experience of most immigrants to this country. Where do we belong?

The film Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle draws a sympathetic hometown audience in El Paso

EL PASO — Exiting the cinema, a teary-eyed and choked-up man in his sixties wearing a white guayabera shirt and a Panama fedorasaid the film he had just finished watching was tragic and reminded him of his days as a Chicano activist in California alongside César Chávez. The film was Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle directed by Phillip Rodriguez, which explores the life and tragic death of the legendary Mexican-American journalist. Salazar was born in the Mexican border town of Cuidad Juárez, but was raised here just across the river. He graduated from El Paso High School and Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso) before he started working at the El Paso Herald Post as a reporter and eventually at the Los Angeles Times. After leaving the Times, he went into broadcasting at the Spanish language station KMEX.

Documental vuelve a encender debate sobre la muerte de Rubén Salazar

By Kay Bárbaro

Read this story in English

WASHINGTON — A pesar de la convicción declarada del productor de Hollywood, Phillip Rodríguez, con respecto a que el homicidio de Rubén Salazar, director de noticias de KMEX TV (Los Ángeles), cometido hace 44 años, fue un accidente, dos públicos independientes —uno en Washington, D.C., y otro en Long Beach, California— que vieron el preestreno del documental de 54 minutos, no concuerdan con él. Algunos dijeron, además, que aunque trató de hacer un caldo de cultivo para exponer un mal, solamente logró un refrito para la televisión. El programa, Rubén Salazar: Man in the Middle, saldrá a nivel nacional el 29 de abril por la red pública de televisión, PBS. Respondiendo a la invitación de PBS, 125 personas valientes —incluyendo las del equipo del Hispanic Link, el reportero Aaron Montes y el editor Charlie Ericksen, acompañados por Peter Copeland, quien formó parte de la fundación de periodismo de Scripps-Howard—, se aventuraron la noche del 27 de febrero, con temperaturas bajo cero, a ver el documental en el auditorio del Museo de Arte Americano, del Instituto Smithsoniano, en el noroeste de Washington, D.C.

En la otra costa, con temperaturas más cálidas, el profesor y activista Armando Vásquez Ramos invitó a un grupo de 350 jóvenes universitarios al teatro de la California State University, Long Beach, el 10 de marzo, y poco después 100 invitados asistieron a la recepción y discusión que siguió. Al productor del documental, Rodríguez, se le unió Phil Móntez, gran amigo de Salazar, jubilado recientemente de su cargo de director regional de la costa oeste para la U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Documentary revives debate over Rubén Salazar’s death

By Kay Bárbaro

Lea esta historia en español

WASHINGTON — In spite of independent Hollywood producer Phillip Rodríguez’s stated belief that the killing of KMEX-TV (Los Angeles) news director Rubén Salazar 44 years ago was accidental,  two separate audiences – in Washington, D.C., and Long Beach, Calif. — that previewed his 54-minute television documentary, beg to differ. Where there was grist for an exposé, a TV rehash resulted, some say. The program — Rubén Salazar: Man in the Middle — is scheduled to run nationally April 29 on the Public Broadcasting Service network. Responding to PBS invitations, 125 brave souls, including Hispanic Link’s reporter/editor team Aaron Montes/Charlie Ericksen along with Scripps-Howard Journalism Foundation member Peter Copeland ventured into the sub-freezing night of Feb.

The film Man in the Middle on the life of journalist Rubén Salazar premieres in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — Phillip Rodriguez’s documentary Man in the Middle on the life of slain journalist Rubén Salazar has great meaning for the U.S. Latino community and Hispanic media in this country, according to many attending its first showing. The 54-minute documentary, which premiered here Feb. 27 at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, describes the controversy that gripped an entire culture and the racial and social issues of the 1960s and 1970s. The crowd of 125 heard a brief statement from U.S. Representative Xavier Beccera  (D-Calif.) who said it was beneficial for the Hispanic community to bring to the public eye the life of the martyred Latino journalist. Salazar’s grandson Jackson Cook, son of his daughter Stephanie, who makes a couple of appearances in the film, drove the five-hour trip with his girlfriend Melissa Millen from his home in New York to attend the event.

Joseph Torres, Latino journalist and author of News for all the People visits UTEP on April 17 to educate students about the history of ethnic media. (Danya P. Hernandez/Borderzine.com)

The struggle for ethnic parity in U.S. media started with the American Revolution

EL PASO—A modern day champion for a free press, fighting to maintain and safeguard the lessons learned and taught by persons of color in the history of American journalism  made his way south to this border city. Latino author and journalist Joseph Torres stood before students at the University of Texas at El Paso on April 17 and asked them, “Who was Ruben Salazar?”  The classroom full of aspiring young Latino journalist grew silent. Surprised by their silence, he explained how a boy from their own border town became one of the most important Chicano journalists in the 1960’s and how his voice was violently silenced in 1970 by police in Los Angeles. “What most people don’t know about him is that he tried to organize the Latino community and journalists to become activists to create change,” said Torres before reading a rare quote by Salazar that could be a clue to the speculations surrounding his death. “There is much bitterness in our Mexican-American community, gentlemen.

Hispanic Link premiado por cobertura sobre Rubén Salazar

Por Bianca Fortis

Escritores de Hispanic Link News Service ganaron homenajes en tres de nueve categorías periodísticas durante el segundo banquete de premios anual de New America Media (NAM) en Washington, D.C. el 15 de febrero. La competencia, para noticias o variedades publicadas o emitidas en el 2010, fue auspiciada en cooperación con la Escuela de Comunicaciones de la American University, con el fin de dar reconocimiento a la excelencia de los medios étnicos en la región metropolitana de Washington, D.C. Más de 100 entregas de prensa escrita y transmitida en nueve idiomas fueron juzgadas por paneles políglotas de periodistas y educadores del periodismo. Se unieron doscientos invitados al brindis realizado en la sede de la Universidad de California en la capital.  NAM vincula una red de más de 700 organizaciones noticiosas. Los periodistas de Hispanic Link ganaron dos de los premios más importantes y otro de segundo lugar, “mención honorífica” por sus entregas. Frank O. Sotomayor ganó en la categoría de Mejor Noticia de Investigación, por su narrativa de 2.800 palabras, “La muerte extraña de Rubén Salazar — ¿Accidente o asesinato?” publicada el 10 de noviembre en el semanario de Hispanic Link y distribuida a nivel nacional por Scripps Howard News Service.

Hispanic Link’s Salazar coverage wins award

By Bianca Fortis

Hispanic Link News Service writers won honors in three of the nine featured journalism categories at New America Media’s second annual Washington, D.C. awards banquet Feb. 15. The competition, for news or features published or broadcast in 2010, was cosponsored by the American University School of Communications to recognize ethnic media excellence in the Greater Washington region. More than 100 print and broadcast submissions in nine languages were judged by panels of multilingual journalists and journalism educators. Two hundred invited guests joined in the salute, conducted at the capital’s University of California headquarters building.

Read all about it – some last words for the printed word

EL PASO, Texas — Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to honor the heroes, the visionaries, the martyrs, the teachers, the mentors and the smart-asses that have contributed to the legacy of Print Media here at the University of Texas at El Paso. In these times of great technological advancement, the souls that lie buried in the ink of the pages that challenged authority, informed the populous and bled perspective will never be forgotten. In our borderland, the border we face is not only that which divides our twin cities. We also approach an epochal border, moving into a digital age where the blog is the new editorial, craigslist is the new classified ads and RSS feeds are the new paperboys. On November 2, 2009, former ABC White House correspondent Sam Donaldson announced the creation of a new degree at UTEP: Multimedia Journalism.