SOJ students form chapter of National Association of Hispanic Journalists at SBU

Students from the School of Journalism have formed a campus chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the first student chapter of a minority-journalism organization at Stony Brook University.

The group held its first event, Journalism Bingo Night, on March 8 in the Student Activities Center, room 303, and on March 9, the chapter received its official recognition from NAHJ.

NAHJ Founding Members

The bingo night was co-sponsored by the campus chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Minority-journalism groups such as NAHJ are renowned in journalism circles for mentoring and teaching to student journalists of all backgrounds. At the groups’ annual meetings, students from across the country work on convention newspapers and Web sites, gaining practical experience and making a wide range of contacts.

Stony Brook’s involvement with NAHJ began when four journalism students met Sept. 21 in the Central Reading of the Melville Library with the hope of starting a student chapter. Since that first meeting in September, more students were encouraged to join and work together. Now there are 10 members committed to creating an organization that aims to create a voice for students.

As a part of the NAHJ, the student chapter wants to encourage minorities on campus to become more engaged with journalism, to educate others about journalism ethics and on how to be better news consumers. A goal for establishing this chapter is to create a group in which student journalists can come together with their ideas.
The chapter’s organizers will also create a showcase for the excellent work of Latinos in the media field. They plan to become a support group for each other and to welcome people from all races and backgrounds, not just Latinos, to reflect the diversity found on Stony Brook’s campus.

Stony Brook’s undergraduates describe themselves as follows: 36 percent as white, 7 percent African-American, 22 percent Asian-American, 9 percent Hispanic American and 18 percent unknown.

The founding members of the student group themselves represent a variety of different ethnic backgrounds, including Dominican, Ecuadorian, African-American, Spanish, Honduran, Dutch and Puerto Rican.

This year, the School of Journalism at SBU will be celebrating its fourth year on campus. The program has grown so much since it was founded in 2006, and the chapter will help build industry connections. “Starting an NAHJ chapter at Stony Brook will help build the reputation of our School of Journalism,” founding chapter president Christine Vargas said.