CNN’s new streaming service isn’t up and running yet, but it has already drawn the ire of the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists.
The NAHJ issued a statement Wednesday from its national board expressing outrage over the absence of Latino journalists at the center of any of the announced programs for CNN+, which is scheduled to launch in the last week of March.
“The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is appalled by the lack of Latino journalists in the CNN+ lineup,” the organization said in the statement. “This lack of representation is not only disrespectful to our diverse community, but also disregards the well-qualified Latino talent pool within the organization.”
CNN has rolled out a large roster of programs for the service. The only one with a Latino host is with actor Eva Longoria, who is featured in a six-part travel and food series set in Mexico.
CNN cited Longoria’s program in its response to the NAHJ.
“As a longstanding partner of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, we are proud to launch CNN+ with a very diverse lineup including the previously announced ‘Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico,’ which is currently in production,” the company said in a statement. “We continue to have discussions with journalists across the industry around opportunities at CNN+ and look forward to announcing more diverse shows, talent and content offerings soon.”
Nora López, NAHJ president and executive editor of the San Antonio Express, noted that Longoria is not a journalist and that she could not recall her ever playing one.
“To me, it really misses the point,” López said in an interview Thursday. “Eva’s show will be entertainment. That’s not the same as having Latino journalists on air doing the serious reporting that CNN is known for. One of the main things we push for is representation in the nation’s newsrooms. When you have diverse journalists in the newsrooms, you get diverse stories.”
López said that NAHJ’s statement is solely in response to the programming announcements made by CNN and that she has not received any complaints from Latino journalists working at the network. CNN anchors Ana Cabrera and Jim Acosta are both NAHJ members.
“I’m at a loss to explain how they could be so obtuse when they put out that lineup,” López said. “CNN has always been a supporter of NAHJ. They have a good pool of Latino talent.”
The NAHJ called on CNN’s newly named chairman, Chris Licht, to “do better” in giving more diverse candidates opportunities at the streaming service. Licht was named Monday to head the WarnerMedia unit, soon to be taken over in a merger with Discovery — replacing Jeff Zucker, who oversaw the development of CNN+.