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Holding its fourth regional media summit since 2015, UNITY Journalists for Diversity announced this week that more than 110 people attended its two-day gathering April 28-29 in Phoenix that featured a town hall meeting on immigration and media summit at Arizona State University.

Around 50 people attended a April 28 town hall meeting on immigration coverage in media at the Puente Human Rights Movement in downtown Phoenix where advocacy groups discussed how they battle backlash against immigrants in Arizona. In addition, a panel of journalists, led by UNITY president Russell Contreras, discussed ways the media could improve its coverage while pressing for more diversity in the nation’s newsrooms.

Fernanda Santos, a Phoenix bureau chief for The New York Times, said its important for advocates to remain in contact with journalists, even if reporters can’t cover every story. She also said journalists work hard at not being advocates but try to practice fairness to get both sides.

“It’s not about advocacy,” Santos said. “Mainstream media is not the bogeyman.”

UNITY’s “Empower the Southwest Narrative” media summit at Arizona State University on Saturday drew more than 60 attendees for panels focusing on covering Native American communities, beginning a startup media company, and writing about poverty.

Among those speaking were Tom Arviso Jr, publisher of the Navajo Times, Suzanne Gamboa of NBC Latino, and Eric Ortiz, CEO of Evrybit. Ortiz posted photos, audio and video of the summit on Evrybit (http://goo.gl/BcE2Bf).

Keynote speaker, Cynthia Zwick, executive director Arizona Community Action Association, challenged journalists to examine the root causes of poverty with covering marginalized communities in places like Arizona.

“I know that many of your are not anti-poverty advocates,” Zwick said.

“But if you want to fight poverty, we welcome you to the fight.”

The 2016 Regional Media Summits are being underwritten by the TEGNA Foundation.

ABOUT UNITY

UNITY Journalists for Diversity is a strategic alliance that:

  1. Advocates fair and accurate coverage about diversity — especially race, nationality, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation.
  2. Aggressively challenges that industry to staff its organizations at all levels to reflect the country’s diversity.

The UNITY board is made up of representatives from the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association, and NLGJA: The Association of LGBT Journalists.

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