NPR's Maria Hinojosa Sees Conflict of Objectivity and Agenda in Journalism

April 11, 2012
By Janell Sims, Shorenstein Center

Maria Hinojosa, anchor and managing editor of NPR's Latino USA, and anchor of Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One (WGBX-TV), spoke to the Shorenstein Center about the challenges journalists face when reporting objective facts through the mainstream media.

Hinojosa said that she is often accused of having a Latino or feminist "agenda." But she argued that "the core of the work of journalism should be to shine a light," and that core, when misconstrued as an agenda, is "problematic."

When asked by Alex Jones, Shorenstein Center Director, how best to use journalism to persuade people of different perspectives, Hinojosa answered that "you have to acknowledge that differences of perspectives exist, and you have to do your best to be fact-based and to give representation to as many voices as you can." As a correspondent for CNN, she said, she found that ratings were often given higher priority and importance than objectivity.

Looking ahead to the presidential election, Hinojosa said that "the Latino voter is a very unpredictable one," but what Obama can do to reach out to the growing Latino-American population, she suggested, was focus on the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), halt deportations and halt the building of new civil detention centers — where conditions, in many cases she noted, are "un-American."

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picture of Maria Hinojosa talking

Maria Hinojosa, anchor and managing editor of NPR's Latino USA

"The core of the work of journalism should be to shine a light," said Hinojosa.