August 23, 1995
By Yolanda Reynolds
The local daily, the San Jose Mercury News, has over the years periodically engendered a feeling of frustration and mistrust because of the sort of news coverage afforded the large and growing Latino, Chicano community in San Jose.
Monday at noon community advocate Ben Garza asked for a meeting between Mercury News Publisher Joe Harris with Garza and others in the community who wish to discuss news coverage of the Latino/Chicano community in San Jose.
Garza explained that articles such as the one written by Jeordan Legon entitled “Tensions rise among Hispanics” have the purpose of dividing the community with misleading information. Garza adds, “We just had Proposition 187 and now Affirmative Action is under attack and the Presidential elections are not far away, it is even more important that we be united.”
“This type of article” Garza says “is an attempt to internally divide the community, and to confuse the people on the real issues confronting.” Garza added, “We are not going to allow the Mercury News to divide and conquer us when many of the interests of the community need serious and thoughtful attention.”
Ernesto Garibay, a free lance Mexican writer now living in the United States pointed out that the article presents problems but offers no opinions or alternatives nor even the extent of the problem. He added, the article was loaded with sensationalism and emotionalism and lacked in factual information.
Working conditions at the Mercury News for minorities and Latino staff, in particular, has been problematic. Just before entering the Mercury News headquarters, a 15-year employee Irene Cortinas the only permanent Latino employee in the mailroom, says, that she has seen others, non-Hispanic, with far less experience move into better paying, more responsible positions. She says she has been thwarted in her attempts to acquire the needed training for advancement.
Cortinas adds that there are other Latino employees who feel as she does but don’t speak out for fear of losing their jobs.
Mercury News Publisher Harris agreed to meet with Garza and the expected delegation of Latino/Chicano/Mexican spokespersons Wednesday August 23rd at 10:3O a.m. at the Mercury News Headquarters at RidderPark Drive in San Jose.
Garza invites those who share his concern to attend. The intent of the meeting is to hear Publisher Harris explain why such articles repeatedly appear in the Mercury News.
Garza promised a boycott of the newspaper should its editorial policy remain the same.
This would have serious implications to the Mercury News which is frantically attempting to declare to its advertisers it is a medium read by the large Hispanic/Latino/Chicano community of San Jose. Advertisers have discovered the untapped buying power in the growing and relatively affluent Latino Chicano Community of San Jose and are anxious to reach them.
Ben Garza can be reached at (408) 929-6926. © La Oferta Newspaper.