Trailblazers of Diversity – Felix Gutierrez

AEJMC Trailblazers of Diversity in Journalism Education

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

School of Journalism

University of Texas at Austin

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Interview Subject: Felix Gutierrez
Interviewer: Kyle Hukins
Interview date: 08/07/2013

Number of Recorded Segments: 3
Interview length: 00:46:27
Language: English
Reviewer: Trent Boulter
Date of review for index: 12/17/14

Table of Contents:
0:00 – 0:53 Start and Intro
(How did you get involved with journalism)
0:53 Talks about his parents involvement in journalism while in college in Arizona (mother) and California (father). Even talking about how they met through their work. Is father then became a school teacher before dying from cancer.

2:51 Later in Jr. High and High school he started working for the school papers and went to Cal State LA, but didn’t major in journalism (1961). He majored in Social Studies so that he might be teach after school, just in case.

4:15 After getting his degree and then credential in education, he wanted to do what he loved and so went to get his Masters in Journalism at Northwestern

4:35 It was during the Vietnam War and the draft but after the war he applied for both types of jobs and only got one teaching offer in California.

5:12 he took a job at Cal State LA in service learning. He wanted to do journalism, not higher education.

5:47 He did what he could with different publications and media relations, helping coordinate different interviews and things. That experience gave him a completely different perspective on journalism and the way stories were produced. It also helped him to get to know people in the industry.

7:20 In 1969 he decided that if he couldn’t get into the newsroom he wanted to have an impact on the newsroom by becoming a journalism professor.

(awareness of minorities in journalism in connection with parents work?)

8:05 It was an integration generation but you couldn’t play that racial card. He was a trailblazer because he was the first latin American to do everything that he wanted to do. (Editor of school paper, etc.)

9:11 He knew there was a need to break through, but it was by showing that you could do everything you were expected to do.

9:32 When he saw the media trying to make sense of racial issues and being unable to explain things or understand, he realized that there was a larger agenda that needed to be brought up. That led to the government reports as well.

10:32 “Media had always been an issue for us, but we hadn’t always been an issue for media” and that led him to journalism education.

(What was your thinking about future generations of minorities as you went into journalism education?)

11:10 He was able to see both sides of the coin of Affirmative Action. That kept him from getting a job beforehand, and got him a job as an assistant dean at Stanford 1969. You had to grab the opportunity while you could. Learn what you can learn, but use it to advance what’s important to you.

13:10 He made a conscious decision to get into higher education.

(Did you continue to see the need to address diversity in higher education?)

13:57 The difference between assimilation, integration, and full participation.

15:07 The power that comes with an advanced degree. Redefining knowledge in new ways

16:14 Talks about his first job teaching at Cal State Northridge and wanting students to have a different experience than he did.

(Diversity was always your focus)

17:14 People always approached him saying “Why would you do that?” It wasn’t “don’t”.

(The practice of dominant culture to keep minorities accomplishments in the shadows)

19:00 Those minority facts of history were used as a footnote, nothing more.

(the advocacy and mentoring in his teaching)

20:01 It wasn’t a factor in his career until he got into a PhD program. But he never intended to forget about the fact that he was a Mexican American.

22:09 He joined AEJMC because there was a minority division that allowed him in. It provided him with a new perspective and helped him to see that he wasn’t alone in his interests regarding racial issues.

24:18 The process about how he got a paper accepted to AEJMC for the first time in 1976.

25:22 His first experience at AEJMC. Seeing things as a wider movement and not just a black and white issue. It was his first exposure to how the mentoring and structure works in academia.

(Challenges that you’ve had)

27:20 The first challenge is to produce. It’s all about being able to deliver and providing the information that’s needed.

29:08 You feel lonely when you’re out there doing work and you’re not sure what you’re going to find or whether people are going to be interested in it or not. That’s where AEJMC comes in.

30:09 With hiring it’s more difficult because people kept saying that there weren’t qualified candidates.

31:25 Corporations started diversity programs and looked to people like him for help.

32:28 Broadcasting was different because they were under federal regulation.

(How has the struggle changed over time?)

33:14 It’s gone from uni-dimensional on both sides to multi-dimensional on both sides. All different minorities, gender, and sexual orientation. You have to know your own base before you go into forming coalitions. The demographics of the country is changing as well.

35:08 Journalism education is still stuck on an integration model and need to look more at the breadth of opportunities available.

(Academia diversity challenges)

36:34 “I don’t put any blame on higher education” It’s got to be based on alliances and what your allies are doing.

37:26 Higher education is changing. It’s fantastically expensive. Professors are also being pulled away from teaching to writing and research.

(Polarization and where things are with diversity and racism)

39:44 We’re at a critical point and an assimilation point. It’s a matter of numbers and majorities regardless of the fact that this country is all immigrants. We need to expand participation. Signs in English only.

41:30 The similarities between Underground Railroad and Central American migration now.

42:50 By going to the segmented “niche” market media we are losing ground and practicing selective exposure. And it is becoming very polarizing

43:57 The biggest roles he’s had are as a Teacher, Scholar, and Advocate and anyone interested in furthering these ideals has to play all three. Scholar needs to document beyond the rhetoric. From broad sweep to specifics. Look for ways to help others and it’s a way of life.

AEJMC Trailblazers of Diversity

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