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Boston Herald apologizes to Puerto Rican community

Ernesto Arroyo | 8/3/2010, 9:50 p.m.
A young girl waves a Puerto Rican flag during last month’s festival and parade. Ernesto Arroyo

Horace Smalls, executive director of the Union Of Minority Neighborhoods, said the Herald article and Fox report are part of a broader pattern of vilification of the city’s black and Latino communities.

“If we are really paying attention, we would realize that the Boston Herald is a part of the right wing,” he commented. “They purposely distorted an event and a celebration of a people. What good newspaper would not fact check the route of a parade? It was purposely done to feed the stereotypes of a percentage of their readers.”

For many, the controversy over the Herald article is the continuation of a long-term struggle to ensure fair media coverage for people of color and marginalized communities. But Cara Lisa Berg Powers, co-director of PressPassTV, a youth led, adult supported nonprofit company whose mission is to produce socially responsible video journalism said journalistic lapses, like the Herald’s, ultimately undermine the news-media itself.

“According to a Pew Research poll last year, public faith in the press is at a two-decade low,” Powers said. “It is because of faulty and misleading reports that people don’t feel like they can trust the news for accurate, relevant information. News outlets have a responsibility to the public to get information right, especially when it literally involves life and death.”

Rivera said the Puerto Rican community must continue its efforts to secure fair treatment from the media.

“We will not stop here,” she said. “FOX 25 and other media outlets also reported this incident as part of the Puerto Rican Festival and we cannot let them off the hook. We must hold all media outlets responsible for irresponsible journalism.”