Rebecca Aguilar, a Dallas tv reporter who was awarded the Broadcast Journalist of the Year honors from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists* this past month, was suspended for the above interview. According to the Dallas Morning News, a 70-year-old businessman shot and killed an intruder who had broken into his West Dallas salvage yard where he also lives. It was the second time in three weeks the owner killed an intruder.
Aguilar found the man at a department store; apparently he told her he was going there. In the interview, she asks him, “are you a trigger happy kind of person? Is that what you wanted to do? Shoot to kill?” The man sounds like he breaks down.
The interview prompted an angry response. I think she did cross the line. She planted herself inside the man’s car so he couldn’t even close it if he wanted to. But I believe a reprimand would have been more appropriate. Sometimes the excitement of getting an interview clouds journalists’ judgement. But we don’t leave our humanity at the door. And where were her editors?
- an added note. Aguilar responded to the criticism here, and NAHJ responded with a letter demanding she be reinstated.
*As a former NAHJ member (I didn’t quit because of principles, I left because I’m lazy and don’t particularly like joining groups) I do have to ask, would they have been so easy to dismiss the inappropriate part of Aguilar’s interview, if the reporter was white and male, and the driver was a 70-year-old Latina who was protecting her property?
A standard is a standard regardless of the racial or ethnic component.