Mar 29, 2021 - News

Denver Latina reporters call out newsroom inequity

Former 9News reporter Lori Lizarraga. Photo: Stephen David Lizarraga, courtesy of Lori Lizarraga. Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Lori Lizarraga — a Latina journalist in Denver — is sounding the alarm about her former employer, 9News, for alleged discrimination in the newsroom.

The state of play: The first-generation 25-year-old claims 9News execs let go of her and two other on-air Latina reporters within the past year without good reason.

  • Just this year, the network hired three white journalists, she alleges.
  • Lizarraga’s colleague, Sonia Gutierrez, was let go last year after being told she could not cover immigration issues unless she first revealed her own immigration status on television, Lizarraga wrote in a Westword commentary that’s garnering major attention.
  • As of 4pm Monday, 9News management had not contacted Lizarraga, she told Axios.

The other side: 9News president and general manager Mark Cornetta told Axios his newsroom is "striving to do better."

  • 44% of new hires on the 9News content team have been people of color since the start of 2020, with 24% of its content team hires comprised of Hispanic/Latino employees, Cornetta said.
  • "As we continue our diversity, equity and inclusion focus, our content team and news leadership will take part in an inclusive journalism program and training that begins this April," he added.

Of note: A coalition of Latina elected officials from the state and local level wrote to Cornetta asking for a meeting to understand how the network will "regain and retain" its Latina reporters.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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