Maria Elena Salinas Booed During Grad Speech, Scolds OC Weekly for Reporting the News

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When Denise De La Cruz graduated from Cal State Fullerton this past weekend, María Elena Salinas addressed her graduating class at Cal State Fullerton. De La Cruz, the clubs editor for OC Weekly, wrote a firsthand account about Salinas’ speech and the audience’s reactions. During one part of the speech to the College of Communications, Salinas switched to Spanish.

“Salinas’ speech was well-received until it became a little too Latino-centric for some and blatantly anti-Trump,” De La Cruz wrote. “The Univision broadcaster began specifically congratulating Latino journalism graduates for what seemed like a large chunk of her speech. She then began speaking in Spanish… This left non-journalism grads and non-Latino/non-Spanish speakers feeling excluded. Parents in the audience and even students in the ceremony began demanding Salinas switch to a more inclusive tone by shouting phrases such as, ‘What about us?!’”

This week, the Internet has been ablaze with people expressing their opinions about Salinas getting heckled. Meanwhile, De La Cruz spoke to publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post throughout the week. However, on Thursday, Salinas called out the young reporter on Twitter and said she didn’t report the facts.

On Friday, Salinas followed it up with a more than 1,300-word article denying De La Cruz’s account. In a post titled, “A Lesson in Reporting,” Salinas wrote about reaching out to De La Cruz and questioning her about parts of her article, particularly the ones that were anti-Trump. Salinas believes De La Cruz merely interpreted these anti-Trump sentiments.

“De La Cruz and her editor are very excited that her story made national headlines with such prestigious publications as the Washington Post, The Hill, LatinoUSA, The Los Angeles Times and La Opinion, to name a few. I’m sure she’ll have a great future in the business. But do we see a lesson here in accurate reporting? Should journalists skip the facts and just provide their personal interpretation of what happened, regardless of the consequences? Granted there is nothing wrong with reporting on how my comments were perceived, but do we just completely erase the already blurred lines between opinion and factual reporting? I don’t think that’s what I meant when I said young journalists are going to re-invent the news business.”

Read the rest of Salinas’ post here.