You can view the recording of the 2023 NAHJ Elections: Virtual Candidate Forum here.

Region 1 Director Candidate -- The Caribbean and Mexico

David Cordero Mercado

Region 2 Director Candidate -- The Northeast

Sarah Betancourt

Region 3 Director Candidate -- The Mid-Atlantic

Melissa Macaya

Region 4 Director Candidate -- The South

Samantha Rivera

Region 5 Director Candidates -- South Central U.S.

Ninette Sosa

Nancy Preyor-Johnson

Region 6 Director Candidate -- The Midwest

Diana Gutierrez

Region 7 Director Candidate -- The Southwest

Johnny Córdoba

Region 8 Director Candidate -- The Pacific

Cristy Fajardo

• Student Representative -- Open Position, write-in candidates will be allowed to campaign to student-eligible voters.



Region 1 Director Candidate:

David Cordero Mercado


David Cordero Mercado is an investigative and multimedia journalist for El Nuevo Día in Puerto Rico. He earned a master's degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism Innovation from Syracuse University in New York, and a bachelor's degree in Information and Journalism from the School of Communication of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Río Piedras Campus, as well as a second concentration in Political Science. David began his career as a journalist at the UPR newspaper Diálogo. He worked at the Metro Puerto Rico newspaper, where he also did international coverage for Metro World News. He has been awarded by the Puerto Rico Journalists Association and the Overseas Press Club, Puerto Rico Chapter. In addition, he is an instructor for multimedia journalism courses at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón and at the UPR. He is also the Region 1 Director on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.


Durante los pasados dos años alcanzamos importantes metas en la región 1 y destacamos la presencia de los periodistas y comunicadores de Puerto Rico y el Caribe en la NAHJ. Como director de la región 1, deseo seguir aportando al desarrollo profesional de los miembros -desde los estudiantes hasta los profesionales-, fortalecer la defensa de nuestro trabajo ante las amenazas que enfrentamos, y continuar desarrollando iniciativas que respondan a las necesidades de cada uno. ¡Cuento con tu apoyo, región 1!".

During the past two years we have achieved important goals in region 1 and we highlight the presence of journalists and communicators from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean in the NAHJ. As director of region 1, I wish to continue contributing to the professional development of members -from students to professionals-, strengthen the defense of our work in the face of the threats we face, and continue developing initiatives that respond to the needs of each one. I'm counting on your support, region 1.

Region 2 Director Candidate:

Sarah Betancourt


Sarah Betancourt is a reporter for GBH News in Boston, where she reported several stories for Priced Out, the Fight for Housing In Massachusetts, which won a 2023 regional Murrow award. She writes about immigration, criminal justice, housing, and other topics, and co-reported Trafficking Inc., an award-winning series on labor trafficking. Before joining GBH, she was a reporter at CommonWealth Magazine, where she was on the 2020 list of outstanding politics reporters to follow in the Washington Post's "The Fix.”

Several of her stories have contributed to changes in local, state, and federal policy. 

Sarah reported for The Associated Press and The Boston Globe prior to that, and is an active freelancer who has written for outlets as diverse as DigBoston, the New York Law Journal, The Guardian, and NBC Latino for 15 years. 

She received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for researching the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies got out of paying undocumented workers compensation benefits by having them arrested or deported.

Sarah has led workshops at multiple undergraduate programs, and enjoys counseling students and working class reporters on how to freelance and apply to jobs.

Sarah has a Bachelor's degree in Political Communication from Emerson College and a Master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she was a fellow at the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.


As a working-class Latina, I know firsthand the difficulty of breaking into this industry, finding a good job, and balancing that stability in the quest for equity in the workplace.

I spent several years working multiple 25-30 hour jobs, making $100 a story freelancing, worrying if I could afford student loans and rent in one of America’s most expensive cities. I know the physical and mental toll it can take to remain in an industry we’re all devoted to. I’m not the only one with those sentiments.

NAHJ’s mission statement includes fostering and promoting “fair treatment of Hispanics in the media.” Part of that is getting Latino journalists jobs--good ones.

If elected, my priorities are:

  1. Ensure members have the tools they need to apply to good jobs and freelance opportunities, including headshots and strong resumes.
  2. Have a region-wide survey about equity, wages, recognition, jobs, and room for advancement in newsrooms.
  3. Ensure that members know their workplace rights, are ensured affordable access to mental health services, and can consult with knowledgeable mentors and affordable attorneys.
  4. Create a contract that news organizations can voluntarily sign on to, where reporters, producers, interns feel safe asking to be recognized and compensated for the extra work done in the field with interpretation and translation.

We are integral resources in newsrooms that are seeking to evolve their sourcing, publishing, and diversity equity and inclusion initiatives. Let’s hold them to the standard of tangibly recognizing their Latino employees.

Meet and greet on Zoom on July 11, 7pm!

Sarah Betancourt

Region 3 Director Candidate:

Melissa Macaya


Melissa Macaya is a multimedia journalist, news leader and journalism educator who currently serves as senior editor at CNN Digital, where she oversees live digital coverage of political breaking news and elections from the Washington bureau for the network's global audience.

Before joining CNN, Melissa helped lead live video and breaking news coverage at The Washington Post and was a fellow with NBC News. She has covered a multitude of historic political events from the nation’s capital, including presidential elections, administration transitions and major Supreme Court decisions. 

Born and raised in Venezuela, Melissa has also gained extensive experience covering the US Hispanic community and Latin America. She was a producer for CNN en Español's political shows and helped lead the Latin American network's digital coverage of Washington. Melissa is passionate about uplifting stories about the community and Latin American region through digital storytelling.

She currently serves on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) as Region 3 Director and chairs NAHJ's Strategic Planning Implementation Committee. She has a master's degree in journalism from Georgetown University and is an adjunct professor in the program.


It has been a privilege to represent NAHJ’s Region 3 chapters on the national board, and I want to serve another term to continue to help our professional and student chapters re-engage members after the pandemic and expand NAHJ membership and programming in the region.

The representation and advancement of Latino journalists in newsrooms and management roles, especially in the nation’s capital, is crucial. Our local chapters are key in connecting NAHJ members to news organizations and supporting the next generation of Latino journalists. I want to help grow and bolster our chapters in Washington, DC, and Philadelphia and launch new chapters in the region.

NAHJ has been a big part of my professional and academic life since I joined in high school, providing me with incredible mentors, scholarships and trainings that helped develop my career. NAHJ's support and impact inspired me to give back to the association and serve as a leader on the local and national level.

I helped relaunch our NAHJ student chapter at the University of Texas at Austin as an undergraduate student and served as president of the NAHJ Washington, DC, chapter for four terms. As chapter president, I helped plan a yearly job fair alongside other journalism groups, monthly membership meetings in newsrooms across the city, press briefings at the White House and Capitol Hill, networking events, internship supplements and journalism trainings.

As Region 3 Director, I’ve continued to support the Washington chapter's efforts and helped guide our new chapter in Philadelphia and at American University.

Region 4 Director Candidate:

Samantha Rivera


Samantha Rivera is a bilingual sports journalist, who speaks both English and Spanish, and currently works as a sports reporter/anchor for CBS Miami.

From the Heat and Panthers, to the Dolphins and Marlins, Samantha never has a dull day of work. She’s already helped cover both the NBA and NHL finals as well.

Before the 305, she worked in her hometown as a sports reporter/anchor for NBC5 Chicago, Telemundo Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago. During her time there, she covered iconic teams like the Bears, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, etc.

Before that, Samantha was a sports reporter/anchor for FOX5 San Diego, where she covered the Padres, Chargers, Rams and more. She went on to be the bilingual team reporter/host for the San Diego Wave FC and join the NAHJ San Diego - Tijuana chapter as Vice President.

That same group went on to win the chapter of the year award at the 2022 national conference in Las Vegas.

Samantha was also a sports reporter/anchor in Rockford, IL, where she covered a strong high school sports scene, the Chicago Bears, Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, all on top of Rockford native Fred VanVleet and the Raptors’ journey to their championship title.

Samantha’s career began in 2017, when she traveled to Marquette, MI to be a morning live shot reporter. She was eventually promoted as the FOX U.P. anchor.

The Chicagoland native is also a proud alumna of DePaul University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations and advertising.


My name is Samantha Rivera, I’m a proud bilingual sports reporter/anchor currently working for CBS Miami and would be honored to be your Region 4 Director.

As a long-time NAHJ member through the Chicago and San Diego chapters, my life has truly been impacted in the best way possible because of this wonderful organization.

Meeting other Latinos who not only do what I do, but also understand my culture outside of work, has been the absolute best.

From networking, to making friends who’ve turned into family, I truly hope to help add more value to an already fantastic organization that’s already given me so much.

Region 5 Director Candidate:

Ninette Sosa


Ninette Sosa is an instructor at the University of Arkansas School of Journalism and Strategic Media.

She has a master’s from UARK with a documentary film focus and a bachelor’s in sociology from San Diego State University.

From 2018 - 2021 she was the Digital Media Reporter at Nexstar's KNWA/FOX 24 affiliates in Northwest Arkansas. 

Two films produced and directed by Ninette have been accepted to national and international film festivals — “Check Six: The Duke Cunningham Story” and “Mike the Birdman.”

For more than 10 years Ninette worked as a radio correspondent and a newsroom supervisor at CNN, Atlanta. 

The Guatemalan native is a veteran award-winning news journalist.

She has worked as a certified war correspondent, and reported news nationally and internationally, for radio, print, and television for 3 decades.

Ninette considers Guatemala, Arizona, California, Georgia, and Arkansas her homes as she embraces these areas where she has learned a lot about cultural diversity. 

For decades she has volunteered with several organizations including California Chicano News Media Association and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.


For the past four years, I have worked diligently to represent our members. I have a proven record of attending all board meetings to ensure the needs of Region 5 members are addressed, and I have a solid voting record.

I’m part of the newly created Advocacy Committee. This involves regional leaders, along with NAHJ’s president, and was created to hear from local chapter leaders about issues and challenges members would like addressed via our advocacy work.

I participated in the development of our new five-year strategic plan process that includes:

  •  Equity and accountability in newsrooms

  • Working to increase NAHJ’s national presence

  • Provide more member engagement with training and other services

  • Review the board’s structure to ensure stronger financial growth

I helped revise the guidelines for the Hall of Fame and Ñ awards. I have supported universities in Texas and Arkansas to start student chapters.

Our region, like so many others, has been hit by cutbacks in the industry, impacting chapters that have had to dissolve or be placed on hold. Our collaboration with HCDFW is a benefit for member Latino journalists who also have the support of the Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals. I am grateful for these organizations and look forward to working collaboratively going forward.

I’m excited to continue the work I have underway and if re-elected, I plan to continue working to implement the board’s strategic plan by listening to our members, growing our chapters, and nurturing connections between the members in our region.

Ninette Sosa

Region 5 Director Candidate:

Nancy Preyor-Johnson


Nancy M. Preyor-Johnson is a deputy editorial board editor and columnist at the San Antonio Express-News.

She is an award-winning journalist and former teacher. For eight years, she taught journalism, speech and English to junior high and high school students. Before that, she worked as a news reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, and other newspapers.

In 2022, after her first year back in journalism and her debut as an opinion writer, she was awarded third place Texas APME Star Opinion Writer of the Year.  She won third place for Best in the West General Interest Column Writing, for which a judge wrote: “She writes with rare authority born of thoughtful understanding. It is an outstanding body of work.”

In 2023, she was awarded first place for Best in the West editorial writing and second place for the Texas Managing Editors Michael Brick Storytelling Award for her coverage of the Uvalde school shooting. A judge wrote, “Faced with an extraordinary and heartbreaking tragedy, the writer did well to channel that anger and indignation while staying measured and focused. In a very deep category, this piece stood out.”

She holds a master's degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and five Texas education certifications, including principal.

Preyor-Johnson is the treasurer of the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists, and she mentors and speaks to students and the community.

A native of the South Texas town of Mathis, she has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.


Dear NAHJ members,

I hope I can count on your support for Region 5 Director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. As deputy editor of the San Antonio Express-News editorial board, and one of the few Latinas on the newspaper masthead, I am often the only Latina in the room with politicians and leaders.

The work I do is not only an honor but a responsibility. I use my platform to write editorials and columns that accurately and passionately tell the stories of our diverse community and industry. I’m also dedicated to assuring that diverse voices are reflected in our opinion commentaries.

I want to do more to advocate for newsroom diversity, especially in leadership positions, freedom of the press and strengthening the pipeline of future Latino journalists.

As a former journalism teacher, I understand the importance of young Latinos seeing journalists’ faces that look like theirs. I wouldn’t be doing this work without the guidance of teachers and mentors who believed in me. I often speak to students of all ages about the crucial work we do, and I’ve mentored teen journalists.

This past year, I served as the treasurer of the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists where I served on the scholarship committee. Because it takes all of us to make a difference, I want to work to ensure that more Latinos are meaningfully engaged with NAHJ and that we are doing all we can to highlight the journalism our members produce. We are stronger together.

Region 6 Director Candidate:

Diana Gutierrez


Diana Gutierrez is a morning anchor for WISN 12 News’ weekday morning shows starting at 4:30 a.m. and 12 News at 11 a.m in Milwaukee.

Diana is a Mexican-American Chicago native. Born to immigrant parents she is bilingual and speaks fluent Spanish. 

As a proud Chicago Southsider she was the first in her family to graduate college. 

Diana understands the importance of unbiased journalism and how impactful local news is to a community or region. She is passionate about storytelling and allows her curiosity to always ask questions.

She discovered her passion for journalism while she was studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. While earning her degree at DePaul University she worked for a local newspaper in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. This would be the first time she was introduced to hard news. During her time at DePaul, she founded the NAHJ student chapter after noticing a lack of resources for Latino journalists.

She kicked off her career in South Bend, Indiana, where she was a weekday multimedia journalist and weekend morning anchor.

Throughout her career she has covered multiple breaking news stories and has field anchored important local events. Her coverage led to earning an Emmy and Edward Murrow award for the coverage of the Waukesha Parade Tragedy and the Waukesha Parade Trial Verdict.

Diana likes to spend her free time giving back to the community. She is an executive board member of the Daisie Foundation, which focuses on empowering women and children in underserved communities.

She likes to stay active and spend time with family and friends.


My name is Diana Gutierrez. I am a first-generation, Mexican American, bilingual journalist living and working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

While I was attending DePaul University, I reached out to the Chicago chapter to learn how I could start a chapter on campus. My goal was to help aspiring Latino journalists at DePaul University. During my time there, there was no such thing.

With their help I founded the first organization dedicated to Latino journalists. After the success of the student chapter and graduation, I transitioned to vice president of the Chicago chapter. We were able to raise funds for scholarships for students and host a ‘Café con PIOs’ event in Chicago.

When I think of NAHJ I think of support, I think about empowerment, and I think of family.

As Regional 6 Director, I hope to build on those three things. I hope to make sure everyone feels like they can count on someone who will listen to their needs and help them reach their goals.

With my experience as a board member and a member of a chapter I believe I have good perspective of how things are at both levels. I know there are things we can work on at both the national and local level, such as communication. I hope to be part of the problem-solving and brainstorming to be the best organization we can be.

Our chapters, members, and the resources we offer is how we get more Latinos in news.

Diana Gutierrez

Region 7 Director Candidate:

Johnny Córdoba


Johnny Córdoba is a Communications graduate from Florida International University in North Miami Beach, FL.  Currently, he is a Board Member with the American Cancer Society SW Chapter, Board Member with NAHJ Region 7, & member of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter.

Johnny also graduated with Highest Honors and a 4.0 GPA from Central New Mexico Community College, from its Alternative Teaching Licensure Program, with an Early Childhood Degree. 

Currently, Johnny works as a news producer at KPNX 12News in Phoenix, AZ.

 Johnny lived in Miami for 18 years where he worked for PBS' "Nightly Business Report," "Noticiero Univision," & "Despierta América".

 Johnny moved to New Mexico in 2006 and worked in local news as producer and assignment desk manager for KLUZ, KRQE & KASA. He also worked as an instructor for the University of New Mexico’s Communications & Journalism Department. Johnny directed a short film about healthcare for undocumented immigrants for the University of New Mexico Hospital’s Maternity and Family Planning Clinics.

Johnny moved to San Antonio, TX where he worked as News Director for KVDA Telemundo 60, and as Digital Content Producer for, from 2012 to 2013.

Johnny returned to New Mexico in 2013 and worked as assignment desk manager at KOB NBC4.

Johnny worked for Telemundo Arizona as Executive News Producer and News Producer from 2014 to 2020.

In October 2016, Johnny won an Emmy as "Best News Producer" from the Rocky Mountain Regional Emmy Chapter for his work covering the initial reports of "El Chapo's" escape from a prison in Mexico.

Johnny worked as an Independent Journalist/Producer with Univision AZ and Conecta AZ Radio in Phoenix, AZ between 2020 -2022

Johnny has also worked as a freelance writer, photographer, simultaneous interpreter, and kindergarten ESL teacher.


I’ve served as your NAHJ Director in Region 7 for 4 years. I first heard about NAHJ while a student at Florida International University in Miami.  Through the years I’ve seen many young, talented individuals benefit from NAHJ, including myself.

I know from experience that technology changes how we perform and advance our careers, but the basics of fact-checking, data-driven, ethical storytelling remain the same.  NAHJ is committed to these areas as it helps journalists navigate through each stage of their professional lives & reach new goals. 

NAHJ conventions, regional workshops, and virtual meetings are instrumental in growing your network and helping you stay connected to other professionals in the field.  I’m a strong believer in representation and mentoring. I’m here not just because of my talent & dedication; but also, thanks to others who paved the way, mentored me, and gave me an opportunity to succeed.

As a new board member in 2019, I can look back and say - the pandemic threw us a curveball.  However, NAHJ came back stronger than ever, thanks to the important work of local chapters, staff, your board, and your president.  The last 4 years have helped me learn from other board members and work on your behalf to grow this region.  There’s still important work to do in  region 7. I need  your support to continue that work -- as we help more Latinos become journalists and achieve their professional goals.


Region 8 Director Candidate:

Cristy Fajardo


Cristy Fajardo is an Emmy Award-winning journalist based in Los Angeles. She returned to KTTV-FOX11, after reporting for CBSLA/KCAL for nearly a decade. You can find her all over Southern California covering breaking news and investigative stories. One of her investigations led to the resignation of some top law enforcement officials at LAX, and another prompted the  state attorney general to intervene when a chemical plant was operating near a school without proper permits. She has also covered the U.S.-Mexico border, financial markets in Madrid Spain, political unrest in Lima, Peru and child soldiers in Northern Uganda 

She has a bachelor’s degree in poltical science from UC Berkeley and a master’s in journalism from
Northwestern University.


I am very honored to represent Region 8 on the board of NAHJ and would be grateful to serve for another two years. My region has the largest number of professional and student chapters in the nation. Each chapter is different, but all are home to a large number of Latinos. I want to continue to use my position to champion better representation in newsrooms and in coverage in my region.


If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the 2023 elections -- we want to hear from you! Please email [email protected].

The 2023 Election Committee

Nora Lopez, NAHJ National Past President
Julio-Cesar Chavez, NAHJ National Vice President, Broadcast 
Blanca Rios, Digital Producer and Newswriter at WLS-TV (Chicago, IL)
Jamie Stockwell, Executive Editor at Axios Local

Should you need technical support, please contact us at [email protected].

NAHJ & tech support contacts:
[email protected] or [email protected] - NAHJ membership & training services
[email protected] - #NAHJNextGen programs
[email protected] -  Media inquiries

NAHJ Member Services
#NAHJtraining | #MoreLatinosinNews