Whew chile this tea too damn hot and I could not sit on it anymore. For months I’ve been hearing community chatter and rumors about the new Miami Times Executive Editor, Emily Cardenas. The people are confused on the Miami Times’ choice to hire Cardenas, who now leads all editorial decisions for one of the largest and oldest Black-Owned newspapers in the county. And I can admit I was perplexed too because you would think a newspaper for Black people, who are historically underrepresented and disrespected in mainstream media, would have a Black person leading their editorial or news department.
But that’s not what’s going on at the Miami Times according to public opinion. Cardenas was brought on to lead the newspaper but her hiring has caused many in the community to question some of her editorial choices and wonder if she really cares about sharing unbiased Black stories.
The concern from many in the community, who won’t or can’t speak to me on the record which is why I’m writing this as a opinion column, said that when Cardenas worked for the Children’s Trust she had the power to give contracts to local businesses and organizations. She has been accused of taking business from Black owned firms and using it to do business with non-blacks. She is also accused of moving money from Haitian media for information about grants that was supposed to be translated into creole. The translation to creole was supposed to make sure the grant opportunities could reach all audiences that make up Miami-Dade’s melting pot.
She allegedly was let go from the Children’s Trust and walked out of the company because of racist business handlings. Now I’ve done some digging and I could not find anything that was published about her being let go or fired from the Children’s Trust, but I don’t know why she doesn’t work there anymore. The only thing I could find was this Miami New Times Op-Ed by Uncle Luke calling out the Children’s Trust back in 2015 for not investing enough money in majority Black underserved communities. You’ll see a quote from Cardenas in the column defending the Trust. However, I’ve heard these same rumors about the Trust before I read that article by Uncle Luke so to me where there’s smoke there’s fire. And let’s not act like large organizations run by Whites (and in Miami-Dade that extends to White Hispanics) have not historically left the Black community out of the economic opportunities via contracts and partnerships that they are easily willing to do with other groups.
So now this non-Black woman with a problematic past with the Black community is now supposed to be fair in her coverage of the Black community? That’s the question the community wants answered. Here’s the thing, because you’re non-Black does not mean you cannot fairly cover the Black community. I’ve worked with white and Hispanic reporters who were great and did great journalistic work covering Black communities. But it feels tone def to hire a woman who is known to not want to do business with the Black community and expect your audience to think her coverage of the Black community will be fair.
I’ve even heard people in the community say that getting coverage from the Miami Times now that isn’t controversial is hard because Cardenas and her team, which we also know is all non-Black except for one reporter, only seem to report on stories that are filled with drama and are sensational. I’m not sure if you all have been paying attention to their coverage of the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT), but their seemingly countless stories feel like they have a vendetta against the organization and it’s new leader, Bill Diggs. Diggs, who by the way is a Black man who has a long resume of helping to uplift Miami-Dade’s communities and he has hired young Black people for MDEAT positions since he’s joined the organization. And just so yall know, MDEAT is Miami-Dade County’s only agency that was created to improve the economic development of Black Miami-Dade county residents. And honestly from my opinion of being a journalist in the South Florida market since 2011 and as someone born and raised in Miami-Dade county, I have not seen this much visibility and effort from MDEAT before Diggs became it’s leader. They’ve been working to help Black-Owned businesses become sustainable, increase Black homeownership, and increase services for at-risk Black youth. It feels weirdly personal that Cardenas is making her reporters do all these stories on MDEAT when they are one of the few organizations in the county that actually want Black people to win. The coverage to me in my opinion feels lopsided because MDEAT is not presented in the articles as getting a chance to explain or respond to the accusations made a against them. Also people featured in articles have said they were misquoted in Miami Times articles about MDEAT. MDEAT’s Executive Director, Bill Diggs, has addressed the accusations written in the Miami Times on MIA Media Group’s “Legacy Leaders” show. I hope one day I’ll him on Hy-Lo News’ podcast as well to share his view on what’s actually happening with this Cardenas and Miami Times witch hunt.
Cardenas I don’t know you and I have never met you, but your reputation for how you view Black people precedes you. I’m not saying you’re the Grand Wizard of the Klan, but from what the people are saying about you there may be some implicit racial bias that you need to check within yourself.
And to the Miami Times leadership team, I don’t think when Henry E. Sigismund Reeves started this newspaper in 1923 to elevate, uplift and fairly share news about and for Miami-Dade’s Black community, he envisioned the day when a non-Black woman with an alleged past of not doing business with Black businesses would be running his paper. I have looked up to the Miami Times and what they have built as a family as I embark on building my own media empire. I respect them for what they’ve done to transform local Black-owned media and I still do. It’s no small feat to be in business for 100 years and especially as a Black business. They deserve their flowers all day for that. However, please believe as for me and my Hy-Lo News house we will always be unapologetically Black and Black run. If yall ever see my descendants having a non-Black person running my sh*t and not doing right by the community then I ask you now to NOT SUPPORT that version of Hy-Lo News and let them know that was never my vision for this company. The Black community deserves to have local Black-owned media they can trust and turn to for stories about their experiences and news that informs them. The Black community should never have to question if their local Black-owned newspaper still cares about them. That’s what people are saying now about the Miami Times under Emily Cardenas editorial leadership. I hope the Black community doesn’t have to keep questioning the Miami Times for long.
*If anyone in the community is willing to speak on the record about their past working relationship with Emily Cardenas, I welcome you to some speak with me for future coverage.*
This op-ed was written by Hy-Lo News Publisher, Janey Tate, and these are her personal views. To submit your own op-ed to Hy-Lo News email us at email@example.com.