Que Paso: NY Daily News Confuses Puerto Rican Flag with Cuba’s

What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing since it is one of the many Puerto Rican flags still found flying somewhere in New York’s five boroughs and will be on prominent display at the Puerto Rican Day Parade this weekend. Too bad one of the event sponsors, The New York Daily News, got it wrong in a full-page ad promoting the parade just days before Sunday’s celebration along Fifth Avenue (the 55th year and watched by millions, in fact).

To make a long story short, someone in the editorial chain of command should have realized the ad in Thursday’s paper featuring New York Giants’ Victor Cruz erroneously superimposed two Cuban flags instead of the Puerto Rican bandera above and behind the popular football star. Of course, this careless gaffe went viral when Latino Rebels stated on its Web site, “Talk about an oops. That is one big oops, considering that the parade is one of the city’s most popular ones and the Puerto Rican community has been a major force in the city’s culture for decades.” By Thursday afternoon, the Daily News issued an apology on Twitter, promising to correct the offense.

Understandably, mistakes can happen under deadline pressure and the flags may look similar to untrained eyes, blah, blah, blah. Yet, as a former newswoman and editor at a major news corporation, I shake my head in wonder. Is this what passes off as responsible journalism now (attention to detail and accuracy also apply to advertising and public relations). Interesting how this mistake happens on the heels of reports the Daily News has fired much of its Puerto Rican and Latino staff and shut down its Spanish-language weekly, “Hora Hispana,” an 8-year-old magazine with a 110,000-120,000 circulation.

Angelo Falcón, president of the National Institute for Latino Policy, offered a bit of a history lesson in an e-mail stemming from all the flag flap. He noted, “And for those of you who don’t know, the Puerto Rican flag was actually first designed in 1895 in New York City by a group of revolutionaries who were fighting for Puerto Rico’s independence from Spain. In solidarity with their compatriots in Cuba, they simply reversed the colors of the Cuban flag to reinforce the deep poetic feeling that, at the time, Cuba and Puerto Rico were the ‘wings of the same bird.’ Veteran journalist Maite Junco, one of the Puerto Ricans the Daily News let go last month, knew that. But to some, I guess all Caribbean flags look alike!”

Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth of the United States in 1952, the same year the flag became the island’s official emblem.

Recommended:

National Puerto Rican Day Parade: http://www.nationalpuertoricandayparade.org/

National Institute for Latino Policy: http://www.latinopolicy.org/

Latino Rebels: http://latinorebels.com/

Latino Rebels article on Puerto Rican flag error: http://www.latinorebels.com/2012/06/07/new-york-daily-news-apologizes-for-printing-cuban-flag-on-puerto-rican-day-parade-annoucement/

New York Times article on incident: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/07/celebrating-puerto-rican-day-parade-daily-news-unfurls-cuban-flag/

Huffington Post article on incident: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/07/new-york-daily-news-uses-_n_1578596.html

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