Elvia Díaz, an award-winning journalist who joined The Arizona Republic’s editorial board in 2016, was promoted to opinion director and board chair, the first Latina to serve as editor since the newspaper’s inception 132 years ago. years.
As director, Díaz will edit The Republic’s Viewpoints section, opinion columnists and guest writers, set the board’s agenda and, working with the editor and board, shape the voice institutional of The Republic.
She will serve as a liaison with readers and community groups as well as civic, cultural and elected leaders as we identify issues requiring collaborative solutions. It will promote open dialogue and give voice to the voiceless. If necessary, it will call for change and demand accountability.
A former reporter for the Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico and the Statesman Journal in Oregon, Díaz joined The Republic in 1999, working as a reporter and editor on the Metro and Politics desks. She edited The Republic’s Spanish-language publication, La Voz, before stepping down two years ago to focus on column writing.
“I fell in love with journalism when I became a Spanish anchor for KBBF, a public radio station in Northern California,” she said. “I haven’t stopped since.”
Its columns are both fearless and nimble, taking the right for political stunts on the border and the left to resist funding for police in neighborhoods desperate for safe streets. She has a clear vision of the difficult road ahead.
“We are facing turbulent political times where America’s future hangs in the balance. This is not a cliché. This is the reality,” she said. “We must face this reality head-on without reservation.”
Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Diaz immigrated to the United States at the age of 16 and briefly worked in the farm fields of Northern California alongside her parents and older brothers. She received a bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
In 2018, Diaz received Valle del Sol’s “Special Recognition Award” for his community service and leadership. A year later, the Arizona Newspapers Association awarded him a silver key for a career of significant contributions to journalism in Arizona.
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She begins this new role having already proven that she can extend reach to underserved communities while promoting civil discourse across Arizona, especially debate that opens space for new ideas.
His promotion marks a significant transition within The Republic and a new beginning for his predecessor, Phil Boas, who successfully led the board through a period of intense political and cultural division.
Boas isn’t going far: he remains on the board and will launch a regular column to publish on the pages he has edited for two decades, the last 10 as a director.
“Arizona blesses us with its natural beauty and human warmth,” he said. “What a privilege it has been to know so many people in our state. Now it’s off to chronicle and tell the stories of the state we love. I feel doubly blessed.
An unabashed but pragmatic conservative, Boas led the editorial board’s defense of Arizona’s immigrant populations following the so-called “show my papers” law, helping to write a front-page op-ed calling on Arizona leaders to account for racist politics.
As Facebook and Twitter increased hate speech and pundits said America’s middle couldn’t hold, Boas pushed the middle, a shift that angered conservatives as often as it angered liberals.
Once the domain of kingmaker and conservative editor Eugene C. Pulliam, who died in 1975, The Republic’s opinion pages are now more of a place to examine a range of ideas in the search for consensus solutions.
It’s a place where columnist Robert Robb’s fiscal analysis can lead to breakthroughs as the Arizona Legislature strives to fully fund education, balance the budget and plan for future recessions. It’s a place where columnist Joanna Allhands can push the governor to reconsider Arizona’s drought contingency plans.
Boas joined The Republic in 1999 from the Mesa Tribune, where he was a reporter and editor. He previously worked for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Ontario (Calif.) Daily Report. He succeeded Ken Western as editorial page editor in 2012 and blazed a path from centrist to conflict with the paper’s roots as The Arizona Republican, founded by partisans on May 19, 1890. .
In 2016, he oversaw the breakup of the Republic with its 126-year history by endorsing a Democrat for president for the first time. Death threats to the board followed, but Boas remained committed to refining the paper’s positions on public policy and striving to unite all Arizonans.
He collaborated with the Arizona Community Foundation and the Morrison Institute to help create the New Arizona Prize, encouraging teams of people to help solve some of Arizona’s toughest problems.
For several years, as Boas reviewed editorials on immigration, tax policy, and education spending, Díaz provided an important perspective. He will do the same for her.
She inherited a board of directors where conservatives, liberals and centrists rub shoulders, including Greg Moore, Abe Kwok, Robb and Allhands. Metro opinion columnists Laurie Roberts and EJ Montini also report to Díaz, but do not serve on the board.
As we head into the 2022 midterms, no group of opinion journalists in the world is more deeply informed about the issues that matter to Arizonans.
Greg Burton is editor of The Arizona Republic.