Skip to main content

Kristina Ruiz Healy Fired for Plagiarism at the SAEN: Part 1

I never liked her columns or commentaries that had nothing to do with me. And now I understand why.

Turns out that a golden chica, Kristina Ruiz Healy, recently of Conexion and Texas Public Radio, was fired this November 4th for plagiarism. Let's be clear - it was "unpublished" – a smart editor discovered that she'd plagiarized three different web sources on a submitted story.

The word was marigold. Flowers for the dead.

The article I found that she published last was the Naco piece in the September 29 – October 5, 2000, issue for a total of 28 essays she published in Conexion this year (but I count worse than I write, so don’t quote me).

Why does the plagiarism matter? Because Rivard made a national podium for himself when the SAEN’s Macarena Hernandez, now a columnist of the Dallas Morning News, was plagiarized by the New York Times – you remember Jayson Blair, don’t you?

At the time of her firing, Kristina was free-lancing for Conexion and working 20 hours per week as an “intern,” say executives at the SAEN. She was going to be sent to a boot camp program at Vanderbilt – a prelude to big things, I was told.

So why the silence?

Texas Public Radio, the local public radio affiliate, my sources tell me, was informed, and Ruiz Healy resigned as a commentator before she could be terminated. Her photo, however, along with her “View from Two Countries,” introduction is still on their website.

I’ve done a lot of free-lancing myself, and it’s brutal. Every editor wants original work, and you work very hard for frijoles. It’s not for the weak. TPR’s sources describe Ruiz Healy as “lazy,” and suggest that the only reason she was a commentator there was due to her very influential connections. She’s not the typical little brown girl who crossed the Rio Grande. Her father is a physician, her uncle is Juan Ruiz Healy, a columnist with the very conservative Mexican newspaper Excelsior, and her aunt, Patricia, a former Mexican beauty queen, is on the board of the San Antonio Museum of Art. This couple owns two homes in Olmos Park: one for themselves, and one “just for their art collection,” says John Phillip Santos.

Kristina’s other uncle, Eduardo Ruiz Healy, is a radio journalist in Mexico with leftist views, I’m told.

My SAEN sources say that Rivard pushed for a public disclosure of the matter, but that he acquiesced to the Conexion management’s decision. She’s not an employee, the Conexion sources say. It's not like fulltime employees haven't been outed, I was reminded. Thelma Garza. Albert Flores. This is different. “It was caught before it happened.”

If you only think about committing murder, you didn’t commit it. So it's not a crime, me dijo un source.

“It breaks my heart,” one senior-level executive said, explaining that no, her wealthy and right-wing connections had nothing to do with her status at the SAEN. “I thought she had talent…Kristina has a master’s, she has been up and down in academia, she understood the concept [of plagiarism].”

“We wanted to make something big out of her.”

But, I wonder. Since when isn’t Rivard the final authority at the San Antonio Express-News? He’s known for his authoritarian ways, and I was the personal recipient of his wrath years ago, causing a very public scene when I dared to confront him about the Philip True story – (watch for Debbie Nathan’s upcoming book review in the Texas Observer come early January).

“The idea that the editors would overrule [Rivard’s opinion] is preposterous,” other journalists say. He’s responsible, he has to make the decision, just like the time of Phillip True, they argue.

Pero wait. It couldn’t be - because of Rivard’s weakness for certain Latinas at the office, could it? Something that other high-level sources have bemoaned and accepted as a given. (more on this telenovela in a future blog)

So why the hush-hush? Not even the staff knows, though maybe they’re getting told now that I’m writing this and Rivard hasn’t called me back. Neither has Kristina.

Do we need to know? Hell yes. I called Rosemary Cat├ícolos, the Executive Director of GeminiInk, the well-regarded writer’s non-profit collaborative in the city, where Kristina led a writer’s workshop right before her termination. Did you know?, I asked Rosemary.

“No.” She hadn’t been told.

Maria Anglin, another Latina columnist, is now running a weekly column in Conexion. “The Latina voice has not been silenced,” my sources say. She’s a more liberal voice, no entiendes. Ummm, if you say so. I remember a column Maria wrote recently supporting the death penalty for Tookie, the former Crip’s founder in California and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who was executed on December 12th in California.

If Kristina was so hot, then where’s her audience? Texas Public Radio sources tell me that no one has complained about not hearing her anymore – that their audience has actually increased since her departure. The SAEN peeps told me that no reader has called missing her stories.

“You’re the first one.”

Kristina, says another friend, “was just another fiction that Latinas in this city have a voice.”

I think Kristina’s conflicted, compromised, twilight zone of a voz was just what the newspaper wanted. Don’t say anything that matters. Or say only what the powerful can tolerate.

http://www.texasobserver.org/showArticle.asp?ArticleID=2121

Well, plagiarize this. Por favor.

Comments

Barbara Renaud Gonzalez has a spicy story, but... but... her purported use of the English language is attrocious.

Roberto Salinas Price

Popular posts from this blog

Bloody Towels & Jerry Joe Pittman, Asst. Police Chief of San Antonio

Assistant Chief Jerry Pittman has called the San Antonio Observer, San Antonio's leading Black newspaper, to say that he's human, that he's made a mistake. But I suspect he's thinking twice about retiring, because he needs another year to get his full pension.


He’s scary.When I first saw Asst. Chief Jerry Pittman en persona, San Antonio’s highest-ranking black cop, and certainly most-controversial, my gut talked to me.I was at Pittman’s press conference downtown, orchestrated by the most expensive public relations firm in town, Connolly & Company, on March 11, 05, where he announced his exoneration from rape allegations brought by his step-niece, a 39 year-old working-class, black, woman. Chief Pittman, a 6’5” blue-black brother, with bullets instead of eyes, would’ve shot me if he could that day because of my questions, while the rest of the media kissed his grits.Look, I’m a middle-aged woman who trusts her intuition about men, and I know what I feel.But - I’m a…

A battered woman from San Antonio loses her reporting job

Gina Galaviz, 43, KSAT-TV's I-love-the-police reporter, "has been fired" from the television station , according to the San Antonio Express-News, and I'm quoting verbatim here from Jeanne Jakle's byline, "after she was charged with assault following a fight with her boyfriend," Ronald Aguillen, 46.

Ok, so we in San Antonio know about the time in 2004 when Gina filed charges against another boyfriend, the former SWAT cop, who was a councilman at-the-time, Ron Segovia .
There were allegations of an apple being thrown at her nalgas, which humiliated her, and that he also pointed a gun at her. It was not the first time, she told me.

Tough-guy Segovia got off - I think he had three attorneys representing him if I remember correctly, and in this city, like too many, the cops are in bed with the grand jury - they need and depend on each other, and this grand jury decided there "wasn't enough evidence to pursue a criminal case against him."

Segovia wa…

When a Tejano star is a rapist

Que bueno que Tejano star Joe Lopez, 56, the former lead singer of Grupo Mazz, and now lead singer of the band Joe Lopez y La Nueva Imagen Mazz, got convicted and sentenced to twenty years for raping his then-13 year-old niece.

I know there are men out there - and some women - who will say that this young girl deserved it, that she must have seduced him, that she wanted money, that she's pura slut, etc. etc. etc.

Bullshit. No woman deserves getting raped, I know so many who have. One of four women is raped - at some time in our lives.

We get raped by our fathers, brothers, cousins. On a first date in high school, or college. Or by a complete stranger walking home from work or school.

And yes, it almost happened to me in college. I fought my date off, a guy I'd been seeing for about a month and trusted.

Understand something. A woman's desire is healthy and vital. It is not an invitation to be raped, to be touched in any way without her permission. There are women who…