Juan González (born 1947) is an American author, investigative journalist, former contributor to the New York Daily News and current co-host of Democracy Now! alongside Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh.
News and Controversy
Ground Zero contamination
One month after the September 11, 2001 attacks, González reported in the New York Daily News on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests which showed dangerously high levels of contamination around Ground Zero. In response, then-EPA director Christie Whitman wrote an op-ed piece in same publication accusing González of alarmism, saying "Those of us in government and the media share an obligation to provide members of the public, in a responsible and calm manner..." Whitman's piece and additional hostility from the Rudolph W. Giuliani administration made it difficult for his stories to get published prominently. As González described, "Some of the editors started quashing my columns... They killed two of them and relegated the others to the back pages."
After five years, González was exonerated, as The New York Daily News took up reporting on the adverse effects of these contaminants on 911 first responders. In 2007, the publication received a Pulitzer Prize for related reporting, but noticeably left González off of the award and did not give him any credit in the speeches, which The Village Voice dubbed a "dishonorable non-mention."
New York CityTime scandal
Throughout the year of 2010, González investigated a computerized New York City timekeeping system called CityTime, which had "ballooned to more than 10 times its original price tag." González also looked into CityTime consultants getting overpaid by NYC taxpayers for a system that did not work as advertised. He pointed out that defense contractor Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) had failed to implement CityTime as promised and that Michael Bloomberg had managed the situation irresponsibly, saying "Last fall, City Hall laid off 510 public school aides to save $12 million. At the same time, the mayor's aides were adding more than $24 million to the operating budget of the office of payroll administration just to help pay for CityTime's consultants. How can anyone justify firing $18,000-a-year school aides while hiring half-a-million-dollar computer geeks who can't even deliver a good product?"
After federal prosecutors began investigating the "fraud, waste and money laundering by private contractors", González accused Bloomberg for turning a blind eye throughout the entire process and wondered "who else in his administration failed to mind the store". González's series on this scandal won the 2010 George Polk Award.
Education and Career
González attended Columbia College, participating in the Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960's, including occupying buildings in protestation of Columbia's contributions to weapons research during the time of the Vietnam War. González was arrested several times as a result of these protests and spent thirty days in jail.
In 1969, González helped found the New York City Young Lords, an community activism organization which sought "to end oppression in the broadest possible sense of the word, end the oppression of the... Puerto Rican people here in the United States and in Puerto Rico and... to achieve a social revolution in the United States that would make life better for, not only for us, but for everyone else in the country and around the world." Inspired by the Black Panthers, the Puerto Rican Young Lords participated in many community-focused "direct-action gambits", including handing out lead testing kits to children, briefly transforming a church into a local free breakfast program, and commandeering a hospital wing to help test community members for anemia, TB and lead poisoning and give drug addicts access to treatment. González described the New York Young Lords' actions as "militant and often theatrical protests against inadequate city services... aimed at spurring reforms by local officials."
González is a founding member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and served as the organization's president between 2002 and 2004. According to González, NAHJ was originally founded to "advocate for greater employment opportunities for Latinos in the American media, as well as to improve the coverage of Latinos by the mass media." González's winning platform in 2002 focused on taking a more aggressive stance against the corporate consolidation of the media, which he worried had an adverse effect on American democracy and had led to the decline of diverse viewpoints. In 2008, González was inducted into the NAHJ Hall of Fame.
After leaving New York Daily News, González began working as a professor at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information. In 2018, Rutgers appointed him to the Richard D. Heffner Professorship in Communications and Public Policy.
- Josmar Trujillo, No, Juan Gonzalez, Bill de Blasio Isn’t Ending ‘The Tale Of Two Cities’, HuffPost, September 11, 2017, accessed September 3, 2019.
- Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities(2017, The New Press) ISBN 1620972093
- News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media(2011, Verso) ISBN 1844676870
- Fallout: The Environmental Consequences of the World Trade Center Collapse(2002, The New Press) ISBN 1565847547
- Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America(2000, Viking Adult) ISBN 0670867209
- Roll Down Your Window: Stories from a Forgotten America(1996, Verso) ISBN 0860916936
- George Polk Award, commentary, "for columns on a failed $700 million overhaul of New York City’s electronic payroll system and the mayor’s failure to pick up on persistent signs of mismanagement."
- George Polk Award, commentary, "for columns on New York's poor and disenfranchised" 
Contact and Social Media
Democracy Now! Contact Form
Democracy Now! phone: 212-431-9090
Juan González's Twitter: @juangon68
- Amy Goodman
- Democracy Now!
- Michael Bloomberg
- Nermeen Shaikh
- Science Applications International Corporation
- September 11, 2001
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Puerto Rico Herald Puerto Rico Profile: Juan Gonzalez, "Puerto Rico Herald", accessed August 23, 2019.
- Keach Hagey, Dishonorable Non-Mention: Juan Gonzalez and the Daily News’ 9/11 Pulitzer, Village Voice, April 17, 2007, accessed September 3, 2019.
- Paul Hond, Street-Beat Confidential, Columbia Magazine, Summer 2013 issue, accessed September 3, 2019.
- Democracy Now!, Dishonorable Non-Mention: Why Was Juan Gonzalez Left Out of NY Daily News Pulitzer for 9/11 Health Effects?, Democracy Now!, May 1, 2007, accessed September 3, 2019.
- Juan González, "New City Controller John Liu says big bucks stop here for wasteful, hi-tech payroll system CityTime", New York Daily News, February 11, 2010, accessed December 2, 2019.
- Juan González, "'Consultants' getting $722M from city for doomed CityTime computer project", New York Daily News, March 25, 2010, accessed December 2, 2019.
- Juan González, "Gonzalez: CityTime project scandal finally begins to unravel", New York Daily News, December 16, 2010, accessed December 2, 2019.
- Democracy Now!, "Juan Gonzalez Wins 2010 George Polk Award For Exposing $80 Million Bloomberg Administration Scandal", Democracy Now!, February 22, 2011, accessed December 2, 2019.
- Lillian Jiménez, Interview with Juan Gonzalez: His road to the Young Lords, Centro, May 2005, accessed August 23, 2019.
- Juan González, Celebrating the Young Lords—Amid Revolution in Puerto Rico, Nation, July 29, 2019, accessed September 3, 2019.
- Juan González, Gonzalez: After 29 years of digging for the truth, I say adios to my readers, New York Daily News, April 30, 2016, accessed August 23, 2019.
- Democracy Now! Juan González Retires from New York Daily News, Praised for His “Relentless Assault on Injustice”, Democracy Now!, March 30, 2016, accessed August 23, 2019.
- Democracy Now!, Juan Gonzalez Is Elected President–of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, That Is, Democracy Now!, June 20, 2002, accessed September 3, 2019.
- American Program Bureau, Juan Gonzalez, organizational website, accessed September 3, 2019.
- Juan González, Juan Gonzalez Hall of Fame Speech, NAHJclips YouTube Channel, August 15, 2008, accessed September 3, 2019.
- Rutgers Juan D. González, university website, accessed August 23, 2019.
- Rutgers Today Rutgers Appoints Juan González to the Richard D. Heffner Professorship in Communications and Public Policy, "Rutgers Today", April 6, 2018, accessed August 23, 2019.
- Democracy Now!, About Democracy Now!, organizational website, accessed August 23, 2019.
- Long Island University 2010 George Polk Award Winners organizational website, accessed August 23, 2019.
- Long Island University, 1998 George Polk Award Winners university website, accessed August 23, 2019.