Women HERStory: The Pioneering Latina Journalists Who Shaped Newsrooms
Bold and unconventional, the Latin journalists you know and grew up with are not just the voice of a nation but, more importantly, ours. We entrust them to be our eyes and ears on the zeitgeist so that we can understand things from a more inclusive and less mainstream point of view.
Whether they bring their stories to you in print, on the radio or on a screen, the voices of Latino journalists are something to be celebrated not only for what they represent, but also for the obstacles they have had to overcome to to report their particular point of view on the news.
How best to describe the job of a Latin journalist? She is part activist, part politician, part cop and part lawyer, with a creative and communicative side. She must be all of these things to survive in predominantly white, conservative, male-dominated newsrooms to have her voice heard and respected.
There are so many trailblazers, but here are some of the few you may have heard of.
At #InternationalWomensDayI am proud to lead an agency whose workforce is 58% female! #NYWomenLead – and all @NYSDCJS the staff is committed to a fair and just criminal justice system for all New Yorkers.
—Rossana Rosado (@rorosado) March 8, 2022
For those of us who grew up in Spanish-speaking homes with families who bought New York El Diario la Prensait was by Rossana Rosado editorial vision that attracted them. Rosado began her career at the newspaper as a journalist in the early 1980s and became the first woman to serve as editor and publisher of the second largest Spanish-language newspaper in the country.
Maria Elena Salinas
If your family listened to Univision for their news, you rooted for Maria Elena Salinas, the journalist who was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame during her 30 years at Noticiero Univision’s news desk and as the longest-serving Spanish-language female news anchor in the United States.
A little after, Ilia Calderon would become the first Afro-Latina to anchor a major news bureau in the United States when she joined Noticiero Univision in 2017.
Talk to any Latina reporter about her career, and she’ll tell you how much overtime she’s been working, how many stereotypical Hispanic comments and assignments she’s had to put up with, how many quality stories she’s pitched and seen rejected, only to toss and toss again, until someone finally gives him the time of day.
Sometimes there are trailblazing journalists like the award-winning journalist and entrepreneur Maria Hinojosa who decide that if she couldn’t do the stories she wanted to do, then she would go and create her own news platform. First, Hinojosa began by launching Latino USA in 1992, a pioneer in public radio programming for Latinx stories, followed by the independent nonprofit Futuro Media Group this which she founded in 2010, for which she once told the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University that she created “out of frustration.”
Hinojosa recount that while she was still reporting at CNN and NPR and the Data from the 2000 US Census showed that the Latin American population in the United States – not counting migrants – had grown by 43%, she wondered, “What public are we leaving there?” Hinojosa recognized the need for another type of informational objective, an objective that give a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience. And she went ahead and created it.
— Princesa de Asturias Foundation (@fpa) May 3, 2018
If there is no equality in writing, there can be no egalitarian society. And Latino journalists in the United States and the Americas know this, often risking their personal lives, reputations and safety to expose what is wrong with the world today. They had to work twice as hard to climb the newsroom hierarchies to get to where they are today.
This is especially true in the notoriously elite rooms of publications like the new yorker and the New York Review, where the investigative journalist and essayist Alma Guillermoprieto has written regularly on Latin America since 1989. She began her career as a journalist in Nicaragua, covering the national uprising against the dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza, and became South America bureau chief for Newsweek. She wrote once“I’ve spent a good part of the last 25 years talking to rapists, thieves, killers and drug dealers in the world I come from, trying to figure it out.”
Other Latino journalists with a pen in their hands
Incredible: Los #latinos Componen UN 18 por ciento de la población de EEUU, pero solo ocupan 1 por ciento de los escaños electos al nivel local y federal. By @gabilmn of the @BrennanCenter https://t.co/10XowQ1azk
— Mireya Navarro (@Mireyawrites) November 4, 2021
At a time when there are still not enough jobs and equal promotion for women of color in the newsroom, these journalism crusaders continue to stick to a career path of excitement and meaning that will continue to change the way people tell their stories from a Latin point of view. to see. This has been true in our country’s most respected English-language newspapers, with national, political and cultural reporting by pioneering journalists such as Mireya Navarro at The New York Times, Mirta Ojito to Miami Herald, and Mary Arana to Washington Post. They paved the way for today’s new generation of bold writers in these journals, such as Marcela Valdes and Michelle Garcia. From their female and bicultural perspective, they tell stories they want to read and from angles that Latino readers can be comfortable with.
Take, for example, a topic about how Latinas are portrayed in Hollywood. Most of us were aware that the late, great actress Lupe Ontiveros played the role of the maid in way too many movies. Thanks to Navarre, in his 2002 New York Times item, “Try to go beyond the role of the maid; Hispanic actors are considered underrepresented except for one part,” she details the roles Ontiveros was stuck playing (which included over 150 maid roles), so non-Latino readers are also aware. In Navarro’s article, Ontiveros states, “‘It’s their ongoing view of who we are’…'[The media doesn’t] know that we are truly part of this country and that we are every part of this country.
Ontiveros could very well have spoken of the newsrooms of our country, moreover, where not so long ago the only Latinas seen in these offices were the maids before some of the pioneers mentioned above, among the thousands out there, are claiming their right to the media. From by Garcia perspective, after winning the Mosaic American Journalism Awards 2021 and after decades of writing about all the complicated and magical nuances of the United States-Mexico border, “We are at a critical moment when our nation faces its fundamental injustices, and I believe that journalism can provide us with opportunities for better understand each other and dismantle the walls that have separated us for centuries.
Here’s to all the trails they’ve blazed and new ones to come. At BeLatina, thank you for continuing to inspire us with your passionate work.