My website will highlight the voices of Latina women and primarily focus on commentary and culture. One of the first things I will do is establish a network of comadres, a term in Spanish used to describe a godmother, or a friend as close as a sister. The comadres will be professional Latina journalists who are interested in mentoring Latina journalism students. I will ask my comadres to occasionally contribute to the website but mostly I will ask them to mentor a college student who is studying journalism. The goal is for these students to do professional-quality work and publish on the website. Then I will ask each of the college students to mentor a high school student, and they also will publish on the website. The idea is to build up the community of Latina writers with the experienced helping the youth. Our base is to start with students at Columbia College Chicago, where I am a full-time faculty member, but the goal is to build up a national network.
The majority of voices that we see in newspaper opinion pages or on blogs today are male and among the women are few are women of color. Even experienced Latina journalists rarely get a chance to write columns or editorials. I am fortunate to be able to do so at the Chicago Sun-Times.
The website will feature a commentary/opinion section, and we will have a section for profiles of diverse Latina women from the attorney to the factory worker, a weekly Sunday news or feature story, a section for non-fiction essays, and a section for photo, video and audio submissions. The website also will feature a monthly Latino book club as well as a mercado, or marketplace, where we will sell crafts made by Latina artists and artisans.
In addition to nurturing Latina writers, the goal is to build up a community of Latina readers and reach out to all those interested in stories by or about Latina women. We will be interactive and allow our readers to post comments as well as accept submissions from a variety of Latina voices. I’m so thrilled to embark on this project because I believe this site will fill a void in the new media landscape.