This month classes started at Columbia College Chicago where I am a member of the journalism faculty. This week I will meet with a group of Latina journalism students here to invite them to join the Latina Voices project. They are all members of a student club called the Hispanic Journalists of Columbia, and I am the co-advisor of that club. We started the club two years ago, and the students have won college awards for a television piece they produced on immigration and for student spirit. These young women are energetic and motivated, and I am excited to bring them into the project.
I also am reaching out Latina college students across the country and have spoken with other Latina journalism professors in Texas and New York to recruit some of their students. Most of our writers will be Chicago-based but the long-term goal is to build a national network.
We also have started building a content management system and will use wordpress.org. I have hired a Latino student, Carlos Ardila, who is from Colombia (the country) and attends Columbia College, to help me build the site. We also are receiving technical assistance from a new journalism faculty member at Columbia College, Daniel Sinker.
This month I also attended the Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) in New Hampshire and I spoke about the Latina Voices project on a panel. This also was an opportunity to recruit a few new mentors as well as promote the upcoming Web site. I also attended panels and heard from women who are working in new media, including bloggers from feministing.com, and journalists working at politico.com and propublica.org. It was inspiring to hear how women are breaking new ground in this constantly changing field of journalism.
I also am in the process of collecting all the bios of the mentors. A few of those who have agreed to be mentors on the project are: Ofelia Casillas and Margaret Ramirez, both with the Chicago Tribune, Judie Garcia of WGN-TV in Chicago, Elaine Rivera of WNYC Radio in New York, and Daniela Velasquez of TBO.com in Tampa.