First of all, I apologize for the delay in blogging.

I have, however, been busy on several fronts.

I have created a group weblog on a site called near-time.net. I have invited all the mentors and mentees to join this site. This is the private space where mentee-writers will work with their mentor-editors in writing and revising their columns and articles.

Meanwhile, I am editing some of the first content. We have a column in two-parts by Juanita Santiago. She is a Columbia College graduate who was recently hired by CNN. Juanita has written about her two grandmothers, opposite in personality, who have taught her important life lessons.

Another Columbia College student is preparing a photo essay on portraits of women in Mexico.

I am trying to build up a few of weeks of content with the aim of launching in November.

Also, the journalism department at Columbia College has approved me to teach a course called Latina Voices in spring 2009. This is the course description and rationale:

“Students receive intense hands-on experience in writing and reporting skills as well as the opportunity to be published on the Latina Voices Web site. The online site will feature culture and commentary pieces about Hispanic women, one of the fastest growing populations in the United States.

The ethnic media is growing in the United States and with access to the Internet there is more potential than ever to create new media. There are few Latina publications out there and the ones that exist focus on celebrities and fashion. This site will feature opinion pieces and articles about various substantive topics and their impact on Hispanic women, including immigration, health care, politics, education, culture and religion. The site also will highlight various writing forms from column and opinion writing to feature articles as well as prose and creative nonfiction pieces. This course also will help us in retaining Hispanic students as well as help non-Hispanic students better understand the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States.”

There will be 15 seats open in the class. The plan is to help us build content and establish relationships with the students and writers outside of Columbia College who will contribute to the site even after the class ends.