This website is an initiative of J-Lab.

Who's Blogging

 
Teresa Puente

TERESA PUENTE has been a member of the full-time journalism faculty at Columbia College Chicago since the fall of 2006, and previously taught journalism and communications at a university in Guadalajara, Mexico.

You can e-mail her at tpuente@colum.edu

Click for full bio.

Visit Latina Voices

Project Blog: Latina Voices

This new Web site will offer daily news and commentary by and for Latina women, covering such topics as immigration, health care, politics, education and culture. Project leader Teresa Puente, a journalism professor at Columbia College Chicago, said, “Much of what is out there for Latinas is basically fluff. Personally, I don’t care how J. Lo has decorated her nursery. Latina women want information that is deeper than that.” Follow her progress here. Visit their website.

Latina Voices’ New Project

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Three years after being named a New Media Women Entrepreneur project, Latina Voices continues to explore current topics of import to the Latina community. Recently, it focused on undocumented women’s struggles with mental health issues.

Teresa Puente edited and directed the project, and Angelica Jimenez and Jenny Patino, two Columbia College grad students, served as the reporters. Stories were titled “The Emotional Toll of Being Undocumented,” Latinas Face Barriers to Mental Health Treatment,” “Why Latina Teens are at Risk for Suicide Attempts,” and “Latina Teens Face Suicide Risk.

The story, “Ignored mental health issues lead to suicide attempts among Latinas,” was cross-published in the Extra bilingual newspaper in Chicago.  The project was funded with a $2,000 grant from the Chicago Community Trust's Local Reporting Awards given to Mujeres Latinas en Accion and Latina-Voices.com.

In addition to overseeing new website content, Puente recently proposed a panel for UNITY Journalists of Color titled “Women Bridging the Digital Divide” that would take place next year. If the idea is accepted by UNITY, she plans to discuss the entrepreneurial work that women are doing online.

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 12/13 at 05:35 PM

Regular Contributions

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Latina Voices enjoys having several regular contributors and updates the site a few times a week. Founder Teresa Puente says they are still refining their business plan and are considering different ways to raise funds such as grants and ad sales.

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 06/10 at 07:50 AM

Latina Voices Final Report

Friday, October 16, 2009

Background

Latina Voices launched in November 2008.

In less than a year we have published more than 80 columns, essays and stories by or about Latina women.

Latina Voices has had 35 contributors - mostly Latinas. Many of them have been college students but we also have published teachers, freelance writers and journalists in both English and Spanish.

Also, there are a few contributors who are not Latina including African-American and white women and a Latino man.

The focus of the site is to tell stories about Latinas but they don’t all have to be written by Latina women.

Much of the content has been generated by writers in Chicago, where I am based. But I also have published writers in California, Florida, Missouri, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

On average we have had around 1,000 page views per month.

Highlights

On the site I have featured columns and stories about prominent Latinas from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to noted authors Sandra Cisneros and Josefina Lopez.

Our freelance writers have covered issues like the H1N1 flu virus, teenage pregnancy and cervical cancer rates among Latinas.

The site also has given voice to stories about ordinary Latina women doing interesting things. This includes a story about the Cervantes sisters in Chicago who are in a blues band and a Latina who is a funeral home director.

Latina Voices also has a video archive featuring interviews with ordinary Latina women from a waitress at a Mexican restaurant to undocumented Latina students who could become legal if Congress passed the Dream Act.

These are just a few examples of the kind of work published on the site.

Challenges/Solutions

One of the biggest challenges is generating traffic. But we have just entered into a partnership with Latina Lounge, which is highlighting content from Latina Voices on their site. http://www.latinalounge.com/

This is an initiative of Latina magazine and they will also place ads on our site, which will lead to a revenue stream. I don’t know how much that will lead to but it is a start.

I also cross post some Latina Voices content on a blog I started called Chicanísima, which is on Chicago Now, part of the Chicago Tribune Co. This also helps increase traffic.

I also have cross-posted with Latina Voices on Exploring Race a forum by columnist Dawn Turner at the Chicago Tribune. And I have been interviewed by the Associated Press, which mentioned Latina Voices in their coverage, which was circulated nationally and internationally.

Goals

I would like to build up the mentoring aspect of the program and to reach even younger writers. I am making plans with a teacher to adopt some Latina student writers from a middle school in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

I also would like to empower more women who are not journalists or writers to tell their stories for the site. I have attended a conference organized by the National Hispana Leadership Institute, which held a one-day seminar in Chicago, to recruit women to write for the site. I want to expand the base of writers from the ground up.

I also am helping organize a multimedia training for Hispanic journalists in November in Chicago and hope to recruit some of the attendees to write or make videos for Latina Voices.

In my original proposal, I also outlined a business plan to sell T-shirts and other merchandise made by Latina women or artists on the site as a way to generate revenue. That is something I hope to launch in 2010.

Conclusion

Latina Voices definitely fills a niche. The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court was a sign that wise Latina Voices need to be heard.

I hope that in the next year we can continue to grow the site, develop a business plan and expand the base of writers to include younger writers and women who aren’t writers but have something to say. I want to expand the Latina Voices community and build our traffic.

Thank you to J-Lab and the McCormick Foundation for awarding me the New Media Women Entrepreneurs grant. I hope Latina Voices will continue to grow and thrive and with your support we were able to get it off the ground.

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 10/16 at 10:10 AM

Thriving

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Latina Voices is thriving. We have published two recent posts on Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina nominated to the Supreme Court. This is a huge story for Latina women around the country. One of the columns is written by a young Latina writer in Puerto Rico.

Also, I was invited to start a new blog - Chicanísima - on a new blogger site created by the Chicago Tribune company. On this blog I feature select content from Latina Voices writers. Visit http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicanisima/.

I also am entering into an agreement with the Latina Lounge, an aggregator of Latina blogs and Web sites started by Latina magazine (http://www.latina.com/). They will run ads on Latina Voices and will take select content from Latina Voices and run it on the Latina Lounge.

Both of these opportunities with larger media companies are a way for our writers to reach a larger audience. I am looking forward to these new collaborations.

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 06/03 at 10:09 AM

Reaching Out

Monday, March 09, 2009

I have been busy posting columns, essays and stories at Latina Voices.

I am publishing four to five new posts a week. Some of the recent highlights include a column by the Guatemalan-American writer Stella Nichols called “The Forgotten Border.” It looks at how the Mexican government treats immigrants from Central America. Also, Lourdes Vazquez wrote “First-generation College Grad” about becoming the first in her family to graduate from college. She puts her own story into context, as only 7 percent of Hispanics in the United States have a bachelor’s degree.

Currently the bulk of our stories are written by Latina women in Chicago, where I work as a journalism professor at Columbia College. I am working to broaden our pool of writers. I recently published “Latin Time” by freelance columnist Marisella Veiga from Florida. I have been communicating with Latina writers in Arizona, Idaho, Georgia and Puerto Rico and look forward to publishing their work soon.  If you know any Latina writers, please encourage them to submit their work to me at tpuente@colum.edu.

We also are busy expanding our video gallery, which you can link to through the site or go to directly at http://www.youtube.com/user/LatinaVoices.
I also am promoting our site on Twitter, so sign up to follow us by looking for my username, tcpuente. You also can find me on Facebook by searching for Teresa Puente and Columbia College.

Gracias! Teresa

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 03/09 at 11:16 AM

Come visit us!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Come visit us at http://latina-voices.com. We quietly launched in November 2008 and with feedback from friends we made some significant changes in January 2009.

We adjusted the design of the page so you no longer scroll in the boxes. Instead you just click to read more.  We also have added a Latina Voices photo gallery on Flickr and a Latina Voices video archive on YouTube that send direct feeds to the site. Overall, it makes the site easier to read and more vibrant.

Our most recent story posts include a piece by Araceli Arroyo called “Regrets of a Monolingual Childhood.” It’s about being Latina but not speaking Spanish. We also published a feature story by Judi Ruiz-Branch on the new Aztec exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago. I also wrote a column on the growing number of hate crimes against Latinos.

We have been gradually posting content but expect to significantly increase the output in February. I will be working with 12 students at Columbia College Chicago who will take a Latina Voices class I’ve created and write directly for the site.

I also am still working to reach out to writers and mentors outside of Chicago. I already have heard from women in Texas, Florida, New York and Washington, D.C. who want to participate.

I also am in the process of creating a Facebook page and Twitter account to help promote the site.

I hope that in this new year we will be able to give greater voice to stories by and about Latina women.

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 01/13 at 03:13 PM

Aiming for November Launch

Friday, October 17, 2008

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.

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 10/17 at 08:21 AM

Student Voices

Monday, September 15, 2008

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.

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 09/15 at 02:56 PM

Finding mentors at UNITY

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Latina Voices project leader Teresa Puente tells about her experience finding eager mentors among the many Latina journalists at the 2008 UNITY Conference in Chicago. Puente says mentoring latina college journalism students will be a core component of her project.


Latina Voices Video Blog - 8/6/08 from J-Lab on Vimeo.

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 08/06 at 03:28 PM

Giving voice to Latinas

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

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.

   • Posted by Teresa Puente on 07/15 at 01:03 PM