Emmanuel Church hosts programs to help Latino families

This is my first attempt at a stand-up. I do not want to confess how many times it too me to choke out a few sentences, but I got through the project. I think it turned out to be a decently told story about how life was for Latino families living in Wood Village mobile home community.

I had to learn to work around the limitation of not filming the children’s faces, however. Because I did not have parental consent, I could not identify the kids in the video.

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The table of paparazzi at Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s luncheon

I do not follow politics one bit, and I don’t even vote. Gasp! That’s right. I’m a journalism major, and I do not exercise my first amendment. It does not interest me and frankly, I would rather stay away from the drama of it all. To me, every politician is exactly the same. They promise things that never get done, and issues that need solutions never have an easy answer. So why bother?

When this country was founded, men who ran for office were of different lifestyles and careers. A farmer, a rancher and a barber could all run for mayor. Now, politicians are strictly taught how to be politicians. Most of them are lawyers or businessmen, which make sense because both apply when it comes to running the country, but that has also limited the views and opinions of the people in office.

When I went on assignment to cover Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s luncheon, I had no idea who she was. Turns out she is an incredibly accomplished woman, but while I researched her background and career I could not help but dread the upcoming Tuesday. In our quest for a higher education, my peers and I met at the Indian Hills Country Club at noon.

The ten or so other aspiring journalists sat at the same table like paparazzi. Once glance in our direction and you could tell exactly why we were there (in fact, we received a great many stares). There was barely any room for our food because of all the cameras, notepads and equipment bags stacked on the table and around our chairs.

I hate being that person who annoys everyone around them because I have to move around and get various angles of video and pictures for the article. In short, I hate being an obnoxious journalist. I would much rather be the cool journalist that never has to trip over people’s feet or get glared at because I almost hit them in the head with my tripod.

When I had my perfect spot picked out and actually relaxed, it was interesting to hear Sewell’s stories about President Obama and her job of watching over the 7th district. She seemed like a genuinely friendly and generous personality with an enthusiastic love of her job. So as far as politicians go, she made a noteworthy impression on me. In the future, she might be the only politician that I pay any attention to.

New niche is expanding for Latino journalism

It is interesting to watch Caucasian men and women report on a story about children in the ghettos or drug wars on the Mexican border. They seem out of place and disconnected to the plights they are reporting on. Would it register with audiences more to see Latino journalists walking the deserts paths of drug runners or African American newscasters investigating education in poor neighborhoods? Or is that considered stereotypical? After all, several ethnicities could be affected by any story.

Historical segregation and racial prejudice has undoubtedly played a part in hindering minorities in social and professional environments. Just as minorities are gaining ground in the political arena, the same battle is being fought in journalism.

On the Daily Grito, Rubon Soto counted down 10 news reporters and anchors in American journalism. They are all in highly populated Hispanic cities such as L.A., San Antonio, Miami, New York and Chicago.

George de Lama, associate managing editor for foreign and national news at the Chicago Tribune, notes in his article “There’s a Need at the Top for Latino Journalists” that there is a significant need for minority reporters that has not been filled. He was the second Latino to work at his paper and explains how his predecessor and mentor was promoted to editor.

“The need is visible across the country; the rise of Latino influence on American politics, popular culture and society is exploding onto the nation’s consciousness before most news organizations are ready to handle it. Today no serious newspaper can pretend to serve its community without sophisticated reporting about Hispanic affairs.”

There are opportunities in small community news and large organizations to push racial and ethnic borders. There are talk shows, magazines and newspapers all to support the growing number of immigrants in the U.S. NewsTaco is a blog led by four journalists that deliver information from Latino points of view. Fox News also has a site dedicated completely to stories centered on Hispanic interests.

Now that doors have been opened, the problem becomes education for minority children. They often are born into homes with parents who speak little English and work minimum wage jobs. It is a constantly struggle financially and socially as the kids are required to adapt to a culture much different from their own heritage. Competition for college acceptances, internships and entry-level positions may only heap more stress and insecurity onto an individual struggling to overcome discrimination.

However, enduring and succeeding these obstacles molds a stronger character, which then produces better journalists. The tougher and more stubborn resolve, the harder a news reporter digs to uncover the truth of a critical story.

Lama offers a snippet of advice when it comes to young Hispanics waiting to burst into a career field.

“For young Latino journalists today, whatever your choice, learn from the experience of others, then make your mark by breaking your own new ground. Whichever way you go, whatever you decide to pursue, remember that fresh approaches to stories and new insights in reporting and writing are at the heart of excellent journalism, the kind that best serves our readers—and that provides the greatest possible career opportunities.”

J-School Leads to Good News for Students

Is college worth it?

This monumental question must have been asked since the dawn of the institution. Years of sleepless nights in the library with stacks of textbooks and homework assignments that tower overhead, but society tells us that it is all for a purpose. We have to spend those four inglorious years as a slave to universities and professors just to earn the final piece of paper with a seal and a crest on it. That fateful diploma that signifies our achievement, and hangs in a frame on the wall. It used to mean a guaranteed job back in the day when students had to walk in the snow for miles uphill both ways just to get to class. Now a college education just means that we are part of a crowd fighting to use those four years of knowledge. Every journalism student wants that dream job after college, and we all feel like we earned it before quickly finding out that life doesn’t work that way.

In Deborah Potter‘s article about Journalism school, Hub Brown from Syracuse University makes three points for defending the establishment’s honor. He poses the argument that no news organization wants to hire an employee that they have to train, so students must learn the technical skills for the job before they ever walk into a job interview. Secondly, a student is taught the ethical principles and critical thinking associated with reporting, which makes them more responsible journalists. His final point is that universities require several hours of study outside the student’s major, which cultivates each as a well-rounded individual as well as giving them a better sense of the world of issues and topics they will be writing about.

It can be tough leaving the shelter of parental professors in the quest to make it in the big, bad world. College offers a learning environment that provides students the tools of writing and reporting, but preparation can only go so far before the student sets off on his or her own to find a career. With newspapers dying off one-by-one and a new generation demanding and devouring media like it is Thanksgiving dinner, future journalists have waning opportunities and a world-wide-web of obstacles.

The good news is that there is a new kind of turkey on the table because of the burgeoning media realm. Established news organizations are hiring wide-eyed and bushy-tailed graduates to revamp and promote news blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebooks and websites. Discovering how to appeal to modern audiences is a goal from broadcast stations to magazines.

PBS recently launched the series Beyond J-School studying how teaching media has evolved. Sponsored by Carneige-Knight News21, the collection of articles are written by top students from 12 journalism schools and covers several aspects of what the future holds for journalism.