Kiara Alfonseca has always been surrounded by people who didn’t look like her. Growing up, the Bronx native moved to a predominantly white community in Hudson Valley, N.Y., in which she had to learn how to navigate her Dominican and Puerto Rican identity alone.
“Learning and recognizing differences between me and the people who don’t look like me and how that affects how I move through the world and how the world views me has definitely impacted me in a lot of ways,” Alfonseca said.
She is now embracing her culture and applies that lens as a race and culture reporter and producer for ABC News.
Since Alfonseca found her passion for journalism at the age of 18, she began immersing herself in various opportunities. After joining NAHJ during her time at the College at Brockport State University of New York, she became a student reporter for the NABJ/NAHJ Student Multimedia Project in 2016, which she said she owes many career opportunities to. After becoming a CUNY/Knight Foundation Diversity Fellow as an NAHJ member in 2016, Alfonseca joined ProPublica, NBC News and the Huffington Post.
“I would not be where I am without NAHJ,” she said.
Once she saw that ABC was developing a race and culture team, she knew it was her “time to shine” due to the flexibility of coverage that comes with the position. She had learned how to find stories in spreadsheets and data at ProPublica, and took that skill with her all the way to her current position in covering police killings, hate crimes and trials.
From running around to find court documents for investigative pieces to producing in-depth analysis on culture and politics, Alfonseca has told stories with various mediums and always attempts to cover stories with a powerful perspective from communities of color.
“Every story that I was doing, I looked at it through this kind of race and culture lens, and always kept those two beats in my radar,” she said. “I was able to focus a lot of my work on identities and build the race and culture background that I use in my job now.”
Maya Brown is a senior at Stony Brook University, where she studies journalism and political science. She is an intern on the social team at NBC Universal and has previously worked for CNN, WSHU Public Radio and the Long Island Herald. She hopes to pursue a career in political reporting. Reach her at mayaabrown10 [at] aol [dot] com and on Twitter @mayaabrown10.