From the Latino Reporter newsletter: Bienvenidos a Hollywood, where NAHJ turns 40

Student journalists Jaeel Beato, left, and Andrés I. Jové Rodríguez work in the Latino Reporter newsroom at the 2024 NAHJ conference in Hollywood, Calif. JACOB AMARO/LATINO REPORTER

Bienvenidos a Hollywood, where NAHJ turns 40

I’m Jacob Amaro, a journalist with the Latino Reporter, and I’m dropping into your inbox today as part of a special partnership between NBC Latino and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. This week, we’ll be taking you to Hollywood, where NAHJ is celebrating its 40th year, and journalists like me will be bringing you news about the country’s largest organization for Latino and Hispanic journalists, its annual conference, the news industry at large and the hundreds of people descending on the Hollywood Hills as I type.

But first, I’d like to introduce you to the 2024 staff of the Latino Reporter.

My colleagues and I have been handpicked from a competitive pool of student journalists from all corners of the United States through the NAHJ Student Project initiative. After traveling from as far away as Puerto Rico or as nearby as the sunny shores of San Diego, we have assembled in our newsroom perch, high up above the Hollywood Walk of Fame, to dive into the exciting work of covering the 40th Anniversary Conference and Expo.

Some of us — and by that I mean me — still need a pinch to believe that this is real, that we have joined this elite group of student journalists selected to participate in a storied program that has produced Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winning journalists and led the way in training reporters of color since 1989 (and yes, that is long before I was born).

For some members of our staff, this year’s conference is a return to familiar territory. Jaeel Beato, a student at Emerson College in Boston, joined NAHJ last year in Miami. But others, like Shawntay Lewis, a senior at Wayne State University in Detroit, are conference newbies.

Lewis, hustling to make her first deadline, told me that after submitting her application, she said a prayer. Then, she got the email: “Congratulations, Shawntay!” it declared. “You have been selected to be a member of the NAHJ 2024 Student Project!”

Now, she’s looking forward to making connections — and friends — and, perhaps, stopping busy journalists in their tracks to turn the tables on them and ask for a quote.

Stick with us this week. We’ve got you covered.

Here is a sampling of stories you can check out:

A dialect spoken in New Mexico and Colorado is likely to die in the next 50 years

Lauren Lifke takes us to her home state and the adjacent Colorado to tell us about New Mexican Spanish, a 400-year-old dialect experts believe will likely die in less than a lifetime. Listen as Lauren brings us the voices of those who still speak this dialect, which doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.

Deadly tornado shows that in natural disasters Latinos struggle to access aid

With the rise of climate change, even states in the deep south are being wrecked by more frequent and powerful natural disasters, including tornados, which hit Latino communities harder than other populations. Listen and read Rachell Sanchez-Smith‘s story about a Latina resident of Rogers, Ark., who perseveres, though the odds are stacked against her.

Dominicanos en Puerto Rico contribuyen al desarrollo económico de ambas islas

In this Spanish-language story, Andrés Jové Rodríguez shows us what kind of impact immigrants can have on Puerto Rico’s job market. His audio story dives into how Dominicans in Puerto Rico are bolstering the island’s economy by filling roles that Puerto Ricans had previously left vacant.

At the Los Angeles Zine Fest, representation is do-it-yourself

Zines are like magazines, but more bespoke, hand-made and intricate. Some tackle hard issues like politics, while others take readers on an odyssey exploring artists’ cultures and worldview. Briana Mendez-Padilla paints a vivid picture of the creative and whimsical world of zines in her visit to Los Angeles’s annual zine festival.

Zines help Latino artists transcend language and culture. But, many told us, showcasing their identity is a core motivation for them as they create unique art that showcases their homelands and lived experiences.

And this is just the beginning. We’ll be back tomorrow with more news from Hollywood and the Latino Reporter. You can also sign up for more news from NBC Latino here.

Jacob Anthony Amaro is a reporter at for Mosaic, where he writes stories about and for New Jersey’s diverse communities. He earned his bachelor’s in journalism from Rutgers-Newark and will continue his studies at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in the fall. His goal, no matter what the future holds, is to write stories that inform and empower his readers. He may be reached via email at jamaro2001 [at] gmail [dot] com and on LinkedIn

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