Meet the 2023 staff

The Latino Reporter is a news website sponsored by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists that features journalism produced by student members tasked with covering the organization and its annual conference. The Latino Reporter strives to cover the organization and issues relevant to its mission with fairness and accuracy in a live newsroom environment staffed by student journalists and professional mentors. The newsroom exercises editorial independence. Read more about our editorial guidelines here.

Meet our student journalists

Aisha Baiocchi (she/her/ella) is a trilingual journalist who found her love for storytelling at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. She is about to enter her junior year as a journalism and international comparative studies major with a Latin America focus through the Robertson Scholarship program. Aisha has been writing for UNC’s independent student paper, The Daily Tar Heel, since her first semester in college, working for the University Desk focusing on accountability and diversity. This summer, she’s been living in the Sunshine State interning as a metro desk reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. She writes about local communities and governments with a special focus on housing and Spanish speaking communities. She’ll be returning to her school paper next year as the deputy enterprise editor and plans to center her reporting on labor and accountability journalism, specifically as it pertains to the university and nearby institutions. Aisha has been a member of NAHJ since last year and has been active in her school’s student chapter. Last year, Aisha founded an art collective named Earthtones at UNC-Chapel Hill. The registered student organization creates annual zines with the hope to uplift the community by collaborating and providing a platform for all artists of color. When she’s not working on a story or interviewing sources, Aisha can be found biking her way to the gym or reading by the water. She’s interested in community journalism, long-form stories and seeking to build her investigative and bilingual reporting. Her goal is to work in Brazil, her family’s country of origin, and be a part of a new wave of journalists who seek to fight misinformation. Twitter: @_aishabee_.

— Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo

Anthony Bautista (he/him/él), a native of Williams, Calif., possessed from an early age a natural gift for writing. However, his true passion resided in the realm of sports. It was a teacher who introduced him to journalism and changed his perspective. He spends his weekends immersed in the world of sports journalism as a freelance writer. During the weekdays, he toils away at a fast food establishment. In May of 2023, Anthony graduated from California State University-Fullerton, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in journalism. Throughout college, he honed his skills working in the newsrooms of The Daily Titan, the student newspaper, Titan TV, the student broadcast network, and with the Latino Journalists of CSUF. For Anthony, journalism serves as a gateway to telling captivating stories and delving into the lives of others.

— Harvey Cabassa

Harvey Cabassa (he/him/él) is excited to be attending his first journalism conference. He originally pursued journalism because he wanted to tell stories about the untold parts of life, things he was noticing that it didn’t seem others had covered. He loves working on political and cultural stories. Cabassa has also served as a producer for a student-run news show while attending University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, where Harvey is a junior. He serves as president of his school’s NAHJ chapter. He is a first generation college student and is expecting to graduate in 2024. He would like to pursue a master’s degree — and eventually a doctorate degree — but he also has an interest in attending law school. In his free time you can find Harvey at the beach, where he loves to go swimming. Harvey is excited to network with his peers and professionals from all parts of the country and abroad this week at NAHJ, and looks forward to expanding his network and strengthening his skill set through the workshops offered during the convention. Harvey never forgets his family and everything that they have been through, and uses it as motivation along his journey.

— Anthony Bautista

Daniela Cazares (she/her/ella) is an Arizona native who found her love of journalism through her high school newspaper. She is a first-generation journalism student at the University of Arizona where she hopes to learn more about how to best tell people’s stories. At her university she is the president of the Investigative Reporters and Editors Club. She is also an NAHJ member at her school’s chapter and plans to be on her local executive board this year. After watching people in newscasts who speak Spanish, it gave her the confidence to also pursue a career in the media field. This prompted Daniela to start off writing articles, but she ultimately fell in love with broadcasting and its ability to make stories come to life. She is currently an intern at Digital Futures Bilingual Studio-Products which makes content for local news stations like Telemundo and PBS. Daniela loves to do profiles within diverse communities. A favorite story she has worked on highlights a local Navajo artist. Daniela’s main goal through the NAHJ conference is to gain more experience and feel more confident in her work.

Glendalys Valdes

Laura De la Garza Garcia (she/her/ella) hopes to amplify the voices of the Latino community. Having held various student government positions at California State University-Sacramento and witnessing the dearth of representation in leadership roles for people of color, she realized that journalism was her true calling. De la Garza Garcia began writing for her college newspaper, The State Hornet, where she reported on news, sports and entertainment. While there, she revived the Spanish section and won first place-best in show at the Associated Collegiate Press National Fall convention in the social justice reporting category for a broadcast piece on the 2022 United Farm Workers March to the Capitol of California. She then went on to intern for The Sacramento Bee and KCRA 3, where she assisted translating stories and voiced news briefs in Spanish for the station’s sister channel, EstrellaTV. De la Garza Garcia has never stayed in one place for long. Born in Monterrey Nuevo Leon, Mexico, she moved to Grand Ledge, Mich., at the age of 7. Later, her family relocated again, this time to Lathrop and then Manteca, Calif. Finally, she settled in Sacramento, where she currently serves as a news producer for Univision 19. She hopes to become a bilingual anchor and reporter and continue advocating for more Latinos in news. Connect with her via Twitter or Instagram @lauraaale__.

— Gisselle Medina

Itzel Anahi Girón (she/her/ella) owes her passion for storytelling to a stormy Texas day in 2006. Seeing her native city of El Paso flooded by rainstorms, she turned to the morning news, sparking a lifelong desire to tell the stories of those around her. “I wanted to be the one informing people,” she said. While seeing her hometown on the news sparked Itzel’s love of storytelling, she began to realize that she rarely saw coverage of El Paso in the national news, good or bad. This is what fueled her passion for journalism and her devotion to tell stories that so often are ignored. For Itzel, a known future in broadcast journalism isn’t cocky — it’s confidence. Reporting the stories of the underdog is what she’s always known she was meant to do. As a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso, she looks towards the future knowing that her lifelong commitment to news will lead her to a future in broadcast. To her, the ultimate goal is to become a role model in the journalism world. She hopes that one day someone looks up to her the same way she looked up to the anchors on her morning TV news during those childhood Texas storms.

Fabianna Rincón

Gisselle Medina (they/them/elle) is a proud Latino and queer journalist, born in Los Angeles, raised in Fresno, who has found a home in Berkeley. They became interested in pursuing journalism after reading the book, “Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou, which sought to hold those in power accountable and shed light on one of the biggest health scandals in the country. Medina is passionate about carving slices in the “stories of the moment,” through timely, in-depth reporting that provides context and centers people who are presented multidimensionally. They received their B.A. in English from UC Berkeley in 2022 and are currently pursuing a Master’s degree at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. In the Bay Area, Medina has honed their skills in investigative and multimedia journalism, with the goal of producing interactive stories that reflect our dynamic world. Their work has been published in The Daily Californian, Greater Good Science Center, Oaklandside, The Frisc, and College Magazine. They are a 2023 White House Correspondent Association scholarship recipient. They will also attend the National Lesbian Gay Journalism Association conference in Philadelphia as a CONNECT Student Project reporter in September. They are a summer intern at the Los Angeles Times on the Utility Desk where they help readers solve problems and answer questions about life in and around Los Angeles. Find them on Instagram @fierce.writer and Twitter @gisselleemedina.

— Laura De la Garza Garcia

Evelyn Mejia (she/her/ella) The ‘why’ behind every story calls out to Evelyn, whose curiosity fuels her reporting. Evelyn’s desire to be a journalist bloomed as a 6th grader at Norfolk Middle School in a small Nebraska town. A TV reporter visited her school to talk about the journalism industry. Although Mejia didn’t want to be a TV reporter, she grew passionate about analyzing details and immersing herself in stories, ultimately aspiring to become an investigative reporter. She’s seen the impact journalism can have first-hand. The general manager of Norfolk’s bus system had embezzled nearly a million dollars which had led to the bus system shutting down. Following Mejia’s investigation on the embezzlement, one of Flatwater’s donors gave the last $100,000 needed for a campaign to restart the bus system’s operations. So far, she’s interned and worked as an opinion columnist at the Norfolk Daily News, a family-owned daily newspaper, and was a news intern at the Lincoln Journal Star. Mejia is proud of her roots being from La Costa Chica of Guerrero, an area on the south coast of the state of Guerrero in Mexico. She will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in Spanish from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May.

— Ammy Sanchez

Fabianna Rincón (she/her/Ella) likes to say she has been a journalist since she was a child. Raised in newsrooms by two former sports journalists, she believes the desire to be a reporter and share stories with the world runs in her blood. Fabianna has a personality big enough to make her stand out in her small town of Flemington, N.J. She hopes it will do the same here at the 2023 NAHJ convention. This year, Fabianna has spent her time working in the newsroom of El Tiempo Latino, the main Spanish publication covering the Washington, D.C., area, and will be continuing her studies this fall abroad in Rome. As a student at American University’s School of Communications, Fabianna has used her recent college semesters to help shape her confidence and embrace her Latina identity. Fabianna hopes to focus on political journalism and to find her voice in the stories she tells.

— Itzel Giron

Ammy Sanchez (she/her/ella) grew up as the mediator in her family. As the oldest sister, she was constantly listening to what her younger siblings needed. As a communications student at Florida International University, she spends her time listening to the stories those in her community have to tell. When she was young, Ammy’s father would tell her that she would need two coffins when she died — one for her body and one for her tongue. But Ammy says as she has honed her journalism skills, she has learned to listen more than she speaks. Her start in communications began at Miami Dade College’s student-run newspaper, The Reporter. Inspired to apply by Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel, who played a journalist, she made the switch from business administration to communications. There, her natural curiosity led her to excel in her work, quickly becoming the editor-in-chief as a sophomore. She soon transitioned to producing, working on audio stories as an intern for WLRN, Miami’s NPR station. Although she had never worked with audio before, she fell in love with it; she’s now a freelancer for WLRN. Ammy spent her adolescence in Brazil, Ecuador and Miami. Her favorite story she’s worked on is her coverage of the Brazilian presidential election, as she was able to interview people in Portuguese, her native language. She now hopes to learn sign language to communicate with more individuals. When she’s not working, Sanchez enjoys watching Gilmore Girls, attending church and listening to Taylor Swift.

— Evelyn Mejia

Glendalys Valdés (she/her/ella) went from the tropical island of Puerto Rico to the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, where she’s majoring in journalism and public relations and with a double minor in economics and international studies. Throughout undergrad, Glendalys was the feature writer at her college newspaper, Media Milwaukee, and a member of the Minority Media Association, which gave her exposure and connections with other journalists of color who share the same goals. In spring 2022, Glendalys was accepted into the Immersion Journalism Course, and was the recipient of three awards, including Student College Production Award, at the Chicago/Midwest Emmys. Her piece, “Environmental Crimes Rattle Puerto Rico,” was an investigation that exposed the illegal destruction of mangrove trees caused by construction companies. Glendalys has interned at various organizations in Milwaukee and New York, including with ABC News at World News Tonight with David Muir where she worked as a Production Assistant and Digital News Reporter. Her latest internship with Telemundo Chicago has also allowed her to see first-hand a majority-Latino newsroom, which served as an inspiration to continue pushing forward. Glendalys is particularly interested in immigration and politics. She hopes to shine a light on underrepresented communities, while at the same time informing them. As she begins her master’s at Northwestern Medill School of Journalism, Glendalys hopes to hone her skills to become an investigative journalist or a correpondnent.

Daniela Cazares

Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo (she/her/ella) has been a professional youth scooter competitor, a worldwide kendama champion, and Miss Chula Vista 2021-2022. Her focus now is on her internship at Autoproyecto, and her work as the creator of her own social media outlet, Grand Prix Journal. Xiomara graduated from San Diego State University with honors in spring 2023. During her time there, she served as managing editor and Spanish editor of The Daily Aztec student newspaper and president of her school’s NAHJ chapter. Before going to SDSU, she attended Southwestern College where she served as editor-in-chief of El Sol Magazine XI and held different editorial positions at the Southwestern College Sun newspaper. Under her leadership, her newsrooms won national awards. She was also honored with a city proclamation. Needless to say, she didn’t have much time for scootering or kendama during college. She’s always been interested in sports journalism, but memories with her abuelo, Papo, who owned auto part shops in Tijuana, inspired her to decide to focus on motorsports. She published her first motorsport story in November 2021 for Jeawok media. It was about Sergio Pérez, the first Mexican Formula 1 driver to step on the podium at his home race. She’s written about other topics, but writing about Formula 1 is her main passion and focus. She also wants to write a young adult novel — but she says she can do that in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter at @xio_vg.

— Aisha Baiocchi

Meet the mentors

Nicole Acevedo (she/her/ella) joined the Latino Reporter newsroom in 2020 as its Spanish-language news editor, a role she has resumed for the 2023 conference.

She is a reporter at NBC News Digital where she produces enterprise stories for NBC Latino and breaking news for From Puerto Rico’s reconstruction process after Hurricane Maria and the island’s financial crisis to politics, pop culture and the coronavirus pandemic, Acevedo’s reporting focuses on issues impacting Latino communities in the U.S., the Caribbean and Latin America. In the past, Acevedo has published stories for MSNBCTelemundo 47 and NPR’s Latino USA. Before joining NBC, she was part of the inaugural cohort of students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s first Spanish-language bilingual journalism program. In 2016, she was one of 20 fellows selected to join the Knight Diversity Internship Program at CUNY where she completed an internship with Starfish Media Group, a production and distribution company founded by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Acevedo left la isla over a decade ago to attend the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Follow her on Twitter at @Nicolemarie_A.

Rafael Carranza (he/him/él) is the co-director of the 2023 NAHJ Student Projects.

He credits the start of his journalism career to NAHJ. He is an alum of the 2006 Student Campus, the 2009 Latino Reporter and was an NAHJ Scholar. He joined the Student Project mentor staff in 2021. Carranza works at The Arizona Republic and the USA Today Network, where he covers immigration and issues along the U.S.-Mexico border. He contributed to the 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning project “The Wall,” and earned a Rocky Mountain Emmy for his contributions. He previously worked as a correspondent covering the Pope and the Vatican in Rome, and before that as a television reporter in south Texas. When he’s not reporting, you are likely to find him out hiking the mountains and canyons of the desert Southwest. Follow him on Twitter at @RafaelCarranza.

Jason Gonzales (he/him/él) is the co-director of the 2023 NAHJ Student Project, a longtime mentor and an alumnus of the 2010 Latino Reporter class in Denver.

He is a higher education and legislative matters reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado, a nonprofit newsroom that covers education across the country. Previously, he covered K-12 and higher education for The Tennessean in Nashville and Brunswick County for the Wilmington Star News. He is an award-winning journalist. In 2023, his work on Colorado’s opportunities and challenges in higher education was a finalist for the Education Writers Association Eddie Prize. Jason is a 2018 Education Writers Association Reporting Fellow and 2020 Institute for Citizens and Scholars Education Media Fellow. He is a Colorado native and resident of the Denver area. Jason graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder. You can find him on Twitter @ByJasonGonzales.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez (he/him/él) has been visuals lead for the Latino Reporter for 14 years, occasionally filling in as director.

He is an award-winning photo and multimedia journalist at the San Francisco Chronicle. He began his career in newspapers at the ripe age of 10, at his hometown paper, The Martinez News Gazette, where they were silly enough to give him a key to the building. His love of journalism developed there, choosing it as a career. In his 23 years at the Chronicle, he’s covered national and international assignments. Most notably he’s covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and worked extensively in Latin America, covering elections, natural disasters, economic policy, and immigration — even crossing through desert in Northern Mexico with immigrants through smugglers’ camps. Other notable work includes short documentaries on a doctor providing care in the Ngorngoro Crater of Tanzania, and on a group working to eliminate child slavery in Nepal. A San Francisco Bay Area native, he spends his off time rebuilding a craftsman home he bought 12 years ago, designing and building things by hand, and putting previous skills as a sous chef to good use. Follow him on Twitter at @CAGisMe.

Marissa J. Lang (she/her/ella) is a 2009 Latino Reporter alumna and the editorial lead of NAHJ’s 2023 Student Project.

She began mentoring in 2017, and spent two years as co-director as the Latino Reporter converged virtually to cover the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Lang is a reporter for the The Washington Post, where she writes about gentrification, housing and the changing face of American cities on the paper’s social issues team. She previously covered protests, social unrest and the rise of domestic extremism for The Post, culminating in her coverage of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, for which she was honored as part of The Post’s 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Lang moved to the nation’s capital in 2018 from the Bay Area, where she covered the tech industry’s impact on the region and its culture for the San Francisco Chronicle. She previously wrote about city government for the Sacramento Bee, criminal and social justice for the Salt Lake Tribune and all-things-Florida for the Tampa Bay Times. A proud native of New York City, Lang is a notorious pizza snob, doting dog mom and unrepentant sinvergüenza. Follow her on Twitter — and now Mastodon and Threads — at @Marissa_Jae.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán (he/him/él) is the Latino Reporter’s lead audio editor. He has been mentoring since 2022.

He is an NPR reporter who covers Texas politics and government for The Texas Newsroom. In 2023, Sergio contributed as a political analyst to NPR’s historic bilingual coverage of the State of the Union address in both English and Spanish. Prior to moving to Austin in 2022, Sergio worked for the nonprofit news outlet Bridge Michigan, where he reported extensively on the state’s inaugural redistricting commission, campaign finance and state government. Sergio has won multiple accolades, including a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for a piece he did on mariachi education while covering politics for Nashville Public Radio. Sergio is a proud native of Puerto Rico, longtime NAHJ member and a graduate of Michigan State University. Follow him on Twitter at @SergioMarBel.

Liliana Soto (she/her/ella) joined the Latino Reporter as its video editor in 2022, a role she has reprised in 2023.

Soto is an assistant professor of practice at the University of Arizona School of Journalism, an assistant director for the school’s Bilingual Journalism Program and a freelance bilingual multimedia journalist. She has 10 years of experience in broadcast news in English and Spanish with a specialization in bilingual investigative journalism, immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border, Latino issues, marginalized communities, and Mexican-centric Latin Culture. Follow her on Twitter at @LilianaSotoAZ.

Perla Trevizo (she/her/ella) joined the Latino Reporter as its investigative editor in 2022. She is a reporter for the ProPublica-Texas Tribune Investigative Initiative. Trevizo is a Mexican-American reporter born in Ciudad Juárez and raised across the border in El Paso, Texas, where she began her journalism career. Trevizo spent more than 10 years covering immigration and border issues in Tennessee and Arizona before joining the Houston Chronicle as an environmental reporter. She has written from nearly a dozen countries, from African refugee camps to remote Guatemalan villages, with the goal of broadening readers’ understanding of the global issues that impact the local communities where she has worked. This is her first year joining the Latino Reporter newsroom as a mentor. Follow her on Twitter @Perla_Trevizo.