Hometown: Austin now, but originally Santa Rosa, California
Position: Editor of ¡Ahora Sí!
Joined Statesman Media: April 1998
School and Degree: Sonoma State University: BA in English Literature/Mass Media Communications
Favorite weekend spot: Nature, with my family! The various natural spots around us, like Enchanted Rock or the Green Belt.
How did you get started in Journalism?
I went to college in California, and I started as an Editorial Assistant for the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, which was a New York Times-owned local paper. I learned a lot from this experience, and I joined the the Statesman team almost 18 years ago. I started as the Community Information Coordinator, overseeing all editorial assistants in the newsroom.
Not long after moving to Texas and working at the Statesman, you were placed on a team to grow a Hispanic-focused publication, ¡Ahora Sí! What was that like and how has it changed over time?
A group of us in the newsroom had been trying to start a Spanish newspaper long before we got the go-ahead for ¡Ahora Sí!. Because we had been visualizing and planning it for so long, when we were asked to move forward, we knew exactly the look, feel and content we needed.
¡Ahora Sí! was created in August of 2004, almost 12 years ago, and the focus has continued to be the same – to educate local Latinos on the issues affecting them, engage them to participate in their community and celebrate their accomplishments and culture.
At the time this meant helping recent immigrants navigate the education and health systems and better understand the naturalization process. Our goal was to be their source for credible information so they could thrive.
As time has passed, many ¡Ahora Sí! readers who have now been here for years have adapted and in many ways assimilated. We’ve grown and adapted with them. Our focus continues to be the voice of Latinos, but now we collaborate more with our Statesman colleagues to translate and rewrite stories, and bring them to Latinos who prefer to read in English, but still provide that content in Spanish. And as we continue to celebrate the achievements of local Latinos, we now deliver the news on mobile devices, utilizing social media and videos as well.
What has been the biggest challenge editing ¡Ahora Sí!?
Some of our loyal readers are laborers and migrant workers with only a second grade education, some have graduate degrees from UT. One of our challenges has been to write articles that break down information and providing value, inspiration and insight for all of our readers, regardless of their education level. Our love for the language is what helps us write in a way that is useful and credible, yet remains accessible.
What are some of your passions outside of journalism?
One of my passions has always been education, because that has been the key that has opened so many doors of opportunity for me and so many others. Early in my career, I took my journalism career part-time to work as an Academic Advisor for Pre-College Programs at Sonoma State University in northern California. Right now, I serve on the Board of Directors at UT Elementary, I volunteer to give presentations at schools and community events, and sometimes we host high school students who come in to learn about ¡Ahora Sí! and journalism. But my true passions are my two children, 10-year old Enzo and 7-year-old Iliana, who challenge, teach and delight me every day.
What is your most proud accomplishment with ¡Ahora Sí!?
Right now I’m most proud that I lead the team of the #1 Hispanic newspaper in the country! (For our size). We are a small staff, but quality, authenticity and journalistic passion is evident in our articles, videos and projects. Each member of our team is very supportive of one another, and our accomplishments speak to the quality of our work.
What do you recommend for local advertisers to tap into the Hispanic market in Austin?
The Hispanic market in Austin is huge with around 32% of the population in Austin, and growing, and they represent a profitable opportunity for companies who can reach this market effectively. That does not mean translating ads, but writing them from a cultural perspective; understanding what motivates the different segments of the Hispanic population and engaging them this way. It’s worth noting that they have money and like spending it! Their purchasing power is around $1.5 trillion nationally.
If an advertiser is not already knowledgeable about this market, they should find the right media company that can help them reach them effectively. But (at StatesmanMedia) we have the knowledge and insight, and my colleagues can help advertisers successfully connect with Latinos. In the newsroom we continue to cover stories that are important to Latinos. We know our readers in a way that is unmatched.