By Jason Fuller:
Generation Justice has been around since 2005, and since our inception we’ve never lost sight of the goal of providing underrepresented people a media platform. As our country embarks upon a transition to a minority-majority society, people of color will increasingly seize their role as owners and producers of media. Personally, I did not know that I would meet a woman of color who owns a media production company in 2014! And it’s all thanks to our dynamic director Roberta Rael who set up this meeting of the minds with Maria Hinojosa.
Maria is the President and CEO of Futuro Media Group and the Executive producer and anchor for Latino USA. Maria has spent 25 years covering hundreds of stories both abroad and here in the states. From this meeting, I learned that the pinnacle of success for journalists of color is determined by our hunger for equity in journalism and networking.
Headlining Frontline and serving as the senior correspondent for PBS’s show NOW, are accomplishments which few attain even at the end of their careers. If I have the opportunity to rise to that level, I would consider my career a success.
During the video conference, I was looking eye to eye with Maria Hinojosa and she was asking us questions! All that I could do was light up like a Christmas tree. During our talk, she addressed how even at this stage of her career that privilege and discrimination impacts her, which ultimately led to her establishing Futuro Media Group. While advocating and pitching for a producing role, Maria was asked to wait to bring forth justice in the media, and as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “The word wait has almost always meant never… justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
Our conversation gave me comfort as Maria told us about the most touching and controversial stories she covered. Maria also discussed her growing pains as a journalist as well as a businesswoman. Hearing that successful people also feel butterflies in their stomach was good for my confidence, because that gut-wrenching nervous feeling is the arrival of opportunity. Her support was like a shot of confidence into my bloodstream and gave me reassurance that I can be a critical journalist.
I ask myself “How did I get so lucky to exchange ideas and questions with such a giant in this industry?” The answer is simple; it is because of Generation Justice and its fellowship program. I know that I am in the right place, with the right people and working toward the right goal. I have been at Generation Justice since October, and I can say without hesitation that this experience has already doubled my multimedia knowledge and experience. Until Generation Justice, I had never completed any radio, blog or multimedia trainings, let alone produced any, and it’s only been three months!
I have now met a journalist who has reached the mainstream, yet stayed true to her identity. Without this fellowship opportunity I would be walking into the journalism world blind, fearful and unequipped. I cant express how much Generation Justice has done for me in such a short time; I can only strive to get better day-by-day and take Maria’s advice and be a fearless journalist rather than a reckless journalist.