Four years ago, I walked into UT’s student newspaper office ready to apply for my first ever job as a journalist. I was intimidated, nervous, and also struck by the fact that I was the one of the only Latinas in the room.
When I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in journalism, it was largely motivated by a passion to cover my community. Growing up, I didn’t often see the Latino community being covered accurately or often enough, especially in a state as diverse as Texas. That’s why I decided to create Poderosa Media.
I was raised with countless examples of strong women from my mother to my aunts to both of my grandmothers. And though representation of Latinos has gotten better and outlets like Remezcla have cropped up to fill in the gaps in coverage, I didn’t see any outlets that were dedicated to reporting both news and culture as it affected Latinas specifically.
Since January, when I embarked on this journey, it’s been an enormous undertaking. Working on launching a news outlet alone and drumming up interest for potential readers and followers in the era of clickbait and fake news is no small feat. But I’ve loved it.
In March, I launched a social media campaign for Women’s History Month, highlighting different Latinas each day and gathering my following on Facebook and Twitter as I went along. I’d never had any experience doing something like this, so it was amazing seeing the follower counts grow and seeing people like and share the things I was making, especially because it meant that they were connecting with these strong Latina role models. Since starting this project, I’ve cultivated over 160 Facebook likes and more than 250 Twitter followers.
When it came down to creating my first stories, I was really proud of the diverse subjects I was able to interview. I wrote about a Central American zine, the Mexican sport of escaramuza, a Salvadoran refugee who spoke out against sexual abuse at a detention center, and the women behind San Antonio’s 1968 walkouts for education equality. Only one of the stories is out so far, but the response to that story alone was much more than I could’ve expected with 100 views in the first 24 hours.
Aside from writing, this project gave me a real chance to work on my design skills. I’m self taught in this area, so I was a bit nervous that I was doing all of my own graphics, but it’s been so much fun. I created new designs for each Women’s History Month post, designed the logo and header for the site and social media, and created a few designs for stickers and shirts that I hope to sell in the future to promote and help fund the site.
Looking forward, I’m hoping to find a way to support this endeavor by working toward a non-profit model. Part of that model will involve collaborating with Latina artists, hosting fundraisers, and hosting events in order to create revenue to support freelance writers and, eventually, staffers. I’m definitely afraid of taking all of that on on my own, but I’m so passionate about this project that I’m still extremely excited to see where it takes me.