Minorities in the Media: Q & A with Professor Gerry Lanosga

Gerry Lanosga, courtesy of Indiana University Journalism.

Gerry Lanosga, courtesy of Indiana University Journalism.

By: Allison Lara

Gerry Lanosga, adjunct professor at Indiana University, answered questions for Indiana University students on Monday, September 29. An intimate group of ten students sat around a table to listen to Lanosga explain his upbringing and journey as a journalist in relation to his ethnicity.

“I’m a Mongrel,” joked Lanosga in reference to his ethnic background. His mother is German and Dutch, while his father is Filipino and Nicaraguan.

Lanosga said he didn’t grow up seeing himself as a minority or Hispanic; he didn’t grow up speaking Spanish. He recalled growing up in Colorado Springs and knowing that there was something a little different about the way he and his siblings looked compared to most people. It wasn’t until high school that Lanosnga wanted to know a little more about his family’s background after his friend jokingly nicknamed him “Flip.”

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Jose Antonio Vargas addresses the audience during the IU Media School Speaker Series at Whittenberger Auditorium.

Jose Antonio Vargas sheds light on living undocumented

By Samantha Schmidt

Jose Antonio Vargas, a filmmaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post spoke to the IU community Tuesday night as part of the IU Media School Speaker Series.

Vargas said he was honored to be invited to speak at a journalism school, as many journalists today don’t know what to call him: an activist, advocate, or even “former journalist.” For Tuesday’s lecture, he was welcomed by what he truly is, he said — a storyteller.

Vargas shocked the nation in 2011 when he wrote a front-page story for the New York Times magazine openly admitting to being an undocumented immigrant. His mother, who was trying to get him to a better life in America, put him on a plane from the Philippines as a young child.

Ever since he was young, he wanted to become a journalist in order to be “documented” on paper — seeing his name in print made it seem like he truly was a documented American. Continue reading

NAHJ members complete reporting internships for major city newspapers

Several members of NAHJ at IU worked at media-related internships across the country this summer. The following three students reflected on their experiences reporting for three major publications: The Chicago Sun-Times, the Star Tribune and the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Stephanie Stremplewski

Sophomore Stephanie Stemplewski described her summer of 2014 in one word: unbelievable. As a Broadcast Journalism major at IU, she was applying for internships at the beginning of January. Stremplewski was hoping to get a gig with ABC in Chicago or some other news outlet close to where she lives, but ended up going in the complete opposite direction: print writing.

officeShe was offered the internship of a lifetime with the Chicago Sun-Times as their sports-reporting intern. Even though she had never written for print until this past summer, she knewit was something that she could do, and a challenge that she wanted to accomplish. Within the first week of her internship, she was asked to write a story about a tennis phoneme from Chicago named Taylor Townsend. Stremplewski did some research, wrote the story, and held the article in her hands the very next day (story here). It was a feeling that she will never forget, she said.

In total, she wrote three articles for print and 12 blog posts for the Chicago Sun-Times. She had many interviews as well. Stremplewski interviewed Derek Jeter, various Chicago Bears rookies including Brock Vereen (story here) and Jordan Lynch, and last but not least, Chicago White Sox first-baseman Paul Konerko. She said it was a great summer and it made her realize that she is on the right path toward her career.

Samantha Schmidt

IU sophomore Samantha Schmidt never thought she would have the chance to complete two dream internships and travel through Europe in one summer, but somehow, she did.

Strib pictureAs an Ernie Pyle Scholar in the IU School of Journalism, Schmidt spent two months studying global media in London. She was placed in a part-time internship at Dow Jones newswires, where she had to report early-morning financial breaking news, learning all about stock movements and how to interview major CEOs. She also got to enjoy looking over the shoulders of editors for the Wall Street Journal Europe edition editors, who allowed her to contribute to social media reporting for WSJ online (one story here.)

After a few side trips to Dublin, Barcelona, and Paris, Schmidt came home to Minneapolis, Minn., where she worked as a full-time intern for the newspaper she grew up reading: the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She worked on the Pulitzer Prize-winning health team, writing stories such as a front-page article about how the Ebola conflict in West Africa was affecting the local Liberian community in Minnesota, the largest outside of Liberia. (story here :)

Her favorite story, however, was one of her very first. She found a group of low-income Latina mothers in a nearby town who decided to start their own soccer team in efforts to improve rates of diabetes and obesity. Few of them could speak English, so Schmidt was able to use her Spanish-speaking skills to interview the mothers and produce the story (here). It made Schmidt appreciate her Hispanic background, and encouraged her to continue to use her Spanish-speaking skills in her reporting.

Dennis Barbosa 

NAHJ member Dennis Barbosa interned at the Indianapolis Business Journal this summer through the Hoosier State Press Association’s Eugene Pulliam internship program.

The Pulliam program is named after the late publisher of The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News. The program offers college students a chance to work at daily and nondaily newspapers in Indiana while getting paid.

The IBJ is a weekly publication covering business news for central Indiana. It is the leading publication of IBJ Media.

Barbosa is the first intern to publish a front page story as far as managing editor Cory Schouten can remember. Barbosa also illustrated and shot photos and video for the IBJ’s print issue and daily web content.

After completing the internship, Barbosa transferred from Indiana University Bloomington to IU’s Indianapolis campus IUPUI to stay on as a freelance writer for the IBJ until graduation in May. Schouten said he’d like to hire Barbosa once he has graduated.

HSPA Executive Director Steve Key said Barbosa’s experience is an example of what the Pulliam program is all about — helping student journalists get their foot in the door at news publications.

Pultizer Prize-winning Sonia Nazario meets with NAHJ

Photo by Grayson Harbour, IU School of Journalism

Photo by Grayson Harbour, IU School of Journalism

By: Jessica De La Cruz

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Sonia Nazario engaged in a meet-and-greet with members of the NAHJ chapter at IU on Tuesday, April 15. School of Journalism students sat down with Nazario and enjoyed coffee and baked goods on her first night in Bloomington, learning about her career and the details behind being a good journalist.

Nazario attended Williams College where she received a bachelor’s degree in history. With very little to no experience in journalism Nazario was hired to report for the Wall Street Journal — the youngest reporter hired by the Wall Street Journal at the time. Instead of simply writing the basic business articles she was expected to write, she focused on social issues, writing compelling articles about diverse communities. She eventually left the Wall Street Journal and made her way to the LA Times.

Her passion for reporting on social issues let her to pursue the story of “Enrique’s Journey.” Nazario found herself riding on top of trains and running from thugs in Latin American. In order to adequately describe the hardships of crossing the border Nazario made the same trip Enrique had from Honduras to the United States, twice.

“My job as a journalist is to use every tool I’ve got to get you to trust me,” Nazario said.

Nazario writes about issues that seek change. When she is choosing a topic, there are 10 requirements the story idea must meet. Two of the requirements are that the story must move the reporter on an emotional level, and that there has to be great characters.

Without an emotional appeal an audience will not care as much about the issue, according to Nazario. Journalists must step outside of their comfort zone in order to find the stories that matter.

“We need diversity of voices in the media now more than ever,” Nazario said. “May this give you determination in exposing great stories.”


NAHJ members featured on Telemundo Indy program









The National Association of Hispanic Journalists at IU gained statewide recognition April 9 on a weekly broadcast segment of Telemundo Indy.

Our group had reached out to Luis Navarro, producer of the news show “En Contexto” on Telemundo Indy, requesting an informational interview with him. Instead, Navarro invited two representatives from our group to appear on his program to speak about NAHJ, Latino students on campus and our goals for careers in journalism.

Eight members of NAHJ at IU, which was founded in January of this year, traveled to the studio in Indianapolis. Radio One launched the Telemundo affiliate in Indianapolis in March 2013, and it now serves as the only local Spanish-language broadcast station in the market. We toured the Radio One studios, and sat in on the recording of En Contexto for its Saturday broadcast.

The NAHJ segment will be the final portion of Saturday’s show. NAHJ member Dennis Barbosa and I spoke with Navarro in Spanish in front of the camera for about eight minutes, discussing how the group got started, our purpose and activities, and the reasons why we are passionate about journalism.

We discussed the growing Latino student community at IU and our hopes of continuing to connect with them in order to tell their stories. When asked why I love journalism, I told Navarro that I strive to tell stories for those who aren’t able to. As Hispanic journalists, many members of NAHJ feel the same way. We aim to connect with and relate to members of the Hispanic community, and use our background and Spanish-speaking abilities to write about their lives.

I ended the conversation by saying in Spanish that someday, the audience might be able to see some of our own NAHJ members reporting on Telemundo.

Following our segment, Navarro allowed us to sit and listen to other portions of the program, including interviews with sources who were asked to speak about a man who was recently found guilty of posing as an immigration attorney, defrauding Latino families. He also interviewed representatives from the Children’s Bureau, who discussed Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Navarro spoke with us about his current role as national correspondent for Univision, in addition to his role for Telemundo. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Navarro has reported across Mexico, in Los Angeles and Indiana.

He said he always likes to open the show to people in the Latino community who wants to share their story, whether they are publicizing an event or fundraising for a cause. He wants viewers to feel as though they are part of the Telemundo community.

Navarro advised our group to remember to be honest with ourselves about the kind of jobs we hope to have in the future. He encouraged us to continue to report as a voice for members of the Latino community.

The “En Contexto” segment with NAHJ at IU can be viewed at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday on channel 19. It will also be posted on YouTube after April 18.

NAHJ meets with Latino student leaders

Student leaders from groups such as the Latino Council and Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc. gather for dinner with NAHJ members at La Casa.

Student leaders from groups such as the Latino Council and Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc. gather for dinner with NAHJ members at La Casa.










On April 7, NAHJ at IU gathered students at La Casa Latino Cultural Center in a roundtable dinner to discuss the media’s portrayal of the Latino population.

The networking event, titled “Meet the Media,” drew representatives from several Latino groups to voice their opinions on the shortcomings of the media in covering issues relevant to the Latino community.

In national media, students cited a lack of representation as a major flaw in accurately portraying the Latino population in the US. One student suggested that the war on drugs was not being properly portrayed – a human context and perspective is lacking. How many people are actually dying?

The absence of coverage of state conflict in Latino countries, particularly the recent wave of violence in Venezuela, was also pointed out as a fault in the news industry. One student said he felt as though Latinos are often pigeonholed as “brown, underpaid” individuals, and Latinos in higher education are not portrayed as often in the media.

Participants also felt that student media on the Bloomington campus fell short in covering events relevant to the Latino minority. The lack of diversity among the student body and struggling Latino retention rates was highlighted as issues that are underreported. Additionally, rumors of a merger with the Latino Studies program and Ethnic Studies program has gone unreported by the student media, students said, much to the concern of the students at the discussion. Many students and members of the program are currently working toward making a case to expand their program to a full department. The IDS and other student media should be discussing this issue, students said.

Samantha Schmidt, president of NAHJ and former campus editor of the university newspaper Indiana Daily Student, concluded the event with commentary on the media’s perspective regarding the lack of coverage of Latino affairs. She discussed the importance of objective reporting, showing multiple sides to every story. She and other NAHJ members also suggested to the Latino student leaders the best way to pitch stories to journalists, and the importance of cultivating professional relationships with journalists in order to properly get the word out about student organizations and events.

It was a highly engaging and interesting discussion for both the Latino student leaders and members of NAHJ — and the free burritos, courtesy of Chipotle, were definitely a plus.

NAHJ visits Indianapolis Business Journal


IU student chapters of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and National Association of Black Journalists visited the RTV6 studio and Indianapolis Business Journal in Indianapolis Friday.

After meeting with all the heads of the departments at RTV6, NAHJ and NABJ members made their way over to the IBJ corporate office to see a contrasting side of Indianapolis media.

“We’re trying to differentiate ourselves,” Editor Greg Andrews said. “We’re wasting our time if we’re the fourth news company covering the same thing.”

IBJ is more focused on why something happened, North Editor Andrea Davis said. Their focus is on depth.

Davis covers business news for northern Indiana. She said a lot of people in the area have never been to Indianapolis, which is another reason IBJ chooses not to compete with breaking news in the Indianapolis area.

“We’re trying to have a mix,” Editor Greg Andrews said, otherwise it can be kind of dry. “We’re always guessing what might hold.”

Andrews said they used to have the daily publication mindset but have since changed. He said he considers their online content to be more of their daily paper and their weekly publication to be akin to a Sunday paper.

IBJ Media publishes Indiana Lawyer, a state wide publication of court news; Court & Commercial Record, public notice and legal record news; Indiana Business Journal, financial and business news for central Indiana; and IBJ Custom Publishing, business magazines. Some new products include Eight&8 a morning news email delivered to subscribers every workday at 8.

Department heads at RTV6 emphasized multi-media skills as crucial for any intern applicant seeking a spot at the studio, whereas IBJ emphasized reporting.

An intern might be able to produce a multi-media product all from a phone but if the person can’t perform simple reporting tasks like calling someone then that would not be an intern Davis would consider she said.

Davis’s advice for aspiring student journalists was to do as many internships as possible.

King said he doesn’t even consider applicants who do not have stories published at reputable news organizations.

“The core of being a journalist is the same as it was a 100 years ago,” Davis said, just basic curiosity, wanting to get to the bottom of a story — reporting.