It’s Sunday, and that means game day. The Eagles fly north to face the 5-1 Bills in a season where wins have become harder to come by than they have in the past. But we have plenty to keep you occupied until kickoff, including a soon-to-be famous Philly after-school rugby team. And further below, we talk with my colleague Jesenia De Moya Correa, a reporter who focuses on Latino communities and issues within the Philadelphia region.
Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss their work and the challenges they face along the way. This week we chat with Jesenia De Moya Correa, who covers the Latino experience in the Philadelphia region.
You report on the complex transnational relationships between diasporic communities and Latinos born in the U.S. In your time in Philadelphia, what have been some main issues you’ve seen stemming from these different communities here? Any particular trends?
We know well that issues affect Latino populations differently, depending on people’s age, class, legal status, family structure, skin color, racial perception, sexual orientation and identities, faithful practices, linguistic accents and upbringing. In Philly, we have a representation of the national Hispanic demographics, with some Latino communities having higher barriers to access basic health care or to gain higher education degrees, while others have limited access to information to start a business or take out a loan. If anything in particular, I’d say there is strong and continuous presence and influence of Philly Latinos in the Latino Caribbean socioeconomic and political structure. A trend is the lack of fairness and representation of the communities in local journalism.
What was the impetus behind El Inquirer?
El Inquirer is a miracle of the spirits and of the ability that humans have to listen. After dedicating six months to listening to firsthand experiences from Philly Latinos, I learned that those who read our journalism want our reporters to do more community-driven work — as in stories that come more from the bottom organizers than from the top leaders. This was one of the two most imminent demands, along with having the opportunity to read The Inquirer’s reporting in a language that they can understand better: in this case, Spanish. So, the energy behind this product is the desire that the communities of Philly have to weigh in on the work that we’re doing, which they consider starts by having better access to it and being well reflected in it.
How did you work to get buy-in to create this product and what do you hope it does for the public and readers?
I’ve been reporting from the communities’ interests and translating that journalism we have been doing in English to a contextualized Spanish for our readers in Philadelphia. I was lucky enough to have a group of managers and engineers with our technology and web development team who approached me about my bilingual works and saw the value of aggregating these stories on our website for users to find a dedicated space for them. I hope people can find themselves reflected in these stories, and give us the chance to demonstrate that we want to be relevant in their day-to-day lives.
What do you hope readers take away when they read your reporting?
I hope that readers and users can find underlying messages: that this journalism is done from within their shoes and be open to having a deeper and more complex conversation about what it’s like to be Latinos in Philadelphia nowadays.
What’s been the most difficult part in covering such a large swath of different communities?
To gain their trust, as there is no overall Latino experience and I don’t represent the half of it (as a U.S.-born Latina raised in the Caribbean that works for mainstream media). And to find ways of portraying the diversity of backgrounds, experiences and ideas that these people have in non-stereotypical framings.
What kinds of stories capture your attention and what issues do you hope to focus on moving forward?
I used to be a science reporter back in the Dominican Republic, where I covered policies and issues affecting people in the tourism, health, and environmental sectors. I do wish to dedicate more time to stories around the experiences happening in these lanes between Latinos in the Caribbean and Latinos in the U.S. I strongly believe that the future of local journalism is transnational. For Latinos, it has no borders or geopolitical boundaries.
Nothing but the truth. Thanks for sharing, @thephiladelphiacitizen!
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Excellent article that will encourage others to have a conversation with their loved ones about how they want to live and to die. People, please consider having a living will and an advanced directive so that your loved ones don’t endure the torture of having to decide for you. — Duchesscase, on a doctor who has seen two ways to die knows his choice