“These are challenging times in journalism, but it’s a time of great opportunity to be entrepreneurial and creative.”
Written by Chris Terry, Fiction Writing
Even if the newspapers are getting smaller, journalism is getting bigger. Teresa Puente, assistant professor in the Journalism department, is exploring the emerging use of new technologies through the diverse subjects covered in her courses - multimedia, ethnic media and travel writing. Puente wants her students to be aware of opportunities as they move into this ever-changing field.
“I feel fortunate to play a role in revising and creating curriculum. Diversity is very important to me. I want to include it in any class. Tech is very important as a tool to enhance story telling, but first and foremost, the written word is important.”
In 2008, with a grant from the McCormick Foundation and J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, Puente launched Latina-Voices.com. The site focuses on the voice of Latina women in the media and Puente’s Latina Voices class serves as an incubator for new contributors. Puente is working to build a network of Latina writers in Chicago and is currently reaching out to bloggers and writers across the country with the hopes of having both national and regional features on the site.
Puente has received several grants to develop new media projects and she tells people who are developing projects that, “It’s just a matter of having an idea and figuring out a way to fund it. People in the foundation world are actively funding new media.”
In addition to Latina Voices, Puente writes an independent blog for ChicagoNow.com called Chicanísima. The blog launched in May of 2009, coincidently on the day President Barack Obama nominated Latina judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.
“I think this news event really spoke to the need to have a Latina viewpoint on politics and culture, being that she is the first Latina nominated, and fortunately confirmed, to the Supreme Court. I wrote a lot about her nomination and my blog got a lot of attention because of that. I was interviewed by the AP, plus radio stations in Chicago and California.”
Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia, Puente worked at the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and taught at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Guadalajara.
“A cool thing about coming to Columbia was moving from old-fashioned journalism to multimedia. I’ve grown as a journalist and it sets a good example for students to see multimedia journalism. There are lots of opportunities to create your own media.”