Associate Professor, Journalism
Journalism professor Teresa Puente focuses on diversity and new media strategies.
Journalism professor Teresa Puente is proud of her mission: encouraging diverse voices in the media. She launched Latina-Voices.com in 2009 as a way to support writing by and about Hispanic women, and her blog Chicanisima explores Hispanic news, politics and culture. Before coming to Columbia College Chicago, Puente wrote for the Chicago Tribune and got her start teaching at the Tecnologico de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico. At Columbia, she turns her focus to multimedia storytelling, incorporating social media and blogs into the classroom experience.
Puente sees journalism as a fantastic way to engage with the Chicago community. As she drives through the city today, she remembers specific interviews from her days reporting for the Chicago Tribune. “I feel very connected to the Chicago community through the work I did as a reporter, and as a blogger today,” she says.
She encourages students to engage in city life as well, citing Latina Voices and hyper-local news sites ChicagoNow and AustinNow as great opportunities for local student publishing.
Of Columbia’s Journalism program: “We don’t talk journalism,” says Puente. “We do journalism.” This involves everything from helping students pitch freelance stories to Chicago publications to establishing a special summer course to cover the Chicago NATO summit in 2012. “We applied and got press passes, so my students had front-row seats at the closing press conference with President Obama,” says Puente. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!”
Professors stay closely linked to Chicago journalism themselves. “We practice what we teach,” says Puente. “We’re all still very much connected to the profession and engaged in journalism.”
The Digital Frontier
Puente’s experience creating and writing for online media gives her a unique perspective. She teaches classes on storytelling with social media and blogging, and sees technology shifts as a positive thing.
“I really embrace all the new tools—blogging, social media,” says Puente. “All of these tools just give us more opportunities to tell stories and have a broader impact.”