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Teresa Puente, “Chicanísima” blog

Inclusion in Mainstream Media

Teresa Puente, author of “Chicanísima” blog on the ChicagoNow network, founder of “Latina Voices.com” and a veteran journalist discusses the benefits of inclusion in mainstream media.

Can ethnic media be a substitute for mainstream media coverage as larger organizations revamp how they cover communities?

Teresa Puente, author of “Chicanísima [1]” blog on the ChicagoNow network [2], founder of “Latina Voices.com [3]” and a veteran journalist, says both forms of media have their role in keeping the public informed about community issues. The limited coverage of communities of color isn’t out of malice but stems from a lack of resources, she says about the mainstream media.

Puente has blogged about Latina issues for the Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow network since May 2009, the day Sonia Sotomayor [4] was nominated for the Supreme Court. She considers the launch of her blog that day as “symbolically appropriate.” Because of the shifts in the media landscape, she sees the Internet offering women of color more opportunities to write and reach broader audiences as the number of op-ed columnists of color dwindle.

She is modest when it comes to saying what her success is in attracting an audience. Her priorities for her blog/column have been to focus on filling a void or calling attention to issues she sees the mainstream media neglecting.  Because stories for larger dailies require meeting a “certain threshold,” she says blogging gives her more power in the decision-making process. While it’s important to get different viewpoints into mainstream discussions, she says, journalists of color tend to get more attention if they take on a particular theme in their columns.

Drawing Attention to Ethnic Media

Teresa Puente, author of “Chicanísima” blog on the ChicagoNow network, founder of “Latina Voices.com” and a veteran journalist discuss what draws attention to journalists of color’s work.

Similar to opinion boards of the past, Puente sees bloggers making an impact on public opinions. She approaches her blog using traditional journalistic practices and views her goal as providing information and giving context to the news. Blogging won’t replace traditional news sources, Puente says, but it is currently filling a void when it comes to covering ethnic issues. However, blogs can’t be the sole source of ethnic news. One-third of Chicago’s population is Latino, so it would be “grossly negligent” if they [traditional newspapers] didn’t cover those communities, she says.

Read Teresa Puente’s blog at http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicanisima/